Thursday, February 13, 2014

"Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished?"

“Someday, I will die, and all the [books] I dreamed of writing will die with me,” writes Joe Bunting.  

“Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished?”
Christina Rossetti

Sometimes we memoirists get stuck—distracted, uninspired—and we set aside our writing.

Nagging thoughts break through sometimes and remind us we should write, but we stall, we make excuses.

Is that where you are this week?

When you and I get into a slump, first we need to congratulate ourselves on what we have already written!

Next, we need to ask ourselves, Do I want to write my memoir? Do I want to do this for my kids and grandkids and great-grandkids?

If you do, get out one of your rough drafts. Read it aloud. That alone should motivate you to revise for clarity, to add, delete, rearrange, and polish.

Victoria Costello offers this advice for getting un-stuck:

Get off the Internet. Give yourself a time limit for checking email and Facebook and all those other enticing sites.

Post your deadline above your desk. Hold yourself accountable.

Small steps are better than no steps. “… Remember that a memoir is simply a string of personal vignettes. Take small steps and focus on finishing one sentence, one paragraph, and one vignette at a time.”

Borrow juice from other writers. Victoria suggest reading “anthologies of writerly inspiration.” She says, “Reading someone else’s excellent writing inspires the writer in me to get over myself and try some of my own.” (from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing a Memoir, by Victoria Costello)

Joe Bunting asks himself, “…What books must I complete to die satisfied?”

He asks all of us, “What books do you want to write before you die? …”

The clock is ticking.
Be intentional.
Be disciplined.
Resolve to make at least a little progress: Set daily or weekly goals.

Disclaimer: For review purposes, I received a free copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing a Memoir.

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