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Writing plan stage 3: researching parallel events

Posted by on Sep 13, 2016 in Writing Plan | 0 comments

Writing plan stage 3: researching parallel events

The next part of writing my memoirs of childhood was to research parallel events. I’d already listed all the key experiences of my childhood and put them into a timeline, but there’s more to think about before I start writing.

The memoirs will be about me, but I didn’t exist in a vacuum – the world had important and interesting events going on, too, and some of those may have affected my life or spark memories which should be included.

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Exploring family history: country walks in Devon and lots of cups of tea

Posted by on May 29, 2016 in My Family, Writer's Journal | 0 comments

Exploring family history: country walks in Devon and lots of cups of tea

The trouble with exploring my family history is knowing where to stop.

Researching my memoirs, I’ve spent a happy week at my mother’s house, looking through old family photos, generating loads of memories for my writing.

I’ll be writing my childhood memoirs just for the family to read (because, let’s face it, my childhood was singularly uneventful and no one else would want to read it)

And I was toying with the idea of a semi-autobiographical novel/family saga, based around my life but including three other family members who lived in my childhood home through the previous generations.

Then I came across a collection of old letters written home to her children by my great-grandmother, Hephsibah Jollyman (how awesome is that name?) in 1927, while taking a ‘second honeymoon’ in Lynmouth, Devon.

And they’re so interesting, once I started transcribing them, I just couldn’t wait for the next instalment!

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Writing plan stage 2: creating a timeline

Posted by on May 20, 2016 in Writing Plan | 0 comments

Writing plan stage 2: creating a timeline

The next stage in writing my memoir seemed so simple.

Once I’d jotted down the main events of my life, I’d just create a timeline of memories and taraaa! There would be my life in chronological order, waiting to be broken into chapters.

Only… it didn’t quite work out like that.

Because my life story isn’t like a road, leading from my birth to now. It’s more like a theme park, with a series of interlinked paths leading to areas of interest to explore.

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Inspiring memories: how to research for memoir writing

Posted by on May 16, 2016 in Writing Memoirs | 0 comments

Inspiring memories: how to research for memoir writing

Wondering where to start your research for memoir writing?

It’s all swirling around in your head. You’ve got a lot of random memories of the past – but is there enough to fill a book?

How do you unlock all the events you’ve forgotten?

Which parts of your life should be included, and which left out? It’s too soon to decide – for now, just get everything written down and figure it out later.

My partner and I are both writing our memoirs. Here are the steps we took to get the memories flowing:

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Writing plan stage 1: jogging my memories

Posted by on May 13, 2016 in Writing Plan | 0 comments

Writing plan stage 1: jogging my memories

OK, my 4 weeks are up.

If I’m not careful, I could spend years wallowing in my memories and looking at old photos and still not end up with a finished memoir of my childhood. So I’m posting updates on my writing plan to be more accountable and time-focused.

Here’s my first update:

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My Mum’s Guide to Ladylike Behaviour (and why it didn’t work!)

Posted by on May 2, 2016 in My Family | 0 comments

My Mum’s Guide to Ladylike Behaviour (and why it didn’t work!)

My mother raised us to be feminine and ladylike. It didn’t work.

My sisters and I usually wore dresses or skirts, even when building a treehouse or playing in the snow. We were taught to be polite to guests and old people, to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and walk nicely instead of scraping our shoes.

We spent most of our play-time having dolls’ tea parties (preferably with real food, begged by little Alice in her sweetest voice), playing hospitals (all the dolls had a neat appendix scar after my operation) and being teachers with a classful of disobedient dolls and teddy bears.

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How to write your memoirs of childhood: 4 traps to avoid

Posted by on Apr 18, 2016 in Writing Memoirs | 0 comments

How to write your memoirs of childhood: 4 traps to avoid

Thinking of writing your memoirs of childhood?

You’ve chosen a good time.

With interest in genealogy and social history increasing, many people are posting old family photos on social media. News history and public records are available online, so it’s never been easier to research events of the past.

It’s a great way to pass your wisdom and experience to future generations you’ll never meet. Your story could be an inspiration to others across the world.

But be careful.

Here are four traps you can fall into in writing your memoirs of childhood:

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A childhood memoir: my writing timetable

Posted by on Apr 13, 2016 in Writing Plan | 0 comments

A childhood memoir: my writing timetable

I’ve always been a bit weird.

Frankly, I blame my parents.

For some reason, they didn’t consider that turning on the television and handing out junk food constituted an upbringing, so they made us do lots of other stuff instead.

So I’m starting to write a memoir of my childhood in the 1960s and 70s.

Here’s my writing timetable:

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Refocusing my writer’s blog

Posted by on Mar 16, 2016 in Writer's Journal | 0 comments

Refocusing my writer’s blog

This is SO embarrassing.

This blog, I mean.

Ever since my previous post, I’ve been thinking.

I’ve been developing my writing skills for decades, and my aim is to become a professional writer.

And this blog is about… well… me.

This blog is my public face as a writer.

I write every day.

I’ve self-published several ebooks.

I even have a site with advice for writers and bloggers.

Yet, instead of owning a proper, professional writer’s blog, I have a random hotch-potch of stuff I dumped here because it didn’t fit anywhere else.

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Shouting into the void: why there’s no such thing as a personal blog

Posted by on Jan 22, 2016 in Writer's Journal | 2 comments

Shouting into the void: why there’s no such thing as a personal blog

Hellooo??? Anybody out there?

Writing a personal blog is like shouting into a dark room – I don’t know if anyone’s there to hear my words.

It gives me a sense of freedom. After all, if no one’s gonna read this, I can say whatever I like.

I can bore my readers with long descriptions of what I had for breakfast (muffins with Marmite and a glass of orange juice, since you’re asking), rant about my opinions or witter on tediously about the enthralling highlights of my uneventful life.

I don’t need to worry about political correctness or topicality. I don’t need to be stunningly original. I don’t need to ‘focus on keywords’ or ‘optimise my writing for SEO’ or any of that crap.

I can just write.

And if most of my blog posts are just pebbles, it doesn’t matter, as long as a few of them turn out to be diamonds.

But there’s a problem.

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