Memoir Writers Get to Carnegie Hall the Same Way as Everyone Else!

by Kendra Bonnett on August 16, 2010

catnav-alchemy-activePost #20 – Memoir and Fiction, Writing Alchemy – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler

zenYes. Sorry. No way around it. The key to success is practice…or as Ray Bradbury explains in his essay, “Zen and the Art of Writing,” work. Writing, to Bradbury, isn’t really work, but working at writing (putting in the time reading, writing, learning) is part of the process that will bring the joys and love of writing.

I think this concept is important to every writer still learning her craft and aspiring to publication, which is why this is the focus of my Writing in Five video this week. I feel it’s a particularly important topic for our memoir writers because so many of you have come to serious writing (i.e., aspiring to publication) comparatively late. You have stories to tell; this is your primary objective…to share, educate, illuminate the stories of your lives.

You take classes, join critique groups, attend workshops and seminars because you want to communicate as clearly as possible and learn to capture (and hold) the interest of readers. All of this is worthwhile but it still comes down to putting in the hours–writing something (even if it’s just a paragraph) daily.

Suddenly, one day, you notice the first fruits of your effort: Perhaps you write a little faster, with greater fluidity. You find you are thinking less about the words, punctuation, and grammar and more about you message. You are steeped in your message and the emotions it releases in you. You are writing with passion.

Watch the video below to fully understand the process.

So what can you do to nurture the process?

Journaling might be a useful tool for you. As it so happens, Amber Starfire is now posting weekly here on Women’s Memoirs. Each Saturday, you can look to her for inspiration, direction, encouragement and tips.

Each Tuesday, our own Promptly Portland gives you a memoir writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing. Plan on spending an hour each Tuesday with Promptly Portland as your muse.

Finally, start blogging. It’s an inexpensive and useful platform that will get you writing for an audience. In the early phases, you probably won’t attract many readers. This is okay. You’re just beginning to stretch your wings. Over time, you’ll build a platform for your book. You’ll get yourself on a regular schedule, and in a year’s time you’ll be surprised how much you’ve accomplished.

So commit to the work of writing today. Then start watching for the breakthroughs…the little things that will bring you closer to relaxation, passion and the zen of writing.

I started my thoughts on Story Circle Network’s Telling HerStories blog this morning. I hope you’ll click through and read my thoughts on how Ray Bradbury applies to the business of writing as well.






{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Matilda Butler August 16, 2010 at

Kendra:
This is a great blog and another outstanding video. I just read a quote from Ray Bradbury that I thought I’d add.

“I’ve never had a vacation in my life!” he said. Why should I? I’ve never worked!”

This quote speaks to writing from a strong sense of passion.

Congrats.
-Matilda

Kendra Bonnett August 16, 2010 at

That’s it. That quote captures his whole approach to writing. Thanks for posting it here.

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