Memoir Writing, Perseverance and an Intriguing Response

by Matilda Butler on July 25, 2017

catnav-interviews-active-3Post #243 – Memoir Writing Tiny Tip – Matilda Butler

A Window Into a Sister Writer’s Life

When I sent out the last monthly blogcast, I received a number of responses directed to my comments about how to persevere no matter what. It is certainly easy to procrastinate. The ways to delay or put off working on a memoir seem almost limitless. But what about the other side of that coin? What about ways to persevere? Sometimes coming up with even a single way is hard and it certainly is much harder to come up with a Persevere List than a Procrastinate List.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted the response I got from Bill Thomas. If you didn’t see it, here’s the link.

Today, I’m posting a second, especially intriguing response. I hope it will get you (or keep you) writing.

Barbara Fay begins with a brief statement about what she has been doing before turning to her perseverance technique.

Have your own technique? Please leave a comment below or send me an email. I love hearing from you.

Thoughts on Perseverance

By Barbara Fay

I have been editing a new two-act – 5 scene play for my reader’s theatre company. I am also the Artistic Director of the Theatre. All the actors are my neighbors and residents of our senior arts colony. Our apartment complex is a revolutionary concept in Active Aging! It is The Long Beach Senior Arts Colony in Long Beach, CA.

The format is a Reader’s Theatre because of the different levels of learning of our folks. Some actors have “short term memory loss”, some have limited “cognitive skills impairment”, others have difficulties reading because of a lack of education”, others are “high functioning and whip-smart” and another has “early onset dementia.” Readings and rehearsals feel like herding CATS in a PAPER BAG.

In addition, I write a monthly 200-word column for our monthly 4-page newsletter: “The Source”. I am 76 and have my own health limitations, as well as providing coordination of care for my 48-year-old daughter who is disabled with two brain aneurysms.

I deal with procrastination by a technique I call “Set It & Forget It”. When I am seeking an idea for my column, I put a decorative “Inspiration Box” on a glass shelf in my mind palace. At bedtime, I set my Bose radio timer for 30 minutes of my local FM jazz station. It is my meditation routine.

Within 4 days of my deadline, a perfectly edited piece appears in the box on the shelf and I just download it to my eagerly awaiting arthritic fingers. As I peck way with my two fingers, I smile and enjoy a mug of hot Darjeeling tea!

The play process is a collaboration. During readings, an actor will suggest dialogue or ask for a rewrite based on their ” being in character” and knowing how the character would react. It is exciting and the company have all improved their skill sets. We have grown into a family as we grieved the passing of two of our actors and new residents join for a season or two to try their wings.

On June 15, 2017, we will present the final production of our 5th season! Wow! Wow! The play is: ” It’s Always About The Money, Honey!”


Thanks Barbara for your tip of an “‘Inspiration Box’ on a glass shelf in my mind palace.” It clearly works for you and I’m going to try it as I approach my next blog post deadline.


Use a Journal as a Perseverance Tool

Are you someone who likes to journal? I admire journalers even though I am not one. However, I do love keeping a journal, a notebook with me at all times. It lets me keep track of what needs to be done, what I am doing, how I can move forward. My notes, surprisingly, are often interrupted with a quickly jotted recipe. And no matter how distracted I get, my journal helps me persevere.

A journal becomes a pleasure to use when some aspect of it is special. There are many such journals around, but I’d like to tell you about special journals that Kendra and I had made. The reusable covers fit a standard 9 3/4″ by 7 1/2″ composition book. The covers were made for us of Thai silk with their beautiful, lush threads and colors. We even have photos of the women weaving the silk before they were sewn into the covers.

Thai Silk Journals for Memoir WritersI use my journal everyday. If you are interested in acquiring one for yourself or as a gift for a friend, here’s the link. I’ve even created a special coupon code for you. After you put a journal in your shopping cart, just type the word JOURNAL in the coupon code box. This will save you $15.

These journals are not magical. I cannot guarantee that if you are using one that you will suddenly find ways to be writing all the time. But using a beautiful journal can definitely assist you as you persevere in writing your life stories.

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