“I put a lot of work into it, but it was all worth it,” said another client not long ago.
Two very different reactions. So which is it when you write your memoir? Is it easy, or is it a lot of work?
I like to think that I can make it easy for my clients, of course. That’s essentially the value proposition of any kind of consultant: we make the process go more smoothly for the client, regardless of what the nature of the endeavor might be. But in reality, it’s whatever the client chooses for it to be: as easy or as difficult as you want to make it.
That’s not meant to sound threatening. I don’t mean difficult in the onerous sense; I mean more in the sense of how intricately you choose to immerse yourself in the details. For many of my clients, the whole project of completing a memoir takes little more than four to six hours of interviewing, a couple of read-throughs, a couple sets of revisions, and an hour or two choosing two dozen favorite photographs from throughout their lifetime. My graphic designer never fails to please with her first draft of a cover; the client and I both do a final round of proofreading, and we’re done.
In that sense, writing your memoir is easy.
But some clients need more time and more immersion in the process, and that’s fine too. After all, writing your memoir shouldn’t be a trivial undertaking. It requires consideration and contemplation. For some people, that comes naturally throughout the interview process, but others need to think and rethink how they will talk about certain segments of their lives.
Meanwhile, many clients bog down in the photo-selection phase: with shoeboxes full of old snapshots, they become overwhelmed by the task of choosing just twenty or thirty to include in the book. When that happens, I encourage them to try to choose photos that tag specifically to anecdotes and references within the text, or I help make the choices myself. With one client who couldn’t even face the task of going through boxes of old photos, I simply took my portable scanner to her house and walked around removing her favorite snapshots from walls and tabletops, scanning them right there and then, and thereby including in her memoir just those photos that she loved most.
Depending on who you are, how you see your life story, and how you approach the process, you might be someone who finds it easy or you might find it difficult. What I can promise, though, is that I do all I can to make it as carefree as possible for each client. After all, we all know how to write. If I didn’t offer the value proposition of making it simpler for you, you could just as easily do it yourself.
My goal is to facilitate the process, whether that means making it easy or just making it less difficult. Are you uncertain about whether this is a challenge you are ready to take on? Let’s take it on together and find out.