Inspiration for Writing the Best Memoir You Can

by Matilda Butler on September 1, 2015

catnav-alchemy-activePost #83 – Memoir and Fiction, Writing Alchemy – Matilda Butler

Consider What Matters When Writing Your Memoir

Today’s blog is fairly short and has the sole purpose of encouraging you to write your memoir–to write it in the best way that you can achieve. I’ll say more about the quote at the end.

It is not the critic who counts:
The credit belongs to the woman who is actually in the arena,
Who strives valiantly;
Who errs, who comes short again and again;
Who knows great enthusiasms;
Who spends herself in a worthy cause;
Who at the best knows in the end
The triumph of high achievement,
And who at the worst,
If she fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

A few points about the quote:

1. I changed “man” to “woman” and “himself” to “herself” and “he” to “she.” So shoot me. The quote comes from an era when “man” or “he” was considered generic. Of course, since then research has demonstrated that gendered words limit us.

2. I found this quote in an ad for Cadillac. I was quite impressed with it and wondered if today’s ad agencies really write like this. There were no quote marks and no attribution so it seemed as if some agency had produced this copy. Hum. I still wasn’t a believer, not that good writing can’t come from an ad agency. More it was something in my gut. So while it would have been quite difficult to prove one way or the other in the past, today’s technology makes it easy to check.

3. Which brings me to point #3. This is an excerpted quote from a speech delivered by Theodore Roosevelt at the Sorbonne, in Paris on April 23, 1910. I’m including the full quote below.

It is not the critic who counts;
Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
Or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
Who strives valiantly;
Who errs, who comes short again and again,
Because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
But who does actually strive to do the deeds;
Who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
Who spends himself in a worthy cause;
Who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
And who at the worst,
If he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,
So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
Who neither know victory nor defeat.

4. We often let fears of rejection limit us. What will family say? But I’m not a professional writer. What if I can’t complete this large undertaking? Etc. Just remember: “It is not the critic who counts.” Do the very best that you can. Be daring. Be courageous.

5. And if you prefer a woman to give you inspirational advice, here are the words of Eleanor Roosevelt:

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face… You must do the thing you think you cannot do”.

Womens Memoirs Logo

Writing Alchemy: How to Write Fast and DeepHave you tried using Writing Alchemy: How to Write Deep and Fast? This book provides a new approach to writing your stories in a way that emotionally connects with the reader. If you would like to know more, just click here. You’ll find a description of the book, a complete table of contents, and reactions from writers and authors who have used it.

Have another method of writing that is working for you? That’s great. Keep striving and achieving. “Dare greatly.”

{ 0 comments }

Memoir News: New Podcast; New Online Memoir Class Available; Be a SCN Conference Presenter

by Matilda ButlerAugust 25, 2015
Memoir News: New Podcast; New Online Memoir Class Available; Be a SCN Conference Presenter

Matilda Butler shares information about a new podcast interview with Tyora Moody of The Literary Entrepreneur AND news about her upcoming online class AND details of how you can submit a proposal to teach at the Stories from the Heart Conference in April 2016.

Read the full article →

The Memoir Query that Got Me a Book Contract – And 5 Tips for Writing Your Own

by Pamela JaneAugust 18, 2015
The Memoir Query that Got Me a Book Contract – And 5 Tips for Writing Your Own

Pamela Jane is back with a fantastic post for anyone thinking about have their memoir published. You’ll need a query letter and Pamela offers 5 tips for writing a winning query.

Read the full article →

Memoir Writers: Get Yourself Ready to Become an Authorpreneur

by Matilda ButlerAugust 11, 2015
Memoir Writers: Get Yourself Ready to Become an Authorpreneur

Matilda Butler shares information about becoming an authorpreneur as you consider how to market your book. She tells about a new book, Will the R.E.A.L. Authorpreneur Please Stand Up?, and her chapter in that just released book. Plus, she interviews the book’s compiler–Sharon Jenkins–about her insights into R.E.A.L.

Read the full article →

Reflections on Story Structure for Memoir Writers: Based on a NYT Book Review Best of 2014

by Matilda ButlerAugust 4, 2015
Reflections on Story Structure for Memoir Writers: Based on a NYT Book Review Best of 2014

What are the building blocks for your story? What will you say and how will you say it? Join Matilda Butler as she describes an unusual story structure from a New York Times Book Review: Best 10 of 2014.

Read the full article →

Memoir Writers: Just for the Fun of It

by Matilda ButlerJuly 28, 2015
Memoir Writers: Just for the Fun of It

Do you have favorite jokes? Here are Matilda’s and she invites you to recall your own as a writing prompt.

Read the full article →

How Writing Your Family’s Memoir Benefits You Too: Tips from Denis Ledoux

by Matilda ButlerJuly 21, 2015
How Writing Your Family’s Memoir Benefits You Too: Tips from Denis Ledoux

Women’s Memoirs welcomes Denis Ledoux, founder of The Memoir Network to share details on writing his mother’s memoir…something you just might want to do as well. Be sure to read to the end where Denis tells you how to get a free copy of the ebook version of the memoir — a gift to you to honor his mother on what would have been her 94th birthday.

Read the full article →
Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category StoryMap Category StoryMap Category StoryMap Category Writing and Healing Category Writing and Healing Category Writing and Healing Category Scrapmoir Category Scrapmoir Category Scrapmoir Category Book Business Category Book Business Category Book Business Category Memoir Journal Writing Category Memoir Journal Writing Category Memoir Journal Writing Category News Category News Category News Category