By now quite a few people in my networks have heard that I decided to call 2012 The Year of the Memoir. Why did she do that, you wonder. What will we call next year?? More importantly–what is Snoopy writing in HIS memoir?

First of all, I trust in the powers of creativity. They are greater than I, or you, or anyone, but the deal is, we have to find ways to listen to that still small voice that whispers brilliance in our ears and we need to find ways to bring our creative thoughts and ideas into form in the world. The idea of a baby is quite different than birthing one, don’t you think? The idea of a book is an idea—until you bring it to life on the page. We need help to get our work born, we need inspiration and support. Techniques and goals.

We need to have a sense of being able to do what we want to do—so declaring it is a way to keep ourselves honest. Think of the writers—Dickens, Virginia Woolf, John Steinbeck among others—who wrote and shared with other writers their creative experiences, their doubts and fears.  Each of them announced what they were working on and in so doing, created intentionality and a goal. As well as a well-oiled support group. The Impressionists did this as well, discussing, painting, trying, failing, and still they painted and changed the world.

Inspiration and Perspiration—how much of each?

Inspiration helps many of us get ourselves planted in the chair to write, but as you know, writing requires some effort, some perspiration, in order for us to wrestle with the various ideas coursing through our brains. We wrestle with technique, with images, with memories. With the Inner Critic, with the voice of family.

But we keep writing. That’s the only way. We learn from our reading—how did that author keep ME turning the pages? Why do I find it hard to put down some books and others I can’t finish. Ask those questions, learn from everyone around you. Have a beginner’s mind.

I have likened writing a memoir to a journey in other posts. This week I began teaching my online workshops and was so jazzed to hear the eagerness in the voices of the students in the workshop. They are engaged in such a creative dance on their journey to a finished memoir.

Here’s what some of them said:

  • Writing validates my experience. I feel better about who I am when I write.
  • Not writing made me realize how much I need to write to know who I am.
  • Writing my memoir has helped me get along better with my mother and ex-husband.
  • Writing about the past helped me to let it go.
  • The year of the memoir idea made me realize that I want to get my book done this year!

Having a name for the year set an intention for many of these writers.

How do you set your intention?

How do you keep your goal in mind?

Some people journal, some write out intentions and put them up on the wall.

Others put their intention on the calendar and create accountability.

What method do you want to start this week during the first month of the Year of the Memoir?

How many words will you have written by Feb. 1??

Think of Snoopy writing his memoir, and smile. It keeps you open and flexible, smiling. Keep writing!