Posts tagged as:

memoir prompts

Memoir Writing: It’s All About Strategy

by Matilda Butler on February 16, 2016

Writing Prompt LogoPost #229 – Women’s Memoirs, Writing Prompt – Matilda Butler



What I Learned from Super Bowl 50

Like more than 100 million other people, I turned on the television to watch Super Bowl 50 on February 7. Well, I only turned it on in the five minutes before the half-time show and stayed tuned until the third quarter started. I’m not a fan of football but I have a nostalgic interest in the Super Bowl for two reasons.

First, I lived in Palo Alto when Super Bowl XIX (January 20, 1985) was played in Stanford’s stadium. Although we didn’t have tickets, we took our sons and walked around the stadium in the afternoon of the game. Excitement was in the air and sucked us all in. Joe Montana of the 49ers and Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins were the stars of the upcoming game. We bought our eldest son a navy blue sweater with an embroidered Super Bowl XIX on the front. I kept that sweater for years and passed it down to his younger brothers. If memory serves, we bought the other boys pennants for their rooms.

The second nostalgic memory for Super Bowl occurred when my partner planned a surprise birthday for me when I turned 60. We drove to Santa Barbara where our youngest son was in college. Secretly my partner flew in two other sons to join in the celebration that Saturday. On Sunday, we spent part of the afternoon in our hotel room with the Super Bowl on television. Three of us took a long walk on Stearns Wharf and browsed through a rock shop. My eldest son bought me a beautiful piece of amethyst that I still display.

Super Bowl 50 and Memoir Writing Strategy

Nice Memories, But…

You’re wondering how this relates to memoir writing. When I tuned in, the sports announcers for Super Bowl 50 were talking about the coin toss that is the first action taken by either team that has the potential to determine the outcome. (By the way, Joe Montana did the coin toss this year. I love the various connections in life.) I didn’t realize that there could be so much strategy involved. From Wikipedia, here are the possibilities:

If that player calls the toss correctly, his team gets to choose one of three privileges:

1. Which team receives the kickoff: Generally, teams want to start the game on offense and have the opportunity to score as early as possible, so the team who wins the toss usually opts to receive. They’re known as the receiving team. The referee, swinging his leg in a kicking motion, then points to the other team’s captains as the kicking team.

2. Which goal his team will defend: Instead of receiving the kickoff, the captain may elect to kick off and choose a goal to defend. Captains sometimes take this option if they believe that weather will be a factor in the outcome of the game. For example, in choosing which goal to defend, the player believes that his team will have the wind at its back for the second quarter and the crucial final quarter of the game.

3. When to decide: The team that wins the coin flip can defer, giving it the right to choose between kicking and receiving the second-half kickoff.

The focus on the early strategy and what that may mean later in the game made me think about how important strategy is in all that we do–including memoir writing. And when I write the word strategy, I mean it in both macro and micro ways.

1. You need to find strategies that work for you and your particular style. For example, do you like to work from an outline? If so, let that strategy be your driving force. Outline your memoir. Then when you sit to write, outline the chapter or vignette you will work on next. Find your overall strategy and stick with it.

Or perhaps you just like to write based on what is on your mind or a particular memory that came to you recently. Then maybe you need a filing system or retrieval system that lets you review those pieces every few months so that you can decide how to move forward. That might be your strategy.

2. Think about the outcome that you want. It will allow you to use your strategy to achieve your writing goal. Do you want to move toward publication? Do you want to write for healing? Do you want to participate in a writing group for the pleasure it brings? Current desired outcomes and future changes in your goals should be considered in terms of your strategy.

Strategies Have Consequences

Be a strategic writer. Your approach will have considerable influence on the outcomes of your writing. And writing strategies mean you need to know what factors typically influence you. See how you can use effective strategies both at the daily level as well as at the yearly level.

Thinking about your writing strategy just may help to sharpen your approach to writing.

Memoir Writing Prompt

1. Do you have a writing strategy? If so, what is it?

2. Think through your goals and how delving into your strategy can better help you achieve your goals. Write about this.

3. A strategy involves many steps. A strategy involves looking multiple steps out from where you are now. A strategy involves considering intended as well as unintended outcomes. A strategy involves weighing options. Think about this and begin to develop a writing strategy that works for you.

{ 0 comments }

Writing Prompt: Great Granddaughter of a Bit of Inspiration

by Matilda ButlerJanuary 20, 2015
Writing Prompt: Great Granddaughter of a Bit of Inspiration

The last of the four-part series of articles with inspirational writing prompts.

Read the full article →

Memoir Writers, Stretch Yourselves: All Is Revealed

by Matilda ButlerDecember 9, 2014
Memoir Writers, Stretch Yourselves: All Is Revealed

Memoir Writers: Watch Matilda’s stretch goal and then decide what you’ll do to stretch yourself in the coming months.

Read the full article →

Memoir Writing Prompts: When the Public Meets the Private

by Matilda ButlerSeptember 10, 2012
Memoir Writing Prompts: When the Public Meets the Private

Post #158 – Women’s Memoirs, Writing Prompt – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler Memoir Tip About Remembering Your Life Story During the Olympics, as I saw the awards women were receiving, my mind recalled 40 years earlier. I turned to my partner and said, “You know. Maybe I am exaggerating but I think one reason […]

Read the full article →

Memoir Writing Tip: Moving Up, Moving Down, Moving On

by Matilda ButlerAugust 21, 2012
Memoir Writing Tip: Moving Up, Moving Down, Moving On

Women’s Memoirs shares a writing prompt, exploring what we learn about ourselves when we move.

Read the full article →

The Olympics of Memoir Writing: 8 Writing Tips

by Matilda ButlerAugust 1, 2012
The Olympics of Memoir Writing: 8 Writing Tips

8 Writing Tips to help you become an Olympic memoir writer.

Read the full article →

5 Memoir Writing Tips: Dialogue and Listening

by Matilda ButlerApril 24, 2012
5 Memoir Writing Tips: Dialogue and Listening

These 5 memoir writing tips will help you better under how you use conversation so that you can write better dialogue.

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