Writing a memoir? Here’s a quick edit you likely need to make.

Most of life is procedural: I got up, made coffee, hopped on a Zoom call with Suzanne… You don’t need it.

Connect with the elements of your life that will impact your reader.

For example, I’m working on a travel memoir about pilgrimage in Japan. The writer is covering two multi-week trips to Japan, as well as the intervening years. So we’re narrowing in on the key scenes on those trips, and how the trips impacted the other moments in her life.

It’s tempting to include a lot of detail in a travel book, as that’s the stuff you remember: what you ate, the weather, whether the bed was comfy or not.

But your reader wants to connect emotionally with the work. Think of the overall theme you’re trying to convey, and what details are needed to illustrate the scene. Can you do more with less?

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