Friday, November 3, 2017

Writing a Memoir - Maureen Murdock


Maureen Murdock


As a young adolescent I've always been drawn to writing. Yes I was one of those girls who kept one of those little diaries carefully guarded with the small key. I felt very precious about it. But truthfully I think it was something I felt a certain desire to share it, but at the same time would have been mortified if anyone actually had read my inner most secrets.

My desire to share what I wrote increased in time, as my writing improved, but of course I never thought of myself as a writer, nor even a great reader for that matter, because I had a rather short attention span. But there certainly were books I loved to read. Reading just like writing is a discipline. And within that discipline there is freedom to simply be myself, and to learn how to be the best person I can be.

In my young adulthood while attending University, I learned more about writing out of necessity, having to write papers. Left to my own devices had I not learned to write, I was on the road to failure, in spite of my good intentions but lacking in the skills to succeed in University, that required me to write papers.

I'll certainly be forever grateful for having done so, because learning to write has been so rewarding and a form of self-expression that has greatly enriched and changed my life.

One of my very favourite writers is Maureen Murdock because after reading The Heroine's Journey, that was generously given to me by a good friend. This book was a life changer and affected my way of thinking about who I am as a woman, and opened up my spiritual beliefs surrounding the God of my understanding and the Sacred Feminine.

I believe humans are natural born story tellers, and we all have important stories to tell. Story telling helps to define who we are as humans.

Although I do have three blogs and I get great pleasure out of creating them, my first and foremost way of writing is through long hand cursive writing. I think I could say some of my blog posts are memoir like, but mostly my blogs are tools for learning about creativity and life in all it's forms.

I subscribe to a site about women writers and found this article written by Maureen Murdock about tips for writing a memoir.



  1. Memoir is not an autobiography but rather a selected aspect of a life. No event in your life is too small, but the details are important.
  2. There is a universality to memoirs.
  3. Honesty and Sincerity: Is the narrator authentic? When you are talking about yourself, you are talking about all of us to a certain degree; that’s the universal element. The struggle for emotional truth is central to memoir.
  4. Intimacy: The hallmark of memoir is its intimacy with its audience.
  5. Language in memoir is conversational, everyday, direct.
  6. Humor: Be willing to laugh at yourself, reveal your foibles. We all have them.
  7. Self-Reflection: The essence of memoir is the track of the writer’s thoughts struggling to understand some event in her life. What have you learned from this event?
  8. Character: In writing memoir, you have to make yourself into a believable character. What do you want to know about the people you write about, including yourself?
  9. Scenes: Vignettes, episodes, slices of reality are the building blocks of memoir. Get the reader into the scene with you. What’s happening? Who’s there? What’s the interaction?
  10. Voice and Tense: Start with the personal I (1st-person narrative). Start in the past tense. You are writing about the past in the present. This is what happened then; this is what I know now. You can write in the present tense later!
  11. Purpose: What’s the purpose in writing memoir? Self-discovery, understanding another, healing a relationship, finding a broader perspective, telling a story that must be told?
  12. Have fun!

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