3 Things That Changed My Writing Forever

Originally published on Substack. Follow me there!

I actually started writing my memoir back in 2017. In a Google doc, I wrote about moments in my life that were funny, dramatic, and meaningful. I included the “ahas” and events that slowly changed the way I thought about myself and the world around me. 

I wrote and wrote, but I thought, this sucks. No one will want to read this. But I didn’t know what exactly sucked. 

Up until that point, I read enough memoirs from amazing authors to know my draft did not sound like theirs. I wondered how to craft scenes and chapters like some of my all-time favorites—The Invisible Thread, Tuesdays With Morrie, or I Am Brian Wilson (I love the Beach Boys). 

For one, it lacked dialogue. So I wrote in dialogue. It still sucked. Feeling overwhelmed, I told myself I’d figure it out later. Like a lot of people who start writing a book, I forgot about it. 

Cut to 2022. It’s the second time I’m writing my memoir, but unlike the first time, I vowed to get answers for how to write interesting scenes that grab the reader and how to structure my book. 

I didn’t bother looking at the sucky first draft but wanted to know what I was doing wrong. I knew I had to expand my understanding of structure through writing classes. The online classes I took helped me with structure—which chapters should go where and why. The weekly writing group exposed me to unique voices from all walks of life and showed me how other writers create structure. 

In today’s blog, I’ll explain the three specific things I learned that changed my writing for the better.