Don’t Worry, Just Write It!


NAMW founder Linda Joy Myers has been busy posting about the memoir alternative for NaNoWriMo. In her most recent Memories & Memoirs blog post, she points out that this is National Life Writing Month. She posts four tips for writing a 50,000 word memoir draft this months in lieu of a 50,000 word novel.

Linda Joy has been extra busy. She also wrote a guest post for Nina Amir’s Write Nonfiction in November blog giving another eight tips to help you dig deeper as you write.

I suspect many writers are like me. It sounds fantastic to write an entire novel, memoir, or other nonfiction book in a single month – one of the busiest months of the year as it includes the Thanksgiving holiday and the onset of the December holiday madness. BUT … I already have three books underway, maybe four. Starting a new one seems counter-productive. So what can I do? Besides, the first week of the months is already history.

Here’s an idea: Maybe it’s cheating and maybe it isn’t. Who but me cares?

I could take the rest of the month and FINISH the memoir I started nearly two years ago. The one that’s been languishing, morphing in my mind. The one I think I know how to handle now, “when I have time to work on it again.”

Who am I fooling? When do I think I will I have time to work on it? I work on things when I decide to. When the muse whacks me hard enough to get my attention. I’m a big girl. I can make decisions. I already have about 18,000 words. That’s over 1/3. I should certainly be able to finish a draft in the remainder of the month.

I invite you to join me:


Don’t worry about word count or ethics. Don’t worry about punctuation, grammar or even structure. Don’t worry about what your clothes or hair or make-up. Just write! By hand or computer. The idea is to complete a manuscript, from beginning to end. What better way to honor the intent than to finish a work in progress?

If your enthusiasm or motivation begins to wane, think of all the writers around the country – indeed the world! – who are feeling the same challenges, and get those fingers moving again. And sign up for the FREE NAMW roundtable discussion this Thursday, November 10, with Nina Amir and Denis LeDoux to hear more tips about writing a memoir.

Write now: think about your works in progress. Do you have a book-length one you’ve been meaning to get back to? Open that file and take a look. If you have at least 12,000 words there, you can easily finish in the allotted time. I invite you to take a deep breath, spend two hours a day, and blast through to the end.

Photo credit: Julie Jordan Scott


SuziCate said...

You've given me encouragement....this means I'm about a third of the way there. I'm only barebones writing right now though; no editing, polishing, or deleting!

Sharon Lippincott said...

You go girl. One-third through in only one week? You'll have time to cook that turkey for your family and clean up the kitchen after. Brava!

linda Joy Myers said...

This is a brilliant idea, Sharon--just start where you are and write like mad getting the words out, the images, the memories. I think I'll work on that stuff I had put aside too! You inspired me:)

Sharon Lippincott said...

Good idea Linda Joy!

Linda Austin said...

I'm so bad that my goal is only to fix up a short nonfic story I wrote a few years ago. But, hey, any writing goal is good, right? My primary goal is to get the repairs and housepainting done so we have a room to have Thanksgiving dinner in. It's a mess around here.


Hi Sharon, I FOUND you. I've seen your name at the Women's Memoirs blog and happen to be surfing today and voila. Here I am. I've got you on my Reader now too. "Just write." Great advice. If only our English teachers would have told us this back when we were young, impressionable and leery of that red pen! In other words, scared of making mistakes. Now, of course, I expect to make mistakes because this is part of the process. Great post.


PS I added your "Tips" gadget to my blog! Thank you!

Sharon Lippincott said...

Grace, I love how we can all meet up various places on the net today, sort of like seeing a friend in the grocery store and then running into her at the mall a few days later. Thanks for catching up with me.

The Tips look great on your blog, which looks great even without them.


Thank you Sharon. Have a great weekend.

kathleen said...

Sharon, I can never hear this message enough to "just write"whether I ever decide to participate in NaNoWriMo or not. I'm trying to break my habit of continually self-editing while I'm writing as it really slows the creative process down. Thanks for this reminder!

Sharon Lippincott said...


You are not alone. Even Yours Truly has that problem!