Memoir Writers’ Resources Series | The Memoir Project by Marion Roach Smith

Today’s post begins a series bringing you a sampling of the memoir writing resources I have uncovered as I write my memoir. I hope what I share will be helpful and perhaps help you in finding a resource that makes a difference in your journey as a memoir writer.

* * *

Early in my digging for helpful resources to begin writing my memoir, I came across something called The Memoir Project in a Google search.

I clicked on the link and began my investigation of The Memoir Project site. I discovered that the site is an aggregate of memoir writing tips and tools from the site’s owner, Marion Roach Smith. Additionally, I found that Smith is the author of a companion book by the same title, The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Standardized Text for Writing & Life.

To be honest, I always research a book I’m tempted to purchase by checking it out at my local library. And I did so with The Memoir Project. The book intrigued me enough that I bought it and keep it on my desk.

What I found as the premise for Smith’s teachings and personal beliefs about writing is best summed up in the following quotes taken from her introduction:

So let’s begin together, literally on the same page, and with a tacit agreement that from this moment on, we will write no exercises; we will write for real. With a goal.

. . .

When you write memoir, you’ll be writing what you know.

. . .

From this minute forward, your intent is to write with purpose.

A short book at 112 pages Smith provides, I believe, a good overview of writing memoir. For me both the website and book have become meaningful resources for my writing.

In addition to being an author and teacher of memoir writing, Smith also maintains a blog and provides a manuscript editing service.

I encourage you to check out The Memoir Project site and the varied resources available as well as taking a look at the book, which is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and IndieBound, or perhaps your local library shelves it.

There are many valuable resources available for memoir writers. The Memoir Project is just one. So I urge you to find resources that feel like a good fit for you. There is no one perfect resource that fits every writer.

Do you have a favorite memoir writing resource or resources?

If so, I hope you’ll share them in a comment below.

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15 thoughts on “Memoir Writers’ Resources Series | The Memoir Project by Marion Roach Smith

  1. Sherrey, thanks for calling attention to this memoir resource. I haven’t read this but you have piqued my interest. I have followed Marion via her blog and find her to be wealth of information and inspiration for memoir writers. Nice review.

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    1. Kathy, you will enjoy Marion’s book although in a comment (below) she referred to it as “irreverent.” It was a comfortable early find for me as I began to write. Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Hi, Sherrey.What an honor it is to find my irreverent little book featured here. Thank you. I am deeply moved by this.
    You have a fine title for this blog. Yes, we heal when we write, don’t we? We also learn, explore, question and more, so my advice to everyone is to write what they know and be prepared for change.
    Again, my thanks.
    Best,
    Marion

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    1. Hello Marion,
      Pleased you stopped by. I hoped you would see the Tweet announcing this series and my first post on topic. Yours was one of my first memoir writing books, and I loved the “irreverence” as you called it. What struck me most was that you didn’t expect me to fit into a particular box. I appreciate your comments and encouragement. And most of all, taking the time to comment.
      Regards,
      Sherrey

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  3. Thanks for flagging Marion’s site. Her resources do look excellent. And kudos for the plug for libraries. I’m going to suggest my library stock Marion’s book to support the memoir writing group I lead there. Shucks, maybe I’ll donate a copy.

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    1. Sharon, always appreciate your visits here. Lovely idea to have your library stock Marion’s book since your writing group meets there. And you’ve given me an idea about donating a copy to the local library in my community. I had to reach into the next county (where the big city library is!) to check out a copy before purchasing.

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  4. Sherrey, this is one of my favorite books on memoir writing, even though I completely disagree with her basic premise that all your writing should be purposeful and part of a larger, coherent whole. That may be true for someone who already writes regularly, but for beginning writers, there’s a definite purpose served by writing a variety of short pieces that don’t necessarily work together. Of course, if your goal is to publish and sell your memoir, you do eventually need to move beyond that stage.
    I always recommend The Memoir Project when someone is stuck on editing. This book provides the most useful (and amusing) insights I’ve found to help a writer eliminate the fluff and polish what’s left.

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    1. Sue, hello and welcome! I don’t agree completely with any book on writing in every theory or principle. As you say, Marion’s section on editing is one of the best I’ve come across. Thanks for coming by.

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  5. Having recently become interested in writing memoir (thanks to the encouragement of friends like you), I purchased Joy DeKok’s “Your Life, Your Legacy.” I’ve just begun reading it, but I’m finding it to be a good resource. Thank you for posting this one. I’ll check it out.
    Blessings!

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