Everyone has a story – including you. You have a unique story just waiting to be told. Whether you are an accomplished writer or have never written more than an email; whether you are a teenager or you are looking back on many decades, you have stories to share.
In the process, you may discover that writing your own memoir is one of the most satisfying experiences of your life. Memoirs can take all different forms and formats, depending entirely on what you want to cover and how you want to present your stories. People write memoirs for all kinds of reasons; here are four of them.
Write to preserve important times
The years speed by faster and faster: will your only tangible documentation of the time be files of photos on your phone and old income tax returns? Writing your life story and describing pivotal people, places, and events lets you save – and savor – the most memorable moments of your time on earth. By recounting these stories, you can pause the passing of time and preserve your recollections for others to enjoy for years to come.
A memoir is not the same as a diary or a personal journal; you’re not writing an exhaustive chronological autobiography. Rather your memoir will reflect your personality and give you a chance to revisit key memories and record has been important to you.
Write for closure and clarification
For some people, writing down stories from their past will bring up memories of difficult times and complicated emotions. Taking the time to recall and process certain incidents in your life brings its own reward.
Some people consider memoir writing to be a cathartic experience; the writing process itself can be therapeutic in helping us sort out events and the people in our lives. Coming to a sense of closure with unfinished business or unresolved issues can be a hidden benefit of memoir writing.
Write for posterity
Imagine how much you would enjoy reading about the lives of your grandparents and great grandparents and many of those before them. Now imagine the stories of your life and times passed on to and read by the generations of the future. What would you like to tell them? How would you like to be remembered?
Your memoir can keep your legacy alive in a much more meaningful way than just a name on a family tree or a gravestone in the cemetery. You can strengthen the ties that bind generations into the future; you will reach readers long after you are gone.
Write for yourself
I know of a 98-year-old man who lives in an assisted living center and who spends hours each day reading through four small books written by him and his late wife. Two of these memoirs describe their respective childhoods on farms in Iowa; the third book covers his service in World War II; and the last covers their family and the adventures they shared in 72 years of marriage. His memory has dimmed, but these books store what he has long forgotten.
Many chapters came straight from some memoir courses that the couple completed in their 70s. Those assignments stirred up more memories and soon they had enough to fill books to share with loved ones and friends. As much as those recipients treasure each book, the man’s children agree that the most important, and unexpected, value of the memoirs is their father’s joy and satisfaction in a life well-lived as he rereads the pages again and again.
Some people put writing their life story on hold indefinitely. They think they need to live longer or write better or have more free time. However, no time is better than the present to get started. Whatever your reasons for writing your own memoirs, now is the right time!
Dudley Court Press works with writers like you every day. As a contemporary publishing company, we help thoughtful people write and publish books for all sorts of reasons. For more information about our Developmental Editing, Coaching, Consulting and Professional Self-Publishing options, please reach us at +1-520-329-2729 or Info@DudleyCourtPress.com.
We’ve recently launched our latest program, Memoir Writing for Non-Writers. This comprehensive ten-week course helps you turn your memories into a compelling memoir.
– Gail Woodard