OPTIONAL EXERCISES:

1. Do you already know what you want to write about? If so, write the story of your memoir in one page. Yes, 1 page.

2. Now tell it in a single paragraph.

2. Now tell it in fewer than ten words. Yes, fewer than 10.

3. Writers of memoir often feel that there is someone (or several people) standing in the way of their being able to write their story, all sides of it, the whole shebang. We might feel protective of someone or that we are doing a disservice to the other people in the story or that we are 'airing dirty laundry' better kept in the closet. We'll explore this in more detail in the lesson devoted to "Family & Other Characters," but if this applies to you, consider writing that person a letter (the good old-fashioned kind: by hand on actual paper) explaining why you need to write this story. You might want to explain that you are going to write your story (not theirs). It might help to ensure them you will write with respect and compassion. Let yourself write whatever you need to say, without editing anything. Let your hand move and your thoughts pour onto the page. Write six letters if you need to. [Note: Don't send any of them. Tuck them in a safe place. We'll come back to them later.]