July 19, 2011

Editor Quote to Consider

W.H. Auden said, "A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language." I believe this to be true of all writers. Do you agree? Tell us why or why not here.

Looking forward to reading all of your feedback.


July 12, 2011

Editor Tip: Stop Making Excuses—Write Now

I am in awe of how many people believe that in order to write a memoir you must be a celebrity, elderly, or on your deathbed. While having a huge following (as celebrities do) will help you get published, it's not necessary. As for being elderly or on your deathbed, where would we be without such great memoirists as David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day), Annie Dillard (An American Childhood), Steve Martin (Born Standing Up), and Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle)?

Just Write
Don't create excuses for yourself. Memoir binds people together; it is the day to day, the conversations at bus stops, a missed exit on a train ride, a stranger at the supermarket, an eccentric family or friend that create great works. Don't think you need to climb Mount Everest or win an Oscar to write about your life; there is value in your story, so write itand then sharewith your parent(s), child(ren), friends, family, Memoirs Ink, and the world.

Looking forward to reading your stories.


July 5, 2011

6 Simple Editor Tips on How to Win the Writing Contest

As Memoirs Ink's Senior Editor, I have seen the writing contests (half-yearly and annual) from start to finish for nearly 3 years. As a result, I have compiled a list of friendly tips to help you make sure that your essay lands in the coveted "yes" pile.

I hope these tips will also help you to stand out as a writer, not just for our contest, but beyond.

#1 Stay Focused
As these are short essays, stay focused. Avoid rambling. Your essay should read like a mini-memoir, not a journal. The reader should know what your essay is about after the first two paragraphs. If you start to stray away from the topic you initially introduced, go back and remind yourself that you need to stay focused. Also, you must proofread your work thoroughly. The piece you submit should be your final draftdo not submit a piece that you have not proofread. This may seem trivial, but spelling errors/typos will land your essay in the "no" pile. Proofread until you are certain there are no mistakesand then have someone else read your work: Enter tip #2.

#2 Two Pairs of Eyes Are Better Than One

Have a friend, fellow writer, trusted companion, teacher, professor, neighbor, or other willing person(s) to review your work. Something that makes sense to you, especially in memoir, may need a sentence or two of clarification for an outside party (your reader(s)). Have someone read your work before you submit your piece to the contest. Don't have someone to help you edit your piece? Don't worry. Memoirs Ink offers feedback for writers after the contest; submit your piece along with a check for feedback and one of our judges will provide you with feedback on how to strengthen your writing skills and make your piece stand out amongst the pile. This may not help you win the contest you initially enter, but you can revise and re-enter your essay for another contest. I strongly recommend doing so.

#3 Review the Guidelines

This is a note on format: Your essay must be typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt. font. Single-spaced essays strain your readers' eyes, and after reading hundreds of entries, judges are less likely to read your essay all the way throughdo yourself a favor and play by the rules for all the writing contests you enter. Also, you must start your essay halfway down the first pagedo not start your text at the top of the page. Your essay must be previously unpublished. Follow the rest of the guidelines here: http://www.memoirsink.com/writingcontestguidelines/

#4 Read, Read, Read

In order to publish the next great memoir, novel, etc. you must read the greatest memoirs, novels, essays, etc. Before you write, read a vast array of literature and familiarize yourself with all the greatest writers. And then read the not-so-great works and learn from their mistakes.

#5 Use Your Senses

Fill your work with imagery by using your senses. Make sure your reader can see, feel, hear, smell, and taste everything that you are describing. By using your senses, you will show, not tell, which is important in all writing.

#6 Have Fun with Your Work

If you don't want to write your essay, chances are people will be less likely to enjoy reading your work. Nothing is greater than a writer who is itching to share his/her story with the world. Be that writer. Find the joy in your work and others will too.

I have been honored to read the essays for our contests, and look forward to sharing in your writing journey. I hope these tips will encourage and inspire the writer in you. Best of Luck writers!


*For more tips from the editor, notes from the president, and inspirational quotes to keep you writing, follow us on Twitter: @memoirsink and friend us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Memoirs-Ink/25070364520