- Freewrite regularly. Don’t take your pen off the paper—write quickly and freely.
- Write your truth for 20 minutes every day.
- Tune out the critic. Or work with it: write down what it says and answer it back. Create a dialogue where your creative voice has the last word.
- Discover the source of the critic—parental voices, teachers, or society.
- Write stories about the origin of that negative, critical voice.
- Go back and forth between the dark and the light stories in your life.
- Use the timeline to help organize and structure your stories.
- Write vignettes—don’t worry about a whole story or book.
- Research the background, setting, and history of the times and places you are writing about.
- Fictionalize as needed to create scenes and story flow.
- Use photos to help you remember. Write what happened before and after the photo was taken.
- Write the untold stories of your mother, father, grandparents.
- You can heal the past of your ancestors through writing the truth and letting it go.
- Write about the future. Studies show that writing positive stories is healing too.
Be Your Best Writing Pal
- Nurture your writing self. Give yourself a “writing date,” like a coffee date at a café. Enjoy your coffee while you write. Turn off your phone and the Internet.
- Alice Miller, a psychologist who specializes in healing abuse, talks about how we need a “Compassionate Witness” to help us heal. Your writing group is a way to have your past and your dark and light stories be witnessed.
- Join organizations that support writers.
- Go to book readings to hear how authors get their work done.
- Join a writing group that respects memoir and true stories.
- Protect your writing from intrusion. Treat it like a tender, young plant.
The National Association of Memoir Writers