How to write our memoirs

I may want to write my memoirs, but for some reason – maybe our curtains need washed, or maybe I need to have coffee with my friends – I constantly put it off. Which is interesting in itself, and worthy of a whole book alone. Why do we forever put off doing those things we really want to?

I’m forever making excuses not to write: I’m far too busy, I have to collect the kids in ten minutes, what do I know..? though I have found that as I get older, those excuses and many others like them – how dare they! – have abandoned me.

The kids grow up and make their own way, the busy jobs lose their appeal or are done by others – the jobs look after themselves, perhaps – so assuming I have finally run out of excuses, I am left with only question to stop me getting started, What do I know, anyway?

Simple! You know the most anyone will ever know, about your own life. That qualifies you, above all others, to write about it. The next question or stumbling block is, I don’t like to presume….but, if you will pardon me for saying so, that is rather putting the cart before the horse.

When we start writing memoir, we do this primarily for ourselves. Note, we are not writing for anyone else. We are writing for ourselves alone. So, of course, we can presume to do that, since we are not imposing our views or our undertaking on anyone else – unless we are also assuming that the time we take away from our normal day to write, is presumptuous in itself, and we are keeping our fingers and toes crossed that no-one will object. But that is like saying that we should not paint, or dance or sing, in case the neighbours, our friends our family take umbrage. (We often do think this kind of thing, believing that what our neighbours, friends, etc think about what we are doing, is more important than our doing it; which is rather nonsense, and a little sad.)

However, if we can’t get beyond these kinds of objections – if they keep their grip on us and stop us getting started – perhaps the best conclusion to draw is that we are ten or twenty years too early to get started: As we get older, believe me, other people’s opinions matter, of course, but we get impatient. Eyes on the clock, one day it dawns on us that if we don’t do this now – immediately make a start right now – we may never do it.

So, in considering how to write memoir, it might be an idea to take a quick gander through all the automatic excuses we come up with, and test their strength against that of our resolve. Because we are going to need all the resolve we can muster, to undertake the writing of memoir.

To be continued. Thanks for reading.

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