I believe that memory is the well-spring of the intuition, and for that reason, I am convinced that it is every writer’s greatest resource. For people who are writing memoir, the memory is certainly essential, but I believe that all writers would benefit from examining their pasts. When I say that, however, I am not talking about inner childhood work. That is work for another arena. No doubt, all of us have ghosts in our pasts–ghosts that need to be exorcised, but our memories are filled with other things, too. Don’t allow the fact that you have some bad memories scare you away from looking at your own personal history. In other words, “Don’t throw ou the baby with the bath water.”
On October 1, 2016, I’ll be hosting a Free Writing Event that will center around examining our memories. Blog to Memoir: Find Your Path is the first of four successive events that is designed to help writers take a healthy look at their memories and to use those memories as building blocks to improve their writing. This course is designed for all writers and not merely for writers of memoir.
What This Course Is Not
This course will not be your confessional. It will not challenge you to write a series of tell-all’s, and it will not dare you to slice open your veins and bleed. it is not the place where you will continue to pound your ghosts on the head. This course is not about some radical therapy, and it will not be a substitute for Alcoholics Anonymous, for joining Codependency Groups and for seeing your mental health professional. When I suggest that you look into your past, I am not prodding you to exorcise all of the demons that are there. That is someone else’s job.
What This Course Is – It Is the Place to Move On from Your Past
This course is a logical next step for many people who have already identified that things were not perfect for them when they were children. This course is for people who are ready to move on. It is not for people who want to continue to wallow in the pain of their pasts. It is for people who want alchemize the experiences of their childhood and to allow them to transform into gold.
Phase 1: Find Your Path is a Double-Edged Sword
Each day, during Find Your Path, I’ll be providing you with two completely different types of challenges. A great deal is expected from 21st-Century writers. Because many people are highly educated now and also because of the influence of the Internet, there are a plethora of people who want to write; consequently, would-be writers are faced with a great deal of competition. Writers today are also expected to do their own marketing. Regardless of your the subject matter of your writing, you also must begin paving a professional path. You must begin to develop your writer’s platform.
Blog to Memoir: Find Your Path have a dual perspective. Each Day of the course, you will have two challenges One of the challenges will be labeled “Path.” That is where you will find the writing exercise for the day. The other challenge will be labeled “Platform.” That is where you will be directed to perform at least one task that will help you begin to develop your Writer’s Platform. Find Your Path is Phase 1 of a 4-Part Challenge.
As you might expect, Phase 1 of Blog to Memoir: Find Your Path is the simplest of the four phases. In fact, as you complete the first half of the daily writings for Find Your Path, you will probably begin to balk, feeling that you have not been challenged and that you are possibly wasting your time. It is important that you do ALL of the writing exercises, however–even the ones that seem ridiculously simple. There is a method in my madness. The initially very simple and non-threatening writing exercises are designed to overcome problems that writers often have developed.
Most of us are plagued by writer’s block to one extent or another. Most of us have been bullied by our Self-Editors, and most of us are a little bit leery of writing because of our Self-Editors.
Writing with Pretty but Meaningless Words
Others of us may have formed some bad writing habits. We may have begun to cloak our passages with pretty, but meaningless images.
Writing What You Believe that People Want or Expect You to Write
We may have a tendency to write what we believe that other people want to read.
Writing that is Safe
One of the worst mistakes that a writer can make is that of failing to take a stand.
Writing that is Superficial
Many of us are slightly afraid to peer into some of our darker corners, and we may have developed a tendency to write about abstractions and about things that aren’t terribly personal. In that regard, examining your memory will help you open another level of subject matter and will pull back some obstacles that might be constructed because of bad memories.
By writing all of the responses to the very simple and almost safe prompts in Phase 1 of the Blog to Memoir Course, you will gradually break out of some of the negative behaviors that I have outlined above. After about a week of writing, I’ll begin to explain things that you need to know about these behaviors and about why you need to write more authentically. To begin, however, you will simply write. Your initial writings will be short and sweet, and you will use your extra time to Build Your Writer’s Platform.
©Jacki Kellum August 17, 2016