Writing a memoir is the art of telling the story of a moment in your life. It isn’t about your whole life; just a peek through the window of your experience. A memoir might focus on a defining moment, an experience that changed you in some way. For instance, my memoir “So, Where’s My Happy Ever After?” focuses on my becoming single again after twenty-five years of marriage. The defining moment in my story is a three month trip I took to Hawaii. Therefore, what you leave out of a memoir is as important as what you put in. Ask yourself, “how does this incident add value to my story?”
Consider your audience when writing your memoir. Why are you telling this story? It isn’t all about you and your needs, remember that you want your audience to enjoy the story too.
While you are writing it is important to not to focus on what your family, friends and colleagues might think about your story. This is your truth, your perspective, not theirs. You can’t worry about how your sister is going to feel about what you say in your memoir, otherwise it will block the writing. Of course check in with those your story involves to gain their acceptance and if they don’t wish to be names, change the names/events/dates to protect the innocent.
Perhaps you know what moment in your life will form your memoir or perhaps you don’t. Our advice is don’t start at the beginning. What we mean is, why are you writing your memoir, what happened that made that moment so memorable? Start with the most memorable part then draw the path back to that memorable moment. In a way you are hooking your audience on the first page and they are compelled to read more because it was so intriguing or fascinating.
When you have finished writing your memoir and it is ready to be reviewed, make sure you select people who have no involvement with your story. You can show the people involved too but beware to not get to emotionally connected to the feedback. As a must, make sure your editor is removed from your personal story. They need to not know the story or background so they read it with fresh eyes.
Memoir writing can be difficult to find the right balance between personal thoughts and facts. Memoirs are a popular genre as most of us love to read about other people’s experiences.
For assistance with writing, editing or publishing your memoir, contact us at A&A Book Publishing.