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Good, bad or outrageous, my life has been about as normal as picking blueberries on Mars. After reading my blog posts over the years, many of you have urged me to write a book. I took your suggestions to heart, and New Years Day, I began writing a memoir. Even though I’m a writer, and I have an outline, writing a memoir is difficult. We all have a story to tell, but writing a book can be overwhelming. What if you had a simple template that made writing easy and had places for photos? And when you’re done, you’d have a finished, printed book?

Would that encourage you to write your story?

I began thinking about this simple template idea after a conversation with a friend at church last week. When I told him I was writing a memoir, he said he’d always wanted to write a book about his life, but he wasn’t a writer, and the process was daunting. My friend has lived an interesting life, and there are things I imagine his grown children would love to know about him. So I went online to see if there was something to simplify the process for those who want to share their stories or capture a family member’s stories before they’re lost to dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Most of what I found are templates for writing your family tree, but one website looked interesting. AutoDotBiography. There may be others, but take a look and see what you think.

From AutoDotBiography

Writing a book about your life is like watching a favorite film you’ve seen more than once. A film that’s in black and white and color, grainy and clear. Not all of the scenes are pretty, and some you’ve almost forgotten. Writing a book is all consuming. Sometimes I realize I haven’t brushed my teeth that day, and there are nights I’m trying to sleep and “a line comes to me.” Before I forget it I run to my computer to write it down… One line always turns into multiple paragraphs.

After several false starts I decided to tackle something I’ve shared with less than a handful of people.

“One of them runs the back of his fingers down my bare arm. He smells like cigarettes and onions. He cocks his head and arches one eyebrow, his fingers still resting on my skin. The soldier beside him is thin and wiry, and something about his eyes tells me he’s hopped up on coffee or cocaine. Maybe both.”

Maybe I thought if I could write about it, the rest of the book would be easy.

I’d give anything if my grandmother had written down her stories with photos of herself over the years. I’m guessing your children and grandchildren might feel the same way.

Love, Brenda


  • D.A. Wolf March 30, 2019 at 9:42 am

    Those selected sentences certainly piqued my interest. I do hope you continue…

    • Brenda Coffee April 1, 2019 at 10:13 am

      Me, too, DA. I’m going to have to make some changes in my daily schedule or I’ll never get it finished. Hope you have a good week. xoxox, B

  • Barbara March 30, 2019 at 10:47 am

    Well, my memoir just came out this week after toiling over it for about 20 years. The writing process is stressful, especially when the stories aren’t pretty. But, there is a strong sigh of relief when it is finished and published! I went with Donna Cavanagh at ShoreHouse Books/ Humor Outcasts. She was wonderful to work with and I’m grateful it is finally ‘out there’!
    I can’t wait to read yours!!

    • Brenda Coffee April 1, 2019 at 10:15 am

      BRAVA, BARBARA!! That’s huge! Big! Colossal!! Congratulations! You inspire me! xoxox, Brenda

  • Donna March 30, 2019 at 11:33 am

    I am so glad you are “hanging in there, baby!” I can relate to the all-consuming quality of writing a book… still in your jammies, teeth unbrushed. I love when things are that engrossing… ride that wave, Brenda!!
    And, thanks for the memoir site – I’ve always told my sweetie that we should write his stories for his children and grandchildren. Maybe now, we will be able to, especially since he has lots of photos… and every picture tells a story.

    • Brenda Coffee April 1, 2019 at 10:17 am

      Donna, I know very little about your sweetie other than he’s handsome and charming and funny! Tell him to get busy! Put those stories and photos together! I’d love to know more! xoxox, Brenda

  • Judy Freedman March 31, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    I’ve wanted to write a memoir about reinventing myself after widowhood. It’s been challenging to find the time to write a book and also maintain my blog. Maybe some day I’ll focus more attention on it. Keep going, you inspire me.

    • Brenda Coffee April 1, 2019 at 10:20 am

      Judy, I didn’t know that about you. I’ve been widowed twice, the first time when I was 37. Lots of reinvention takes place. And yes, it’s beyond challenging to write a book and maintain 1010ParkPlace. I may have to take a break for a while… It seems so drastic, but I’m not sure what else to do. I’m starting with taking Annie to doggie daycare once or twice a week. Love seeing you here!! xoxox, Brenda

  • Hilda Smith April 1, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    Looking forward to it..you have had an interesting life…but you tell it well too

  • 1010ParkPlace April 1, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    Thank you, Hilda. I appreciate the compliment and that you stopped by to tell me. xoxox, Brenda

  • Sheila-Merle Johnson April 5, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    I just discovered you through Cindy Hattersly, whom I met recently. I really enjoy your writing. It inspires me. I hope you pursue this memoir project, even if it is all-consuming. That kind of activity can give such meaning to our lives. I have aspired to write one someday since, at 74, I have lived through some adventurous periods in our history – the hippy one alone could be great fun to write. But I am starting small. I just started an instagram account, @sheilamerle1, and I plan to start a blog. My friend and fellow image consultant, Brenda Kinsel, inspires me with the stories of her life she shares in hers. (I tried to sign up for your booklet, but it wouldn’t go through.)

    • 1010ParkPlace April 6, 2019 at 11:59 am

      Dear Sheila, I’m so happy you’ve found my blog, enjoy my writing and have stopped by to tell me. DO TELL YOUR STORY! I’ll soon be 70 so I’d love to hear your stories about the hippy era. You’re doing all the right things, an Instagram account and a blog. That’s where we all start. Don’t get discouraged because if you post regularly your tribe will find you. My relationship with the women on IG and who read my blog are some of my most cherished. They will change your life and how you look at the world and yourself. I will look into why you dan’t get my booklet. Thanks so much for taking the time to write me! Good luck! Brenda

    • 1010ParkPlace April 7, 2019 at 9:47 pm

      Hi Sheila, I had my web guru check to see if there was a problem with getting my booklet. He tested the system by adding himself to the email list and one minute after he signed up he got the welcome emails with the link to the book. He said the system shows that the welcome email with the book link was sent to you and several other new subscribers as well and suggests you check your spam or junk folder. If it’s in there you may want to move it into your inbox to make sure you receive all future blog posts. Here is a direct link to the book. https://1010parkplace.com/wp-content/uploads/45-Ways-To-Change-Your-Life.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Welcome%20to%20the%20list%20auto%20responder&utm_content=Welcome%20to%20the%20list%20auto%20responder+&utm_source=EmailMarketing&utm_term=Download%20your%20free%20gift%20now Let me know if you still have problems! I’m happy to have you as a subscriber! Brenda

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