Tuesday, August 11, 2015

How I wrote my memoir in 44 days

Below is the introduction from my new book, 60,000 Words in Six Weeks: How I wrote my memoir in 44 days. It is available from Amazon.com.

On Writing Well

Several years ago I read the book On Writing Well by William Zinsser. He recommended that aspiring authors write one story per day for 120 days. At the conclusion of those four months, writers should discard everything they wrote. According to Zinsser, it takes that amount of time to find the voice and rhythm for narrating a story. I followed his suggestions for about two weeks, but stopped writing.

My 500 Words

More recently, I came across the website my500words.com. This is a challenge presented by the author Jeff Goins. The basic rule of My 500 Words is to write five hundred words per day for thirty days. I decided to give it a try. However, rather than write a series of thirty articles on random topics, my goal was to write a cohesive narrative where all of the entries connected in some way. I decided to write about a topic I knew well, my life.

30 into 120

In thinking about this writing challenge, somewhere along the way, I converted the 30 days into 120 days, and thus a total of 60,000 words rather than 15,000 words. Even after I realized this faux pas I still committed to completing the longer project. To help me stay motivated I envisioned my memoir as a printed book. As most printed books average 250-275 words per page, I knew that 60,000 words could potentially result in a 200-page book, a reasonable first effort.

I wrote 60,027 words in 44 days. After some basic editing, I setup the text to resemble a book and printed it using an online print-on-demand publisher. This e-book is about my process. Each chapter answers a series of questions I asked myself along the way. I hope you will find inspiration and motivation from my experience that you can apply to your own writing journey.

60,000 Words in 6 Weeks

If you ever thought about writing a book or are currently writing, I believe that 60,000 Words in 6 Weeks will help you. While there are a number of excellent books that discuss creative writing, storytelling, and other aspects of the writing craft, my book is a practical one to help you track the progress that you make everyday.

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