Don't Write Your MEmoir Without ME!

A motivational workbook/guide for memoir writers

Non-Fiction - Writing/Publishing
181 Pages
Reviewed on 02/04/2017
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

What is a memoir? Viga Boland puts it quite simply: it’s “a selfie in words.” In this high tech decade of selfie this and selfie that, a popular social media glitch in our society, there isn’t a better way to describe the iconic reality of what a memoir entails. It is, in effect, a story about ME; hence MEmoir; hence Viga Boland’s inspirational and motivational approach in her guide to memoir writing, Don't Write Your MEmoir Without ME!

Memoir author, public speaker, and inspirational memoir mentor, Viga Boland has always felt a powerful bond with the written word. “Words,” she writes, “can build us up or tear us down in seconds. Whichever way they are used, there are lifelong ramifications for all who read or hear them.” Powerful thoughts put into powerful words. So if words have that much power, why put them into the written form? To make our lives, our life stories, to make everything about life count for now and for generations into the future. That’s why memoirs are important. Memoirs teach, they reflect, they inspire, and they motivate. And, as this award winning memoir author points out, “The more personal the memoir, the more universal it is.”

This is a self-help book in many ways. It leads the would-be memoir writer through the process as well as the pros and cons of writing a memoir. It instills in the receptive mind, the importance of ME. After all, what would a MEmoir be without the ME? Viga shares her own insights in a conversational approach, logically presented, and with a dash of humor and reality to entertain. She includes quotes from other authors and memoir writers, as well as an appendix full of memoir examples and reviews she has written about other worthy memoir writing guidebooks. This is not your typical instructional manual. As in her memoirs, and as she frequently insists is a necessary ingredient for all good memoirs, this book both educates and entertains. Well done! As a memoir writer and memoir mentor myself, this book will certainly be referenced many times in the years to come. Thanks for sharing.

Vernita Naylor

Everyone has a story to tell. What does your story say? Do you need help in getting started? Don't Write Your MEmoir Without ME!: A Motivational Workbook/Guide For Memoir Writers by Viga Boland is available to rescue you. Don't Write Your MEmoir Without ME! is humorous, but is chock-full of essential information to help you to better understand how to manage and develop the outcome of your story. As Viga Boland states, you should begin with the essence of ME. Not the ME who is providing this review, but the ME who is you. Sounds confusing? Well, think about it like this; the ME in you is the catalyst to begin writing the MEmoir that others are waiting to hear about. Your MEmoir is the way that others will begin their connection with you through your story. Viga Boland has authored four memoirs with the same passion of abandonment as is displayed and mentioned in Don't Write Your MEmoir Without ME!

I was able to learn a lot by reading Don't Write Your MEmoir Without ME! As I navigated through each chapter, I couldn't stop laughing. I realized that, as Viga Boland stated, writing with abandonment allows a free flowing fashion to writing that allows you to not only be able to create a great body of work, but it minimizes writer's block. After you have completed the essence of your story then you can go back, massage it and perfect it to your liking. At the end of Don't Write Your MEmoir Without ME!, you will see a list of recommended readings that can be helpful in creating your own MEmoir. We're waiting to hear from you, so go get your copy of Don't Write Your MEmoir Without ME!: A Motivational Workbook/Guide For Memoir Writers today.

Jack Magnus

Don't Write Your MEmoir Without ME! is a non-fiction writing skills guide by Viga Boland. Boland is a retired high school English teacher and the author of four memoirs. She has also conducted memoir writing workshops and maintains an online group called Memoirabilia. Boland puts it bluntly when she describes a memoir as a 'Selfie in Words.' Memoirs can be both painful and liberating, and it’s recommended that one discuss the decision to air painful or traumatic family memories with other affected persons before your memoir appears in print. But how to start that long-pondered opus and how to make it one of those special, unforgettable books? Boland has read dozens of memoirs and has some insights on what makes the really good ones stand out -- including how to make sure that ME, the writer’s genuine self, ends up in that memoir. Throughout Don’t Write Your MEmoir Without ME!, she instructs readers on how to write with abandonment, and she shows how this and other techniques can result in fresh, compelling memoirs that grab their audiences. She includes inspirational quotes from established authors, including Stephen King and Elmore Leonard, and advises aspiring memoirists on how to quiet the inner critic, at least for the duration of the writing project. She also includes a collection of excerpts and writing contributions from her Memoirabilia group members.

I've long been a ardent fan of writing with abandonment, ever since I read Peter Elbow's classic book, Writing With Power. While he, and I, have thought of the process as free writing, I immediately appreciated the gist of Viga Boland's advice in her writing skills guide, Don't Write Your MEmoir Without ME! Boland is an inspired and enthusiastic writing instructor whose advice is invaluable for any writer, whether of fiction or memoir. Her workbook exercises are fun and serve as useful tools for understanding the material covered in each chapter, and her discussions about memoirs and the benefits to be gained for both the author and his/her audience are thought-provoking and worth considering. Boland's writing is conversational in style, making reading her book feel as though the reader is attending one of her workshops and benefiting from her up-close and personal delivery. I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to write a book, whether fiction or memoir. It's packed with inspiring ideas for memoirists and common sense tools for getting those thoughts, memories and highlights of life into a coherent and compelling memoir, which is, after all, what it's all about. Don't Write Your MEmoir Without ME! is most highly recommended.

Barbara Fanson

Don’t Write Your MEmoir Without ME is a motivational book about writing down your memories. But, it’s not a boring, how-to-write book — it’s a humorous, inspiring book that stresses letting your story flow without worrying about punctuation and quotation marks. It’s also a workbook that encourages readers to jot down their stories, though I have to admit, I didn’t do the writing exercises. I didn’t want to stop reading! The author defines and describes the differences between a memoir, an autobiography, and a biography. Readers are encouraged to write with abandonment; just write it down and edit later.

“You must read dialogue out loud,” is one of the tips shared by author Viga Boland. She quotes several books and gives examples of dialogue, organizing memories, and tricks for recalling events that may have occurred forty years ago. The book suggests some websites to recall events that happened in a particular year, such as 1999, and how they affected you. Were you affected by the SARS outbreak in 2003 or the 9/11 terrorists attacks in 2001? How did it make you feel? She points out that adding major events can make your memoir relevant to readers, but to avoid quoting too much recorded data.

If you want to write memoirs, then read memoirs, author Viga Boland explains, so she included several examples of humorous short stories in the back of the book, which are excellent examples of memoir writing.
If you can read only one memoir-writing book this year, buy Don’t Write Your MEmoir Without ME and you’ll be recording your own collection of stories in no time!

Mamta Madhavan

Don't Write Your MEmoir Without ME! by Viga Boland is an encouraging and motivational book with excellent techniques and tips to all those who want to write a memoir and do not know how to go about it. The book guides readers to write in the best way possible so that they end up with a memoir that everyone wants to read. It gives them the confidence to organize their memories and, instead of worrying about how to do it, just start writing. Readers who want to write their memoirs will find themselves writing non-stop, freely, organically, and with complete abandonment once they finish reading this book.

Where and how to start writing a memoir is discussed extensively. The suggestions are easy to apply and the author’s personal experiences connect her well with readers. The book also mentions the pros and cons of writing a memoir, and speaks about how to put the ME into the memoir. The exercises in the book are helpful in getting the voice of the writer onto paper and how to make it personal so that the book is universal. The author has also included quotes from other writers, and her conversational approach and authoritative voice make it a good read. The book is worth having in one’s personal collection as it can be used for reference. The tips from this book can be shared at writing workshops to improve, learn techniques to sustain writing, become motivated, and start writing again.