Tag Archives: Memoir Ghostwriter

What Does the World Need Now? When You Write Your Life Story, Tell Us What You Believe

Do you remember that 1960s song “What the World Needs Now Is Love?” Written by Hal David, that song was performed live by more than 100 artists, with one of those melodies that tend to go round and round in your mind. I like the question “what the world needs now” so much that I frequently guide my students in responding to it during our “Writing Your Life Story” classes. If you’re writing your memoir or autobiography, try it for yourself right now.

Write down in your journal or on your computer screen the words “What the world needs now is…” and spend 10 minutes writing whatever comes to mind next. Naturally that song will pop up in your radar, and if you want to incorporate some of the message from those lyrics because it fits for you, by all means do so. You may find something personally meaningful to explore about how and why the world, and everyone it, does indeed need more love. At the same time, I encourage you to circle around to your own answer or answers to that question, no matter how different or unusual they may sound to you. After all, this is YOUR life story and those family, friends, and others who will read it really want to know what you think and feel about life around you and how it can be enhanced.

In my role as memoir and autobiography ghostwriter, I often find that my clients have not given much consideration to passing along these kinds of opinions and desires. They are busy trying to recall all the memorable and engaging stories they want to include, and they’re often wrapped up with remembering who did what when. When I suggest that they also spend a few minutes speaking to readers about their wishes for their loved ones, and a greater circle beyond them, they are initially surprised. They may briefly hesitate, not wanting to sound too “full of themselves” or to pontificate.

Then they sink into the question and recognize that they absolutely do have values, hopes, ideas, advice, and opinions that they would like to share. And that’s when the heartfelt expressions come pouring out. Their answers to “what the world needs now” are not only lively and timely, they also come wrapped in surprises for those who thought they knew the subject of this memoir or autobiography but didn’t know this side of that person they care about. They also may be touched by the expression as they find it hits home for them and what they need, or what they wish for others.

It doesn’t matter how long you have lived, or where your life has taken you. You’ve had experiences. You’ve seen the world in its beauty and in its struggles. You’ve got something to say in response to this question, and your readers want to hear it because they want to connect with you, to know you better, to hold a bigger picture of who you are. It’s another opportunity for you as the writer of your life story to inform, educate, inspire, entertain, or just reach us by what you share in your memoir or autobiography. Speaking to what the world needs now is a dynamic way for you to share your values and beliefs, your lessons learned, your insights into what you see around you.

So keep writing in response to that spark “what the world needs now…” Follow the trail wherever it may lead. After offering your ideas or opinions, you may find yourself launching into a story that illustrates your point. Tell us that story. Oh, and if you are tempted to plug your words into the melody of that popular song, or if you find yourself creating a new melody of your own, feel free to start singing!

– Memoir and autobiography ghostwriter Kevin Quirk, author of “Your Life Is a Book And It’s Time To Write It,” has been helping ordinary people tell the most meaningful stories of their lives for more than 15 years.

The Memoir "Finding Jill" Will Make Your Jaw Drop and Your Heart Open to Possibilities of Healing After A Devastating Loss

Imagine the unimaginable. You are living a great adventure in the beautiful country of Italy with your husband and two young children. Your mother, sister and niece fly out for an extended visit, and you excitedly map out the grand tour, showing them exotic and historic places and eating delicious Italian food. And then as you’re driving from Venice to Florence, a semi crosses the median and strikes your minivan head-on…and when you wake up in the hospital, barely alive, you are told that the five people you loved most are gone.

That’s what happened to Jill Kraft Thompson ten years ago in Italy. At first, she didn’t see any possible way that she could live without her husband, her two “angels” that were her sons, her mother and her niece. Once she even attempted suicide so she could go be with her loved ones in heaven. Then, aided by an Italian Sister, a grief specialist counselor, devoted friends and family, and her own deep soul-searching, she found her will to live. She discovered that while she will never forget her loved ones who have passed on, she could renew her faith and find room in her heart to live, and even to love again. “Finding Jill” is the memoir that tells her story:

http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Jill-Rebuilt-Losing-People/dp/1479156175

Jill recently hosted a book launch and signing and was interviewed by a Boise TV station. She shares how she keeps a vital presence of her love for those who have passed away. Remarried with a 4-year-old son today, her wedding ring has the birthstones of her husband and two sons who died ten years ago:

http://www.kivitv.com/news/local/172552281.html

If you or anyone you know has suffered an unbearable loss and seeks encouragement and support from someone who has been there, this book can help. If you are writing your own life story, and it happens to include how you faced the challenge of going on when the storm clouds from a major loss or life challenge were darkest, this book will offer you ideas on how to give voice to the pain…and the joy.

