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Memoir Writing Tips

catnav-interviews-active-3Post #249 – Memoir Writing Tiny Tip – Matilda Butler



Memoir Writing Tiny Tip #18

Mozart? Really? Let me explain.

Many towns have annual music events. And Corvallis is no exception. One event, a series of concerts in mid-summer, is the Chintimini Chamber Music Festival. I love reading the program notes primarily because I always learn something about a musician or a piece of music. This summer the program notes also gave me several ideas for blog posts. Here’s the first one:

It all began with a quote from a letter that Mozart wrote to his father. It seems that he had a commission but was only able to write two concertos and three quartets. This meant he was paid less than half of what the full commission would have brought in. Mozart said in the letter:

That I have not done more is quite simply explained. I have no peace. I can write nothing except at night and so cannot get up early. One is not always in the right mood for working. Of course I can scribble the whole day long, but such pieces go out into the world, and I am determined not to be asked if my name is on them. Besides, as you know, I become bored and dull if I have to write always for one instrument (which I can’t bear).

Try this tip:

Say to yourself or a friend, “That I have not done more on my memoir is quite simply explained….” How do you explain what holds you back? Is it the challenge of managing your time? Is it the number of distractions? Is it perhaps a lack of belief in the importance of what you are doing?

As you move through your busy life today, think about the statement and figure out why you haven’t done more. Once that is settled, you may even want to make a list. Then go through the list seriously and see what you can shift, what you can move around, what you need to do differently in order to make more progress on your writing.

I can guarantee you that writing your memoir is one of the most important things you can accomplish. It gives you insights into your past. It enables you to plan your future. It allows you to share your life with your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Your family and others will learn about the factors that made you the person you are. And publishing your memoir carries the effects to others, to strangers who have the opportunity to learn from you and to reflect on their own lives.

Writing a memoir is indeed like a stone thrown into a pond. The ripples go out and out and affect the lives of others.

SO. Don’t just explain why you haven’t made as much progress as you had hoped. GO ahead and make the progress.

Mozart was actually a prolific composer. So if you feel stumped, don’t let it get you down. Determine what is holding you back and resolve to remove the barriers.

That’s my Tiny Tip for today.

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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Dear Pamela’s Farewell with Answers to Two Great Questions

by Pamela JaneDecember 19, 2017
Dear Pamela’s Farewell with Answers to Two Great Questions

Dear Pamela advice column answers two great (and final) questions. Her memoir writing advice and memoir tips continue.

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Memoir Writing Tiny Tip #14: The Main Thing

by Matilda ButlerOctober 3, 2017
Memoir Writing Tiny Tip #14: The Main Thing

Matilda Butler poses a memoir writing tiny tip for you to ponder today. Reflect on it as you move through your busy day.

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Dear Pamela: When Is It Time to Write?

by Pamela JaneSeptember 25, 2017
Dear Pamela: When Is It Time to Write?

Dear Pamela responds to two great questions — one about when to write after the death of a loved one, and one about story structure. Pamela’s suggestions and tips just may help you as you work on your memoir.

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Memoir Giveaway and Interview with Kristin I. Morris, Memoir Author of Jamarr’s Promise

by Matilda ButlerSeptember 5, 2017
Memoir Giveaway and Interview with Kristin I. Morris, Memoir Author of Jamarr’s Promise

Kristin I. Morris joins Matilda Butler for a discussion about her new memoir, Jamarr’s Promise.

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Memoir Writing Tiny Tip #12: What Do Coffee Beans and Memoir Writing Have in Common?

by Matilda ButlerAugust 8, 2017
Memoir Writing Tiny Tip #12: What Do Coffee Beans and Memoir Writing Have in Common?

Here’s Memoir Writing Tiny Tip #12, another in a continuing series of brief suggestions for handling your memoir. This time Matilda Butler looks at when memoir vignettes are ready to be written and shared.

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Dear Pamela: Advice Column for Memoirists

by Pamela JaneJuly 11, 2017
Dear Pamela: Advice Column for Memoirists

Pamela Jane, author of the advice column Dear Pamela, returns to answer a great question…what advice has helped her the most. What do you think? Is this advice also helpful to you?

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