Seven things I learned from writing and publishing my memoir (Part six - Write with Passion)

This week is the Queensland Writers Festival and as my tiny contribution, I am writing a post a day in a series called seven things I learned from writing and publishing my memoir. This is part six.

6. Write with Passion 

I once read that the first thing a publisher notices about any book is whether the author is passionate about their writing or not. It shows through in each sentence and helps the words come alive.

I think readers can tell too. If you don’t love what you write, why would a reader love it?

Here are some ideas for putting more passion into your writing.

1. Write about something you are passionate about.

You may have heard that you should write about what you know (and if you are writing a memoir about yourself I should hope you do know your subject) but just as importantly you should write something you are passionate about.

Your life could be really interesting but only if you are interested in it. If you write about something you think readers will be interested in but that bores you then it probably won’t work. 

Look for the interesting details in your life; the colour, the sparkle, the hopes, the disappointments, the hard times, and the good. What makes you happy, or miserable, or even angry? 

2. Only write when you are feeling inspired.

Sometimes I will sit at my computer and write until I feel inspired, but some days it doesn’t work. Sometimes I spend hours editing a piece only to find that the first version had more energy and was more readable because it was written when I was more excited about the story.

If the words are not coming, take a break, go for a walk, clear your head, and start again. When I am feeling inspired I can write all day and I enjoy what I write. When I am not feeling inspired for any reason then I will have to do something else like formatting my book or working on marketing.

3. Live a life worth writing about

This one is kind of obvious: Live life with passion. Even writers need to get out and see the world, especially if you want to write a follow up.

A good memoir has stories in it that are, well … memorable. Your life may have been miserable, or outstanding; full of chaos, or full of happy surprises. Focus on the stories that will surprise and write about them with passion. Explain each story in enough detail that your reader can picture it in their mind. Give the reader the full experience by adding enough detail and description; enough colour, texture, and sound. Make it come alive.

Then make sure you continue to live a passionate life. One that inspires you so you can write with passion about yourself.

For my next adventure I am planning a sailing trip around the Pacific. Now that it something I am passionate about.

Tomorrows Blog: Editing your Work

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