Memoir Writing Tiny Tip #14: The Main Thing

by Matilda Butler on October 3, 2017

catnav-interviews-active-3Post #242 – Memoir Writing Tiny Tip – Matilda Butler



Memoir Writing Tiny Tip #14

Stephen Covey, well-known author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change once said:

The main thing is to keep The Main Thing the main thing.

I ran across this quote recently and immediately saw its relevance to my work and to the work of all memoir writers.

Of course, the difficult part is to figure out The Main Thing.

Searching on the Internet, I found a list of Main Things for various businesses and organizations. This will give you an idea of what is meant by The Main Thing:

For people at FedEx, The Main Thing is: “People-Service-Profit.”
An official in charge of nutrition at the U.S. Department of Agriculture stated her organization’s Main Thing as “Ending hunger in this country.”
An electrical utility executive explained his company’s purpose crisply and clearly: “To be the power source of choice.”
The CEO of Connecticut’s Farmington Bank told George that its Main Thing is to “Drive economic development in central Connecticut.”
The U.S. Navy’s huge Naval Aviation Enterprise, which supplies aircraft and trained crews to the fleet, has boiled its Main Thing down to a simple phase: “Aircraft and crews ready for tasking at lower cost.”
Boston’s Port Authority, which has responsibility for bridges, airport, and harbor terminals, once described its Main Thing as “Advancing Boston’s pace of economic development.”

I’ve never seen a list for individuals, but it would be quite interesting. We would probably each have several Main Things…one for our work lives, one for our personal lives, one for our interaction with others, etc.

Even if we each might have several Main Things, I believe the concept offers great guidance. On any given day, I’ve been known to work on a number of items on my to-do list. None of them related to The Main Thing.

So, before I return to my Main Thing today, I just wanted to pass this idea on to you. Think about it … name it … as you move through your busy day.


How This Tiny Tip Series Started

The idea for a series of short writing tips came to me while reading the program notes for a chamber music concert. I realized that many (well, ok, most) of my blog articles get to be long and often require you to do certain things — like write from prompts I’ve provided. And while I will continue with this type of longer article because I think they are of value, I realized that sometimes as writers we just want a little bit of information or a small new idea or a thought stated differently. We don’t have a lot of time.

That’s the concept behind each Tiny Tip. Just a nugget to give you something to think about as you go through your busy day.

Enjoy.

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