• Memoirs

    How Do I Write My Memoirs?

      Are you stuck trying to write your life story? By the time we become seniors, most of us have come to the realization that we’ve left it too late. We think we’d like to write our memoirs, but we never got around to asking our parents the important questions: How did they meet? Who was their first love? How did they become the people they ended up being?   How Did I Get Here? Then there are the questions about our own history: What was I like as a toddler? Who was my best friend in kindergarten? Where did my first pet come from? What was my first word,…

  • Thoughts, Opinions and Philosophical Discussions,  Writers and Writing

    Declutter your Memoir

    Recently, I had to mop up a flood in my basement, which forced me to move a lot of stuff I’d been storing, keeping and generally shoving out of sight and out of mind, some of it for decades.     You know the kind of thing…”Oh, that’s useful.  I’ll keep it until the other one, the one I’m using right now, breaks or wears out or runs out of power/ink/paper” (or whatever is necessary to keep it running).     Or, “That belonged to my grandparents.  It’s worth something.  Maybe Antiques Roadshow will pay me a lot of money for it.”     Or, “I just can’t throw out…

  • Dialogue,  Point of View and Character Development

    The Song of the Spoken Word

    Music surrounds us.  Throughout human history, it has played a big part in our communications.  But only in the past 100 years has it been available to everyone all the time.  Before this, only a few very wealthy patrons could enjoy music in their homes, and only if they knew how to perform, play an instrument or hire someone to play for them.     Every religion has used music to praise a variety of gods, (entertainment being a large part of their attraction for the general populace), and indigenous peoples have all had their own styles of music, often used to communicate over long distances, to appease the spirits and to ward off…

  • Creative Writing,  Productivity,  Structure and Plotting,  Theme, Purpose and Outcome,  Training, Lessons

    How to Focus your Blog Post

    Start with the End in Mind   Recently, a reader asked me, “How do you write a story with the end in mind?  How do you know what the end is before it’s written?”   He was responding to a blog post in which I wrote about using constraints to spark creativity. One of the points I made was:    “Writing with the end in mind applies especially to writing memoirs.  When you first apply a life lesson, a theme, a psychological or theoretical point to the memoir as its raison d’être, you don’t need to think about everything that doesn’t fit the point.     “But if you don’t…

  • Creative Writing,  Organization and Research,  Productivity,  Prompts,  Structure and Plotting,  Theme, Purpose and Outcome

    Less Is More

    This morning, I went into my writing group completely unprepared to write.  I had to show up at 11:00 a.m. and I’d been doing something else when the timer startled me with its petulant beeping, reminding me to get online immediately, if not sooner!     Now, most times, when I go into the group, I know what I’m going to write — at least I have some idea or framework for the words I’ll be putting down — but for some reason, this morning I had completely forgotten that I had to write this blog post, so when one of my writer friends asked me what I’d be working…

  • Humour,  Thoughts, Opinions and Philosophical Discussions

    I’m Old, Dammit! Not Dead!

    A few months ago, I received an email from a subscriber and it got me thinking…   This lovely lady said something that’s been tickling away at the back of my mind for some time, and I thought I’d take this opportunity to explore it a bit.  Here’s what she said:   “Beverley, I love your website. It feels warm and soothing, like slipping into a warm bath. Ahhhhhhh… “It’s so nice to feel appreciated as a senior. As I scrolled through your blog posts I said to myself, ‘when seniors feel isolated, this is a good place to visit because it honors our life experience.'”   “Honours our life…

  • Creative Writing,  Uncategorized

    Ground your Reader with Sensory Description

    We all know that it’s important to immerse our readers in our story in order that they experience it fully, but how do we do that?   “Show, Don’t Tell” is a truism that writers cannot avoid.  We hear it everywhere, but what does it mean; how does it work?  Engage your reader, say all the great writers; readers must lose themselves in the story.  But how can we do this as writers ourselves when we don’t know how our favourite authors have done it for us as readers?   One way, (though not the only way) is through clear sensory description. If we remember that a story should always…

  • Creativity,  Productivity,  Thoughts, Opinions and Philosophical Discussions,  Training, Lessons,  Writers and Writing

    Are you a terrible writer?

    Have you ever suddenly decided halfway through a writing project that it’s all crap?  That everything you’ve done up to this point is garbage and you’ll never be a “real” writer?     Do you habitually reach a point in your drafts when you convince yourself that it’s not good enough, it’ll never be good enough, and you should throw it out and start over, but you desperately try to stick with it, even though you have an overpowering urge to delete your work and start again with a different style or P.o.V. or…anything?   Welcome to the world of the frustrated writer.   Anyone who’s any good at all…

  • Thoughts, Opinions and Philosophical Discussions

    Appreciation and the Joy of Covid

    When things go right, feeling and showing appreciation — that’s easy.   But when things go wrong — not so much.   Road Trip   The weekend before last, I took my first trip out of my small home town since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020.   It was downright scary, leaving the nest.  Over the past year and a half, the only places I’ve been were my home, the grocery store, the drug store and the dog park, oh, and twice to the vaccination clinic.   Advantages of Lockdown   While it’s been difficult, not seeing people for days on end, I appreciate the time…

  • Creative Writing,  Productivity,  Writers and Writing

    The Evils of Comparison

    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ― Oscar Wilde  The saints are the sinners who keep on trying. — Robert Louis Stevenson   Do you think you’re a crappy writer? Why do you think that? Did someone tell you that your writing sucks? Where did this belief originate?     Whose voice do you hear in your head? Was it a teacher in the third grade or the fifth or the tenth, telling you that you’re not good enough to be a writer?   I call bullshit! You’re not being fair to yourself — You’d never ask a child to paint like Rembrandt, dance like Nureyev, or sing like Pavarotti,…

  • Creative Writing,  Organization and Research,  Point of View and Character Development,  Productivity,  Prompts,  Theme, Purpose and Outcome,  Thoughts, Opinions and Philosophical Discussions,  Training, Lessons

    Questions and Answers

    How NOT To Write Your Memoir Most people, when they start to write their memoirs, think they have to stick strictly to the facts, that their story has to be a list of the things they did, in the order that they did them.     This simply isn’t true.  It leads to the belief that they have to write their entire history — an autobiography, which, for most people is messy, disconnected and hard to follow.   This means that they end up with a list of dry, dull facts, like some kind of desiccated checklist that may reflect the events of their lives, but doesn’t say much about…