Is one of your goals to write AND finish a memoir? Then this post is definitely for you. There's NO reason whatsoever why writing a memoir should take years and years. Think again. With a little bit of planning, you can turn your life-long dream of memoir writing into publishable action with these tried and true FIVE steps.
1. First, plan out your writing dates. Not only will this help keep you focused, but you can make lots of progress writing when you know in advance how your work week is going to look. The key to progress is to write, write and write because memoir writing is one of the hardest genres to crack. If you know you're going to be having a difficult week, then planning is even more essential. Plan your writing around your most productive hours if possible. This was how I was able to finish 16 chapters of my memoir, Accidental Soldier: What My Service in the Israel Defense Forces Taught Me about Faith, Courage and Love. (I started working with an editor from June 2014.)
2. If possible, alternate your content/web writing with your memoir writing. Memoir writing is definitely a different animal and you need a different mindset. Blogging should be part of your platform building toolkit which is where content writing come in. If alternating days isn't possible, then consider writing your memoir in the morning and blogging in the afternoon.
3. Hire an editor as early as possible in the memoir writing stages. A memoir goes through several "births" at a time. There's the downloading stage, the muddy middle and the publishing stage. Each stages requires deeper clarity and thought. Having an editor can help you avoid getting stuck. Having an editor who's also a writing coach can also help you stay more accountable.
4. Try and keep social media voices turned off at least for the duration of your memoir writing session. I can't tell you how many times I lost my train of thought because I kept the browser tab of my email open so I could check every five seconds if another email popped "in." This constant back and forth movement is actually very disruptive to your train of thought and it completely "rerouted" my writing mind. Just up until a few minutes ago, I realized I left the browser tab again open and noticed how much more thoughtful I was able my words and time the minute I clicked it closed. If you can survive 30 minutes without checking your email, then you can survive 60 minutes. And your writing mind will thank you for it.
5. Break your writing goals into quarterly goals. A year's worth of goals is much harder to measure and can actually detain you from reaching your goals. Quarterly goals are so much more tangible and measurable. Since I have less than half of my memoir to go, I'm going to measure my writing progress via weekly and monthly goals -- one revised chapter a week or three to four chapters a month.
It may seem like a lot but with a little bit of planning, you can actually accomplish a great chunk of writing. Here's to you and your story!
Is your BIG goal for 2015 to write a memoir? If so, what are some of your action steps? Please share!