Jill Kraft Thompson of Boise, Idaho has courageously written an account of her dramatic experience in an honest, heart-felt, and real way. She knows the grief recovery journey and is dedicated to helping others navigate their own. If you’re ready to have your own heart opened, you are invited to share her journey.

– Kevin Quirk, author of “Your Life Is a Book And It’s Time To Write It,” is a memoir and autobiography ghostwriter, as well as a book coach and teacher of Writing Your Life Story classes in Charlottesville, Virginia.

 

"I'm gonna make you work on Labor Day!" Bruce Springsteen announced to us in Philadelphia

I just got back from spending Labor Day with Bruce Springsteen. Well, we had company, of course: the E Street Band and several thousand women and men attending his concert at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park. He was serious about that announcement. When you see Bruce Springsteen live, he expects you to at least try to work as hard as he does in responding to his passionate, intense music and the powerful emotions behind it, and even on this steamy, humid holiday night, he expected us to engage with him in the raw experience of his performance.

As I did my best to keep up with the hollering and singing along, I came to see there was more he was inviting us to do. He was engaging us on a mini-exploration of thoughts and songs about what it means to seek, to find, to do, and to maintain work that has meaning, purpose, and integrity. Work, as Springsteen sings in one of his latest songs, to set our hands and our souls free. He also gives voice to the struggles and the suffering we may endure when that purposeful work that sustains us is taken away or is somehow unattainable, or is not taking us where we want to go.

I won’t pretend to review the concert, and I’m not seeking to send any political message about these ideas about work in our lives. But speaking from my own experience, I was struck by the example Bruce offers as one person who long ago discovered work that stirred his heart and gave him purpose, and he stuck with it for many years when it just wasn’t setting his soul free – or paying the bills. But he kept working and working and working and…some 40 years of astounding success and popularity later, he’s still out there sweatin’ and struttin’ for 3 1/2 hours on Labor Day – and much of the whole work calendar. What really impresses me is that he always seems legitimately thankful to have found this work and that he still has the opportunity in his early 60s to do it.

I’m not quite up there in Bruce’s years though I’m getting pretty darn close, and I hope that I can still maintain that passion and commitment about the work that I do for many, many years to come. Helping people tell the most important stories of their lives as a ghostwriter for autobiographies and memoirs, as well as teaching Writing Your Life Story classes, has provided me mounds of joy and satisfaction since I steered my work path this way. I am appreciative to have the opportunity to serve ordinary men and women in bringing their life stories to light. I relish the moments when they hold in their hands a book that gives voice to their life story. It doesn’t matter a bit if the stage they have walked upon in life has been shared by only a handful of others, instead of Springsteen’s crowds of 25,000 or 50,000.  They have made a statement: I stood on this earth and my life mattered.

Often, the work they have done is a significant part of their life story. I see their unique sense of purpose and integrity that shaped and energized their work for years, or decades, or an entire adult life span. And as I reflect upon this Labor Day moment, I tip my hat to people that I have met through my own endeavors, and I salute their work.

– Kevin Quirk helps people tell their life stories as a memoir and autobiography ghostwriter and life-writing book coach. He is the author of “Your Life Is a Book and It’s Time To Write It!”

Use "Bifocal Vision" When Writing about a Dramatic Life Experience, Advises Autobiography Ghostwriter Kevin Quirk

As a ghostwriter and book writing coach for autobiographies and memoirs, I work with many clients who seek to capture a dramatic life experience. It may be dealing with the sudden loss of a loved one. It could be surviving a tragic accident or severe illness or disease. Sometimes it’s about rising above a painful and destructive childhood. On the other end of the spectrum, some dramatic life experiences touch upon astounding good fortune or the opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

I enjoy assisting authors write these kinds of life stories, and I’ve made a discovery that may be helpful to anyone in the midst of writing about their own dramatic life experience: It helps to cultivate a certain kind of “bifocal vision.”

