All posts tagged: Memoir

The First Draft: Lessons learned (1)

Initial drafts are an adventure. That first gesture of catching an idea and wrapping it in language is awe inspiring. Mystery draws us forward: Why do I tremble at this memory? What will this character say next? What do I really think about this subject? Writers bring to the blank page an idea—some motivating spark—but we don’t know its form, we don’t know half the content, we often don’t know the real reason we’re writing. We certainly don’t yet know which exact sentences will emerge. We come with an agenda but also, ideally, an open heart and a willingness to be surprised. Elizabeth Jarret Andrew in Living Revision: A Writer’s Craft as Spiritual Practice Before I plunge head-on to the revision stage,  I thought it would be good to look back and harvest the lessons I learned from creating the first draft. Indeed it was an adventure and just like all adventures, there was a whole range of emotions that came up: In the beginning it was exciting; but a few months into the process, it …

Revising the First Draft

    At its most basic, revision is seeing anew. Revision is the complicated, profound work of creation— an act that simultaneously creates within and through the creator. Revision changes the writer, deepens the writer’s work, and infuses that work with the potential to move readers. Revision addresses our innermost longings. At its core, revision is the spiritual practice of transformation— of seeing text, and therefore the world, with new eyes. Done well, revision returns us to our original love. – Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew   I  had been silent for a while…again. And again, work on the memoir had been shelved for an equally long time. Finishing the first draft felt like running a marathon for the first time: physical exhaustion combined with the exhilaration of finishing a daunting task. I thought that revising the first draft would be easier.  Then I realized I didn’t know how to go about it. I had of course rewritten many pieces of writing through the decades, but they were all short and small pieces compared to the first …

From First Draft to Second Draft – and the huge gap in between

“Writing is not measured in page counts, I now believe, any more than a writer is defined by publication credits. To be a writer is to make a commitment to the long haul, as one does (especially as one gets older) to keeping fit and healthy for as long a run as possible.”   – Bill Hayes   Once again,  I’m back after a lengthy absence. I don’t know if this is what normally happens to someone who tries to write a memoir, but somehow it happened to me: after resurrecting with one blog post, the blogging life again took a back seat to the point that I forgot all about it. As for the memoir, after finishing the first draft and reconnecting the dots in my life that were erased over the years, I could not find any reason why I should write a second draft. Writing the first draft was fun and meaningful but it was also stressful. It was fun because of the wonderful memories that  bubbled out of my psyche.  It was …

The First Draft: fodder for the writing process

“Make writing your practice. If you commit to it, writing will take you as deep as Zen.” Katagiri Roshi   It’s been a very long while – several months- since my last blog post. Although I had not blogged, I had been actively creating word art and exploring many writing avenues.  Writing the first draft of my memoir was a very therapeutic and eye-opening experience. As I mentioned in a previous post, memoir writing was like an exercise in connecting the dots that were my life experiences. It was at the same time therapeutic and draining, because the energy that came along with the memories demanded to be written, no matter if the body was tired from the day’s work.  Connecting the dots of my life also showed me that there were a few missing dots-those pursuits and interests that I had put aside to give way to a life dedicated to helping others heal themselves. So after the first draft was written, I felt it was time to give the memoir a vacation and …