In the midst of sharing her top three pieces of advice for memoir writers, Ava Chin, author of Eating Wildly, divulges the life stories behind each suggestion. Chin discusses the unique challenges of memoir writing, such as writing about people who are still alive. “My writing students are always asking me about the pitfalls of writing about people you know, and at least once a semester I go over something that sounds like ‘Mistakes I’ve Made in Memoir Writing,’ which includes having people I love getting mad at me and my scrambling attempts to smooth things over.”
Chin goes on to point out that how we feel emotionally about certain people can definitely come through in our writing, for better or for worse. She also talks about the writing etiquette of advising your subjects of their inclusion in your work before publication, lest they get a phone call from a friend telling them they are in your newly published article. Chin would know!
Chin punctuates these hard-earned lessons with gratitude for what she has gained, all of which have made her a better writer. She is grateful for “the difficult work that needs to be done when writing in this rewarding, yet at times thorny genre. Taking the high road by doing all the work necessary to be compassionate towards others, both in writing as well as in life, is not only the right thing to do, it also provides hidden lessons once you’re ready to learn them.”
Read on to discover Chin’s 3 Pieces of Advice for Writing Memoir. Then, give her book, Eating Wildly: Foraging for Life, Love, and the Perfect Meal, a try. It sounds terrific.