So you’re thinking you might want to create a Write, Right My Life story? These are the most frequently asked questions. I also do other types of story coaching. If you have another project, scroll down to FAQ #14 and begin there.
#1 How do I get my life story out of my head and into words?
It starts with a memory…maybe that time you stuck your head in a piñata?
Then you simply begin. I remember when…
#2: Why should I Write, Right My Life?
You’re a compilation of wondrous observations and beliefs, hopes, dreams, disappointments and triumphs that are uniquely your own. You live in a specific moment of time, born into a particular set of circumstances. There is only one you. If art is art because it’s unique, what is more artful than the story of you? Plus, your family will cherish your book more than you could possibly know.
#3: Why do you call this thing a Write, Right My Life story not memoir or autobiography?
Write, Right My Life stories are a hybrid of memoir and autobiography. Over the years I’ve discovered that by writing your story your way, you’re able to get your life right by focusing on what’s most important to you. You don’t need to include every single day, or year, in your life like autobiography, nor do you need to highlight your life within any context other than its own sweet existence. A Write, Right My Life story is uniquely you. Some are poetry collections. Others are recipe books. Some are photo albums or family trees with short stories. Many are exquisite collections of thoughtful prose. They can be organized by chronology, or by a theme like food or love. Together we’ll design your perfect form.
#4: Am I too young to start a Write, Right My Life story?
No. Your past won’t change, so why not begin writing now? Especially if you’ve already lived through something particularly historical, unique, challenging, exciting, or just too good to forget, there’s no time like the present to start. You can always add on as years unfold.
#5: Am I too old to begin a Write, Right My Life story?
#6: How long does it take to complete a Write, Right My Life story?
Depends on your writing rhythm.
Some writers relish the writing process and are in no hurry to finish a book.
Others find deadlines, like an upcoming milestone birthday, anniversary, or holiday, to be great motivators. Working towards a deadline can be your quickest route to completion.
#7: What should I write about?
Write about what interests you most. Some clients write chronologically-ordered books beginning with birth, or even beginning with ancestors. Some develop a collection of short chapters on eclectic topics like: childhood and family ties, love, travel, education highlights, social activism, parenting, career, faith journeys, friendships, kitchen stories, or pets. Some writers prefer creating family recipe books, or autobiographical poetry collections.
The only wrong book is the unwritten one.
#8: How long will my story be?
Generally, Write, Right My Life books fall into three categories:
- Short (Up to 50 pages) These are typically a compilation of three to five small sections or chapters about important aspects of a life, but they don’t include every single moment. They’re like a bouquet of hand-picked flowers rather than the whole field of tulips.
- Medium (50 – 90 pages) The medium stories have some sort of developed narrative arc, that is to say a traditional beginning, middle and end. They may begin with birth or early childhood, sometimes moving back and forth through time. They might end with a milestone like retirement from work, moving from a long-time family home, or welcoming a grandchild or great grandchild.
- Long (More than 90 pages) Some writers want to go into deep detail about multiple aspects of their lives including the lives of their ancestors, or into great historical context about the events that shaped them. If that sounds like your dream, then this is the length for you.
#9: How will you help me?
My job is to nurture your unique storytelling needs. For example, I can:
- Brainstorm with you about the type of book you want to write, offering ideas and insight based on your unique life and interests.
- Guide you to writing your personal manifesto or belief system and then highlighting elements of this by selecting specific incidents from your life.
- Help you create an overall outline, narrative arc, and book structure.
- Teach you specific creative nonfiction techniques to animate your life story with the essence of your unique voice, perspective, and personality.
- Share writing prompts designed to jumpstart your memory and get you writing if you hit a block.
- Ask questions targeted to get you thinking in ways that will help you write a story that is vibrant for future generations.
- Interview you about key life events.
- Transcribe our interview.
- Read your drafts for clarity, creativity, energy, and consistency.
- Meet you online, or by phone, to brainstorm, workshop and edit drafts.
- Keep you on deadline and moving forward to completion with assignments tailored specifically for you.
#10: How much does it cost for a Write, Right My Life story?
I offer Three Plans:
- “I just need a little help” Plan: Pay-as-you-go. $65 per hour.
- “I’m a Writer!” Plan: Includes 15 writing prompts plus 12 hours of regularly scheduled one-on-one editing work. $750.00.
- “Let’s Do It Together” Plan: Includes 50 hours of writing prompts, outlining, interviewing, transcribing, editing. $2,900.00.
You pay only for your own unique story-writing needs. Each plan is adaptable for short, medium, and long Write, Right My Life stories.
I keep two pro bono spots open in my schedule for humans who identify as non-white.
#11: What happens after I finish the Write, Right My Life story?
Once your story manuscript is complete, you can self-print, self-bind, and self-distribute, or we can work together with my book designer for an additional charge, or you can hire your own book designer and find your own printer.
My Book design rates have averaged $300- $400 for a professionally designed interior and exterior cover, hardback or paperback printed book. This rate includes two copies of your finished Write, Right My Life Story.
The book design charge is entirely dependent upon page length, number (if any) of photos, and complexity of the project.
#12: How long does it take from finishing my story to having a printed book?
Timing depends on book length, the final editing process, backlog of the designer and printer, and your response time to design questions.
Typically, you can expect to wait about three weeks after you’ve finished writing your last word and we’ve had our last meeting, to the day you’re holding the book in your hand. Timing is a little longer between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
#13: What happens after you help me write about my life?
I will hold your story in my heart and be grateful that you trusted me with it. I will celebrate your accomplishment. I will smile.
My personal code of ethics is this:
- Your story belongs entirely to you.
- I don’t repeat any details of any client’s lives with a single soul.
- I don’t share any client’s writing with anyone.
I’m not famous, not a best-selling book author, not the person with the kind of contacts who can help you turn your life story into a “big advance” book, then a blockbuster film, then a super hero action toy franchise.
Rather, I am the kind of deep listener, respectful question asker, gentle advocate, advanced degree holder, former journalist, university classroom-experienced teacher who will help you create your Write, Right Your Life story as an honor to you, and a gift to future generations.
#14: Do you do other types of story coaching?
Absolutely. I can help with your novel, your memoir, essay collection, poetry book, or cookbook, or any other book you want to hold in your hand with your name as author. Same rates and plans apply.
I’m Catherine Keefe. Nice to meet you. Shall we work together?
#15: How do I begin?
Contact me. Right now. My time fills quickly. Turns out, everyone has a story. Did I ever tell you about that time…
I offer a free 20-minute consultation. Together we’ll figure out how to get your project started.