4 tools and ideas to help you write the memoir you were meant to write starting today.
I believe that everyone has a unique story to tell and that everyone has a memoir inside them waiting to be written. But even if that story is bursting to come out, it still needs some inspiration and encouragement before it can see the light and be fully appreciated.
I know that you too have a memoir inside you, which is why I’ve put together these resources to help spur you forward on your memoir writing journey and move you closer to becoming the published author you wish to be.
Are you ready to be inspired into action?
Other People’s Memoirs
All writers are encouraged to read as much as they can. And that means you! If you want to write your memoir, read at least a few.
Read what others have written to get more comfortable with the possibilities of the genre and discover new ideas. In fact, reading other people’s memoirs can help show you what works, what doesn’t, what you like, what you don’t like and what you might wish for your own work.
Some of my favorite memoirs include Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman. All three are very different from one another, but all three authors had a story to tell and they told it well, allowing their memoirs to resonate with audiences whose backgrounds were both similar and different from theirs.
If you’re not a “writer” by nature, it may be a little intimidating to read such successful authors, but this is not a contest. Just allow yourself to be inspired by their books (or whoever’s memoirs you choose) and use the creative fuel (as well as the other three tips below) to write your own memoir that’s true to yourself and the unique story you have inside you.
Objects, Photos, Keepsakes, and Physical Reminders
While you may not remember what you did last Tuesday (I don’t), there are some things you will never forget, especially with a little help. A specific scent, song, article of clothing, piece of furniture, photo or another physical reminder can have the power to instantly take you back in time and revisit your history, your memories and how you felt at that particular moment.
If you want to write your memoir with a running start, then I encourage you to gather up all those important objects, photos, keepsakes and physical reminders you may have access to. Use them to conjure up your important moments and mine your memories for the stories you want to tell. Photographs, in particular, may help you to flesh out specific details.
Talking with Others
Humans are rather social creatures and our lives are often a collection of moments shared with other humans. That may include friends, family, spouses, neighbors, schoolmates, work colleagues, fellow parishioners or even strangers that have impacted your life in some way.
I encourage you to speak to others with whom you shared an important experience (or perhaps a similar experience) and do some reminiscing or compare notes. Talking with them may help you to jog your memory or provide you with additional insights.
Of course, your memoir is your memoir. It is entirely expected to be told from your perspective. You are under no obligation to include anyone else’s thoughts but I’ve often seen that talking with others helps to fill in some background details that can strengthen the story being told. Try it and see.
Books and Articles on the Craft of Writing and Memoir Writing
At their core, memoirs boil down to two elements: what you say and how you say it. Your memories and the story you want to tell will provide the “what,” while your writing will provide the “how.” You don’t need to be a seasoned writer to get your ideas across and tell the great story that is yours to tell, but still, spending some time attending to the craft side of things will only improve your memoir’s final form.
I encourage you to read at least a few articles and at least one book on the craft of writing and memoir writing. They don’t even have to be mine, although of course I recommend those as well. Reading books and articles on the craft of writing and memoir writing can really help you to hone in on specific areas and techniques, like writing the beginning or ending of your memoir, striking the right tone for your story, using perspective effectively and writing more realistic dialogue.
Every writer benefits from the experience of a good editor, and being a little more conscious of the craft side of things can help cut down on the time required for the revision process. Not to mention getting your memoir into better shape and into your intended audience’s hands faster.
Memoir Writing Made Easy
Are you interested in writing your memoir, but don’t know where to start?
Our Memoir Writing Made Easy course is a step-by-step guide to help you generate story ideas and write with a style you can be proud of. Plus you can work at your own pace, whenever and wherever you want! The course is written for non-writers. Topics include: setting yourself up for writing success, writing styles and formats, editing, legal issues, publishing ideas and lots more!
Visit our Memoir Writing Made Easy webpage to learn more!
Dudley Court Press
Dudley Court Press works with writers like you every day. As a full-service, hybrid publishing house, we help thoughtful people write their books and become successful published authors.