Editors’ Blog

Welcome to Six-Word Memoirs and SMITH Magazine

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

By Larry Smith

Hello!

If you’ve found this welcome note or clicked on the link from your “verification email,” you’re probably new to our storytelling community. Whether in 6 or 600 words, that is our passion, our drive: storytelling. Our six-word tagline is “Everyone has a story—what’s yours?” Here’s part of our own story.

The most popular neighborhood in the SMITH community is Six-Word Memoirs. More than half a million Six-Word Memoirs have been written and shared by our members on Six-Word Memoirs and on our site for teen scribes, SMITH Teens. We’ve created and published seven books of Six-Word Memoirs (including a Japanese translation) and are always working on more. (For a history of the project, watch this video from the PopTech conference). Who knows? Your memoir might be included in our next book. And you’ll be in good company, too: some of our favorite storytellers such Stephen Colbert, Frank McCourt, Chelsea Handler, Dave Eggers, Malcolm Gladwell, Sarah Silverman, Mario Batali, among others, have penned Six-Word Memoirs, too.

At the heart of soul of Six Words, and the SMITH community overall, are the regular folks who read and write stories here every day. So what makes a great community? Great community members. Here are six secrets to having a great experience on SMITH.

1) Show and Tell. When you sign up and create a profile (we ask only for very basic, not-so-secret info) you’ll be able to add a photo or icon that will appear with each of your posted memoirs. You can also answer a few questions about yourself that will give others a sense of who you are. Both are optional but recommended to help make the online connection with your Six-Word neighbors.


2) Give More Than Six Words. When members stick around a while and engage with other writers, the site and often the lives of each member get richer. Go beyond posting memoirs. Read others’ memoirs and stories. If it moves you, confuses you, relates to you or astonishes you, leave a comment in the box—one member comments on one new member’s story every day. If you love it and want to save it on your personal page, click on “Favorite.” Or if you’re feeling shy, send a private note to the author via the “Contact Me” box, found under each person’s name on their personal page. Click on their name below the memoir to get to the personal page.

3) Ask For Help. Every community member was once a newbie here. Everyone has grappled with glitches and gremlins yet came out swingin’ with awesome memoirs. Several members have become what we refer to as “power users.” These are the folks who post, comment, question and communicate with other members on a daily or almost daily basis. You’ll have no trouble figuring out who they are. These members possess a varied and useful cache of information about how to navigate this site smoothly. They are usually generous with both their time and knowledge. Use the “Contact me” box or the “Comment ” box (if the question pertains to a specific memoir or story). Asking a question can be a great ice-breaker! For less-than-live help with technical issues on the site, check out the Help page.

4) Civility in the Community. Freedom of speech is a marvelous privilege that, regardless of country of origin, we all share here. “Do unto others” is an equally marvelous rule of thumb, regardless of religious preference, to use around the world and in this space. For specifics please read our Terms of Service, where you’ll find our number-one rule: Be polite. In general, criticism is okay, while name-calling or otherwise trashing someone or their words is not.

5) Spread the Word. Like what’s happening here? Tell your friends, family, co-workers, etc. Keep Six Words infused with new blood and creativity. We have great buttons to click and share memoirs that you love. Email it, Facebook it, Tweet it or shout it from the rooftops—we count on our community to help get the word out. Know a teacher? One of the most wonderful things to emerge from the Six-Word Memoir project is how teachers from across the world have taken the form into their classrooms. In our Six in Schools blog we regularly feature classrooms, from after-school programs to art schools, and even Yale Law School.

Really want to become involved and spread the word? Go live! Organize a Six-Word Meetup in your own community. Pick a place to meet, whether a living room or cafe, and swap Sixes and stories with others near you. We also holdSix Words Live shows a few times a year in NYC and elsewhere.

6) Keep Writing. Many community members have written thousands of stories. Over at Smith Teens it’s not uncommon for some members to write thousands (really) of Six-Word Memoirs. On our blog you might be one of our picks for Memoirs of the Week. And each “Member of the Month” is rewarded with a legendary SMITH tee.

For more on SMITH Magazine’s other story projects, as well as our work running mission and team-building workshops with corporations visit our SMITH company page.

Welcome to our world of passionate, personal and true storytelling. We hope you’ll jump in.

Larry Smith, editor

66 responses

  1. L2L3 says:

    Who wouldn’t want to hang out here after receiving such a warm, informative greeting? Nice;-D

  2. Contemplative says:

    Read diffused environment’s sense of intrigue. Nice!

  3. oopsalittle says:

    reckon this is a go-er!
    positive, informative, challenging and thrown into the mix:
    fun with like minded people.
    Very nice!

