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What's Your Story? The joys and importance of memoir writing

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When teaching memoir writing, I challenge students to write without inhibition. The first draft is free-writing in response to a prompt. Writers shouldn’t worry about offending anybody or using proper grammar—those types of considerations are for the rewriting stages. The goal is merely to unblock and write the memory down. This can be intimidating to someone not in the habit of writing, who struggles with literacy, or who is insecure about whether their stories matter (they do).

Sometimes writers reveal private or unflattering things so I leave it up to them whether they want to read aloud or show their work to anyone. That’s why I was so delighted when I visited the OPtions Program at Saint Mary’s University this week.

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