The WHAT, WHY, WHO, WHEN, AND HOW’S OF
MEMOIRS DONE WRITE
WHAT is Memoirs Done Write?
Memoirs Done Write is a highly effective Program that instills confidence that you can organize and record the stories of your life. It provides a well-traveled road map that connects the people, places, and things that have made you who you are.
WHY should you be interested?
You were read stories as a child. You expanded your knowledge when you proudly learned to read stories by yourself. You slowly became aware that you were playing a starring role in your own stories. By looking in your rear-view mirror and recording your unique experiences, you gain understanding of where you’ve been, perception as to where you are, and insight into where you should be going.
WHO will benefit from your efforts?
The simple answer is YOU will. It is a popular belief that you are writing your Memoirs for others. But you need not (and even should not) enter this venture with the thought/hope that you are doing them for someone else. If that proves to be the case, it will be a wonderful by-product. I have had students who lost all close family members through death and/or estrangement. I’ve had students with extremely large and loving families. They all came to realize they were writing their Memoirs for themselves.
YOU are the one who will gain the most. These stories are for and about YOU.
WHO am I to tell you what to do?
The simple answer is “everyone is entitled to my opinion...." I have already mentioned the two happenings that inspired 10 year old me to start my Memoirs. I indicated it took me another 30 years to continue writing them. Here is the rest of the story:
I was living in Atlanta with my second husband, living a life very different from the one I left behind. I felt the need to explain to my children how I got from "there to here." I spent a long day writing story upon story from my previous life. At the end of that day, I realized I could help others do likewise. Thus Memoirs Done Write was born. Its format was so successful from the start, it has only had a few modifications since.
Upon moving to Charleston 22 years ago, I taught Memoirs Done Write at Adult Education programs, The Center for Women, Hollings Cancer Center, The Veterans Administration, Trident Health Finders, The Lowcountry Senior Center, in private homes for small groups, and individual sessions; I have loved doing it.
Eventually my passion for Memoirs competed with my passion for hats. I created The Hat Ladies of Charleston and put more energy down that road. Although I still taught it upon request, it has taken @15 years for me to return to writing my own and resume helping others write theirs.
Two things "woke me up:" One is the fact that I live in hurricane country. After years of evacuating and seeing I can't take it all with me, I decided I had better get my papers in order. The second wake up call came this past summer when I lived with the terror that I might have cancer. It took numerous tests, including a PET Scan, to confirm that I did NOT. The question “What am I waiting for?” needed to be answered.
By the way, when I say “you are writing your Memoirs for yourself,” I practice what I preach: I am estranged from my two grown children. Of course, I hope they will want to know who I am. But I do not know if they will even open the Book I will soon send them. I’m doing it anyway. I’m doing it FOR ME. I want to know who I am. I believe Memoirs Done Write will provide my answers.
WHEN to do it:
NOW!!!!!!!!!!! I urge you to join me in answering “What am I waiting for?” with action. No one has a guarantee about “tomorrow.”
HOW to do it:
Start by believing you CAN do it. Let The Ten Commandments of Memoirs Done Write inspire and motivate you.
1. Ignore your high school English teacher; think of writing “snippets,” not essays
2. Enjoy the freedom to write without worrying if it’s good or bad; what is categorically good is the fact that you’re doing it; besides even the best writers aren’t good judges of the quality of their work
3. Believe what is interesting to you will be interesting to others; the “ordinary” is often “extraordinary;” some of the best memoirs were written by regular people
4. Strive for progress not perfection; once you start writing, keep going. Don’t try to polish your work until you’re almost finished (if then)
5. Write as you speak; what you write should sound like you. In reality, you’re just talking on paper
6. Speak from your heart; include feelings, not just facts
7.Be specific; give examples to support your points of view
8. Be honest; tell the truth. If something is too painful or controversial, leave it out; you’re the Editor
9. Just write …pick a subject for the day and just start writing
10.Honor your Memory; by following the first 9 commandments, you will be honoring yourself
Now that you are motivated to write your Memoirs, your next step is to officially enroll in Memoirs Done Write. You will receive detailed instructions that are easy to follow from the comfort of your home any time of day or night that works for you
The lessons will include:
1. The way to start
2. The magic formula
3. The writing process
4. The use of photos, special writings, and previous writings
5. The summary
PPlease know that the guidelines for writing your Memoirs can be adapted to video taping them.
Just as I asked myself, "What am I waiting for?" you should ALL ask yourself the same question. Don't regret tomorrow what you could/should have done today. Just consider how the world's health is suddenly being challenged by the coronavirus...things can change, at the drop of a hat! Be as ready as you can be.
Send a $50.00 check, payable to Archie Burkel, 805 Heyward Cove, Charleston, SC 29412. (At this point I am NOT connected to paypal nor can I accept credit cards)