7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing
Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!
1-Why do you have such a passion for the topic of memoir writing?
My husband and I were touring Pearl Harbor a few years ago, and it was like a lightning bolt struck me in the head. I remembered that my own dad was at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 during the bombing and had survived. I tried to recall anything that he had ever told me about that day, but there were no details that came to mind. It was too late to ask him, as he had passed away about five years before my Hawaiian visit.
I was so upset with myself for never having taken the time and effort to obtain his stories while it was possible. It ignited a fire in my heart to inspire others to preserve their stories and to capture the memories of their loved ones before it is too late.
2-How did you prepare for teaching memoir writing? Did you have a background in teaching or writing?
I had always enjoyed writing for family and friends, and I had written my first novel, Eyelash. My education was actually in accounting, paralegal studies and employee benefits. I researched memoirs and personal history and found Denis Ledoux at what is now known as the Memoir Network (http://www.thememoirnetwork.com) in Maine. Although I was already over-committed between work, family and volunteer work, I couldn’t wait to begin this program to certify as a lifewriting instructor.
The program involved tele-conference classes with other students from all over the country plus a five day intensive writing class at his Maine location. Mr. Ledoux has been teaching memoir writing since 1988, so he really knows what works and what doesn’t. This was an excellent training program and a great experience. His book, Turning Memories Into Memoirs, is a valuable resource.
3-How did you actually get started teaching workshops?
Just about the time I finished the certification program, my husband and I relocated from the Albany, New York area to Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, where we knew exactly two people in the entire area.
Once again, I spent a great deal of time researching potential opportunities and found the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Coastal Carolina University. I met with Linda Ketron, Director, and proposed a workshop series for the following semester. She was extremely receptive and enthusiastic.
I incorporated the basics that I had learned from Denis LeDoux, continued to conduct extensive research on the subject and formulated my own workshop series that would be exactly what people would need to jump-start their memoir projects. I teach through OLLI at CCU as well as independently.
4-What prompted you to write a book about capturing memories?
Through teaching workshops, I could see a need to present the topic in an uncomplicated manner for senior citizens. I felt that the important goal is to simplify the process into easy steps for people to realize that preserving their stories does not have to be overwhelming. Using the step-by-step method in my book might not produce a Pulitzer Prize winning story, but it will get significant life stories and some family history into the hands of loved ones, and that is my primary goal and passion.
5-What is next on your agenda now that 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing is finished and out there for everyone to read?
I only hope that marketing the book will help raise awareness about the importance of preserving our stories to pass along to future generations. It is the only way they will know what we’d really like for them to know about our history.
Since publishing 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing, I also wrote and published my second inspirational novel, Never Say Perfect. Then along came a travel memoir about an unexpected trip to Italy entitled From Italy with Love & Limoncello. Additionally, I was helping people write their pet stories and produced Write Your Pet’s Life Story in 7 Easy Steps to enable pet owners to capture those special stories at their leisure. I am currently working on the sequel to Never Say Perfect, and its title is Never Say Hopeless. I call myself a genre-hopper since I dash back and forth between fiction and nonfiction projects. I could work at my computer 24/7, but I have to remind myself to take a break sometimes!
6-How will 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing benefit the reader?
This book is a compact publication containing a powerful message and tool kit. Following the seven steps will guide the reader on a successful journey of memoir writing. It offers additional tips and hints that help to alleviate the overwhelmed feeling inherent in tackling a memoir project. It provides a comprehensive list of questions for interviewing relatives or for formulating your own story, a list of additional resources and select sample stories by my amazing memoir writing workshop students.
The reader will discover that preserving our stories, before they are no longer obtainable, can actually be an enjoyable experience! Children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and future generations will be thankful to have in their possession the stories that we choose to write today! It is the only way they will really know who we were and how we lived.
7-How do I buy 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing?
It is available online at Amazon, Nook & Kindle. Visit www.awriterspresence.com for direct links to online purchase sites.
8-How can you be contacted?
Web site: www.awriterspresence.com
Writing Blog: www.maryannebenedetto.blogspot.com
Book Blog: www.abookfeast4u.blogspot.com
Travel blog: www.4womenwholove2travel.blogspot.com
Telephone: (843) 215-4676
Mary Anne Benedetto is a speaker, blogger, Certified Lifewriting Instructor, ghostwriter and author of Eyelash, Never Say Perfect, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time! , From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet’s Life Story in 7 Easy Steps! Her passions include helping people capture and preserve their memoirs, writing fiction, golf, family, world travel and walking the spectacular South Carolina beaches.