Memoir Writing and Editing: 40 Times?

by Matilda Butler on October 25, 2011

Editors on Editing LogoPost #11 – Women’s Memoirs, Editors on Editing – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler

Memoir Writing, Memoir Editing

Don’t panic. You don’t really have to make 40 separate edits. But, we’ll come back to this point in a minute.

As many of you know from previous posts, this has been a year of trips for us as we settle into our new home in Oregon. Some trips were to see friends back in California, some to see family, and one was even to keep dentist appointments back in Palo Alto. (Yes, we now have a local dentist.)

I worry about the person who gets my seat after these flights. Why? I am always inspired by Spirit magazine on Southwest Airlines — inspired with new ideas, new writing prompts, new concepts for my writing classes. This means I rip out pages from the magazine and sometimes even take the entire issue. I’ve been known to use ads that give me thoughts to conjure with.

Memoir Writing and 40 Times

Back in our June flight, I read that WD-40 was given that name because it took the inventor 40 tries to get it right. The name, according to the article, means “Water Displacement, 40th Attempt.”

Yes, this shows persistence and passion. And that’s what it takes when we write our memoirs. We need to write it and get it right so that our readers understand our life story, see our theme and message, understand the emotions and connect with us.

This means writing and rewriting. Do you need to rewrite or edit it 40 times. Probably not although it may feel that way. After you have worked to perfect your memoir, you may still need some professional assistance.

memoir, memoir writing, memoir and editing, memoir editorAs you may know, Kendra and I are the Co-Coordinators for Story Circle Network’s Editorial Service that gives you easy access to a team of professional editors. These editors have been selected both for their skill level and because they are attuned to the stories women write — memoirs as well as fiction. Your memoir manuscript is important and deserves respect…the best treatment…and an editor who understands you. That’s why SCN Editorial Service exists. When you’re ready for an editor, we’re ready for you. Not a member of SCN? Don’t worry. You can still use SCN Editorial Service’s editors who can help you with your article or manuscript. Think you aren’t up to writing your memoir and want someone to interview you for your stories and then write them for you? Again, let us know as we have editors who can work with you in different capacities to ensure that your stories are told.

So the next time you find yourself reworking a section of your memoir that just doesn’t seem right, remind yourself of Norm Larsen as he completed his 39th attempt and thought he’d never get it right.

He did. You will.









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