Inspiration for Writing the Best Memoir You Can

by Matilda Butler on September 1, 2015

catnav-alchemy-activePost #83 – Memoir and Fiction, Writing Alchemy – Matilda Butler

Consider What Matters When Writing Your Memoir

Today’s blog is fairly short and has the sole purpose of encouraging you to write your memoir–to write it in the best way that you can achieve. I’ll say more about the quote at the end.

It is not the critic who counts:
The credit belongs to the woman who is actually in the arena,
Who strives valiantly;
Who errs, who comes short again and again;
Who knows great enthusiasms;
Who spends herself in a worthy cause;
Who at the best knows in the end
The triumph of high achievement,
And who at the worst,
If she fails, at least fails while daring greatly.

A few points about the quote:

1. I changed “man” to “woman” and “himself” to “herself” and “he” to “she.” So shoot me. The quote comes from an era when “man” or “he” was considered generic. Of course, since then research has demonstrated that gendered words limit us.

2. I found this quote in an ad for Cadillac. I was quite impressed with it and wondered if today’s ad agencies really write like this. There were no quote marks and no attribution so it seemed as if some agency had produced this copy. Hum. I still wasn’t a believer, not that good writing can’t come from an ad agency. More it was something in my gut. So while it would have been quite difficult to prove one way or the other in the past, today’s technology makes it easy to check.

3. Which brings me to point #3. This is an excerpted quote from a speech delivered by Theodore Roosevelt at the Sorbonne, in Paris on April 23, 1910. I’m including the full quote below.

It is not the critic who counts;
Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
Or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
Who strives valiantly;
Who errs, who comes short again and again,
Because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
But who does actually strive to do the deeds;
Who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
Who spends himself in a worthy cause;
Who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
And who at the worst,
If he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,
So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
Who neither know victory nor defeat.

4. We often let fears of rejection limit us. What will family say? But I’m not a professional writer. What if I can’t complete this large undertaking? Etc. Just remember: “It is not the critic who counts.” Do the very best that you can. Be daring. Be courageous.

5. And if you prefer a woman to give you inspirational advice, here are the words of Eleanor Roosevelt:

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face… You must do the thing you think you cannot do”.

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Writing Alchemy: How to Write Fast and DeepHave you tried using Writing Alchemy: How to Write Deep and Fast? This book provides a new approach to writing your stories in a way that emotionally connects with the reader. If you would like to know more, just click here. You’ll find a description of the book, a complete table of contents, and reactions from writers and authors who have used it.

Have another method of writing that is working for you? That’s great. Keep striving and achieving. “Dare greatly.”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Hope Nejman January 9, 2016 at

I found the memoir’s of the authopreneur’s captivating as well informative. I’ve related to some of the stories they shared and as a result have incorporated the positive messages they held into my life. I enjoy writing about my life experiences, putting my pen to paper has always led me to creating the best I can be at what I do. I would appreciate the opportunity in sharing my story with you and learning the very best way to do it with “Writing for Alchemy. Would there be a contest going on this year and if so how would I go about entering it.
Thank You
Hope Nejman

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