We start with a questionnaire. Not too long, covering mostly straightforward stuff, the 5 W’s of your life – who, what, why, where, when – and sometimes an H – how. We’ll work through family history, childhood and adolescence, education, work, marriage(s), kids, etc. We’ll also cover more subjective material – major influences both in terms of people and experiences, favorite memories, biggest surprises, most important insights, proudest moments, hardest lessons, etc. All of this is designed to give me a sense of who you are so that when we move to the next phase, we can dig right in.
In phase two, we talk – a lot. We talk until both of us are satisfied that we have everything needed to do justice to your story. We can talk in whatever way makes you most comfortable – on a walk, over lunch, on the phone, via Skype or FaceTime though initially, at least, I think face to face is best. I record our conversations and transcribe the recordings. I edit and shape the transcriptions into a draft and give it to you. You make notes and then we’ll usually talk some more because the draft will remind you of things you forgot to include or you’ll remember someone who belongs in your story or you’ll want to tell a particular story in a different way. Then I’ll do another draft that should get us to a memoir you’ll be proud to put your name on.
Some memoirs can be group efforts, meaning you’ll want me to talk to family members, friends, co-workers, professional colleagues, even rivals or adversaries if their contributions can enrich your story. It’s up to you.
We’ll also look at additional materials that could be included in the finished piece – photos, notes, scrapbooks and other kinds or memorabilia that add dimension and visual interest to your narrative.
If you want to publish your memoir either as a traditional book, e-book or both, I can help with that process. Similarly, if you want to offer your book for sale via Amazon or other vendors, I can assist with that as well.
As for a timeline, we’ll take as much time as we need to get your story right but most memoirs can be written in a few weeks or months. After all, a memoir should be shared and savored with the people you care about so my job is to help you get it finished. And as I’ve said elsewhere, I sincerely believe we’ll have fun because if the process isn’t enjoyable, what’s the point?