People tell me over and over again that… they want to write their memoirs, BUT…. and then they usually give one of these four reasons why they haven’t:
- No one will be interested
- Someone will be hurt or angry
- I don’t know where to start
- I don’t know what to do when I’m finished
Each of these four obstacles to writing your memoirs is readily overcome with a bit of thought and maybe a bit of help. See if you find something here to boost you over your hurdle.
The first reason people give for not writing their memoirs is that they think no one will be interested.
Now, maybe that’s true. Maybe you’ve never had a funny or tragic or memorable thing happen to you in your whole life. Maybe you’ve never had a special dessert recipe or secret fishing spot or a favorite book or a particular hero. Maybe you’ve never been anywhere beyond the house where you were born. (Now wouldn’t THAT be a story to tell?)
The fact is, if you have children, and especially if you have grandchildren, or might someday, the stories of YOUR life are going to be important to them. They will never know who you were, or what you did, or what you felt in the times before they were born, unless you tell them.
So many young and middle age people say to me, “I really wish my grandmother had written down the stories/recipes/songs/secrets of her life while she still could. Now it’s too late and I’ll never know those things about her.”
If you want to write your memoirs, write them whether you think anyone will be interested or not. Likely you will find someone who is delighted to read what you’ve written.
The second reason that holds people back from writing their memoirs is a fear that someone will be hurt or angry.
There’s no arguing with the fact that lots of us have family histories with plenty of drama and in-fighting. Hanging out the dirty laundry is not what writing memoirs is for. Venting, blaming and vilifying is okay in your private journals, but not in something that you want to share with other readers. It’s not good form, and it could land you in trouble if you make libelous statements in your book.
On the other hand, maybe there are events or circumstances that warrant inclusion in your memoir, but you know that other people have different views on the event. You can always include the phrase “This is how I remember things” or “My recollection is this.” Someone may disagree with your recollection, but you certainly have a right to it. Just don’t make a point of hurting someone else, or blaming or shaming them. Doing so says more about you than it ever will about them.
The third and fourth reasons why people hesitate to write their memoirs have to do with a lack of knowledge.
People don’t know how to start or what to do when they’re finished. That’s where some basic education can help out a lot. Just knowing a few tricks of the trade will make memoir-writing a pleasure. You can find books at your local library, or at online booksellers. You can also get some help here at Dudley Court Press through our new Memoir Studio resources.
What’s holding you back from writing your memoirs? Let us know!
We’re putting together a program for memoir writers to help with the challenges I’ve talked about here (along with lots of other great information.) If you’re interested or if you have a question or problem about writing memoirs that you’d like us to help with, let me know by commenting below. And if there’s something that would really help you with your memoirs, please get it touch. I’d really like to help you get over any obstacles so you can write your memoirs easily.