If you’re writing a memoir, and you don’t “have time to write,” there’s always the audio-tape method. This biography writing trick is far more effective than most people think. Best of all, this method gives you permission to do two things: one, talk your book instead of write it and two, tell it out of order. All you have to do is get one of those little digital recorders and keep it handy. Any time a scene for your book pops into your head, talk about it into your recorder. No, silly, that’s not all you do, but it’s a start.
When Biography Writing Means Staring at a Blank Page
Most would-be writers are held back by that most evil of all evils: the blank page. Staring at its whiteness could make the strongest writer blanche! So, do this instead of actual biography writing: audio record your scene-by-scene ideas. Then, either you can get some transcription software and transcribe the recordings yourself, or, if you can afford it, hire someone to transcribe your ramblings for you. It doesn’t matter if your ramblings are idiotic. The object of the game is not to be wise but to get past that blank-page stage.
Now, you have something on paper and that something is relevant to your book. This particularly works when biography writing because, of course, you already know the story–whether it’s a meaningful memoir with social commentary or a fun laugh-riot, this technique works the same for both. With memoir, pieces of the story tend to come to the writer here and there as she remembers them, so take them down in that way. Don’t force yourself to be sequential as you write. That’s just a lot of torture for nothing. Use your audio recorder and get the scenes of the story down in any order at all.
You’ll find that when you’re staring at a page of badly written (because it was recorded off the top of your head) prose, this is a lot better than staring at a blank page of nothingness. Now, you don’t have to do any biography writing. All you have to do is edit your initial attempt, adding detail after detail until you get the scene right. You’re no longer alone in the wild west of your writing life, you’re in a container now, with limits and edges that give you guidelines. Later, link these scenes together and you’re on your way to a great memoir or biography.