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Memoir Writing Tips

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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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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Dear Pamela: Take Her Advice!

by Pamela JaneMay 9, 2017
Dear Pamela: Take Her Advice!

Dear Pamela, memoir advice columnist, provides five tips on how to get restarted when life has caused you to put aside your memoir writing for a while.

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Memoir Writing Tiny Tip #9: Don’t Forget You

by Matilda ButlerFebruary 28, 2017
Memoir Writing Tiny Tip #9: Don’t Forget You

Matilda Butler gives you another in her series of Memoir Tiny Tips.

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