  4. Elizheva says:

    What a fun community to join!

  5. Dasher says:

    Excited and looking forward !

  6. couldbe says:

    Let’s see how this goes.

  7. Jerre362 says:

    Looks like fun. Glad I read Oprah

  8. minh595 says:

    I just sign up ,Idon’t know where to send my book ( I am not good in computer) . I write about my life .The book contains 114 pages and divided in 26 chapters.
    This is the plot of my book: This is a story of a young woman growing up in a country torn apart by war, who left her home landduring the fall of SAIGON. She had only her 8 moth old baby , no money and didn’t speak ENGLISH ………………AND MY SIX WORDS MEMOIRS : BORN,INNOCENT, LOVE ,SACRIFICE, LONELY, HEAVEN
    please show me how to send my book to Smith community.thank you minh595

  9. tropical says:

    Just open,no expectations , eager to see how it goes.

  10. Paul Satingala says:

    very solid agenda!! glad my wife bought me WRITERS yearbook 2012 and I searched this website.

  11. Jasmine Nunez says:

    This should be interesting..

  12. cintree says:

    Looking forward to reading and writing. :-)

  13. aardapple says:

    I just happened to wander on to your website yesterday, What serendipity!! I am super excited to have found SMITH! I wrote my first 500 word piece last night and it was lots of fun to do. I am also really looking forward to reading other member’s stories. I listen to both “The Moth Radio Hour” and “Snap Judgement” on NPR and love hearing true stories from people’s lives. This is really cool! I feel that there is nothing more amazing than a true story…fiction will never really be able to compete with the true!

  14. Peter DePalma says:

    A MAN OF MANY LIVES FINDS HIS SOUL AT 98 PARK ROW. FORMER GAY GANGSTER, POLITICIAN,& OIL COMPANY EXECUTIVE TELLS HOW JIMMY HOFFA ESCAPED MAFIA HIT.

  15. Peter DePalma says:

    A personal memoir

  16. Peter DePalma says:

    A personal memoir.

  17. Girlwiththehelmet says:

    Sounds lovely. I am looking forward to sharing.

  18. elaine magliocca says:

    very.excited.about.this.smith.thing!

  19. sandra says:

    I am a work in progress ~

  20. Kelwin says:

    Love this place

  21. Chody says:

    Awesome! I’m feeling excited.

  22. Barbara says:

    I am looking forward to being a part of this site.

  23. Ricardo Cuadra says:

    I’m really looking forward to joining SMITH. Hopefully this will help me in more ways than one.

  24. Ricky says:

    God bless everyone!

  25. Lakelady says:

    Got the Six Word Memoir book at a library book sale. What a surprise gift! My writers’/poetry group will love this website. I’m so grateful to have found you.

  26. Autumn22 says:

    Six Word Memoir has helped me to be concise. I thought Twitter would help me with its 140 character limitation, but this has done more for me than I could ever imagine. Even when I don’t post a memoir, I have been thinking of them all day. Right now I’m trying to think of six words to describe myself. Harder than I thought possible!

  27. mahtrow says:

    Everybody’s got an itch that needs scratching. (Seven words)
    Everybody’s got’an itch that needs scratching. (Six)
    Everybody’s itch sometimes needs scratching. (Five)
    Everybody’s itch needs scratching sometimes. (Five)
    Everybody’s got an itch needing scratching. (Six)

    Help!

  28. Autumn Rein says:

    I’m going to love it here!
    O Magazine hits the high score.
    With it’s article on Smith Magazine.
    Amazing site where writers can write.
    Six - Word Memoirs, wow, who know?
    Also for writing stories and poems.
    I have six sentences. Each sentence has six words. I’m delighted. Cause now I’m legit. :D Yeah, I’m going to love it here!

  29. Tony Mutz says:

    First, high school English. Second, Smith. Third, the world!

  30. Gicat says:

    This is a grat site love it
    Gicat

  31. midnightmaniac45 says:

    New here. Excited to explore terrain.

  32. midnightmaniac45 says:

    Contemplating interesting and concise mini memoirs.

  33. Claudette says:

    I love stories but in this day when many people are time poor during their working lives, it’s good to read short pithy ones ….in just 6 words.
    Great effort and I wish you well with your enterprise.

  34. TrevorJ says:

    Thanks for the great welcome! This looks like a fun place!

  35. Annekins says:

    Wings grown. They’ve flown! Mother’s blessing.

  36. kudos says:

    Happy to be part of of y’all

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SMITH Magazine

SMITH Magazine is a home for storytelling.
We believe everyone has a story, and everyone
should have a place to tell it.
We're the creators and home of the
Six-Word Memoir® project.