Here’s how the term applies in writing your auotbiography or memoir. You, or the writer working with you, will need to have a sharp and clear close-up view of what happened and how it impacted you. You will want to zoom that “camera” in tight to bring in all the physical details that make the experience vivid and real, and you will be called upon to openly and honestly reveal all the emotions that come with the territory, both while it was happening and today in the retelling of it.

That’s just one lens. The other lens, and just as important, is a more distant view. By that I mean that in one way or another you’ll want to try to rise above the scene of what you lived through and are writing about so that you can offer a perspective about it that will make sense to readers. You are putting yourself in your readers’ shoes and asking yourself questions like these: what else do they need to know to fully understand what happened to me and how I came through it? How can I add something to help them see, feel, and identify with my story? Where should I take them next in relating the story?

This second lens of the “bifocal vision” often takes some time and patience to develop. It’s not easy to stand above the fray of your dramatic life experience and tune into what someone else may want to hear about it. It’s all so personal, and often highly charged.

This is where a ghostwriter or book writing coach can be especially valuable. We are already witnessing your story from the perspective of a reader, so we can report what we are experiencing when we read your account. We can invite you to share this important view from outside the eye of the hurricane. And we can help you bring an added dimension to your story so you will be will better positioned to reach, touch, or inspire more people in an even more profound way.

So you may want to consider hiring a ghostwriter to write the story for you, so that you can just sit back and tell the story of what happened to you and watch it emerge in a memoir or autobiography. Or you may want to call upon a book writing coach to help you cultivate that second lens and keep on writing your story yourself. Another option is to seek out a trusted family member, friend, or ally who can look at how you are telling your life story and offer input into what a typical reader may need from you.

Whatever resources you choose to bring to your life story writing process, remember that what you are doing in writing about your dramatic life experience is inherently valuable. You may be offering support, encouragement, healing, inspiration, or understanding to many people, some of whom you already know and others who will find their way to your memoir or autobiography because it’s just what they need.

– Kevin Quirk, author of “Your Life Is a Book and It’s Time to Write It,” has been a book writing coach and ghostwriter of memoirs and autobiographies for 15 years.

Autobiography Ghostwriter Views Celebration of Life Memorials As Another Way of Honoring Our Life Stories

I was recently in the midst of a long drive from Virginia to Massachusetts for a family wedding when I caught part of an NPR interview in which the subject of memorial services came up. The point was made that in the last few decades we have seen a growing trend toward memorial services oriented more toward a celebration of life of the person who has just passed away, and that the family and often the deceased themselves play an active role in planning it.

I thought about that. Regardless of your religious affiliation or spiritual leanings, have you also noticed this shift toward more personal and celebratory memorial services? Fifty years ago, you didn’t often come upon memorial services that made room for vibrant music, or family and friends sharing both the humorous as well as the profound memories of the person they had gathered to pay tribute to. You didn’t see many references to popular songs, or the deceased’s favorite poems or sayings about life. You didn’t hear a whole lot of stories that would begin, “And I’ll never forget that time when she was 8 years old and she…”

From my perspective as a memoir ghostwriter and teacher of “Autobiographical Writing” classes, the trend toward more personal and sometimes more colorful end-of-life celebrations is another way our culture has found to preserve and share our life stories. It appears to fit our need to capture our memories, and to honor our lives, no matter how ordinary or extraordinary they may be.

And this shift in the format and approach to memorial services today leaves me with this question: do we really need to wait until a loved one has died to organize and present a moving and meaningful celebration of their life?

–  Kevin Quirk is a ghostwriter and book writing coach for memoirs and autobiographies through his service Life Is a Book. He is the author of “Life Is a Book And it’s Time to Write It: An A-to-Z Guide to Help Anyone Write Their Life Story (www.yourlifeisabook.com).