10 Tips When Writing a Memoir

There is a lot of information out there about writing, and there is also some information about writing memoirs. But much of the information about writing a memoir is pretty basic. If you are planning on writing one, then you definitely need to learn as much as you can about how the process is accomplished. That’s why we have come up with these 10 tips for writing a memoir that you may not find anywhere else. Crack open a hot meal in a microwave, and let’s talk writing.

  1. Make sure that you know what a memoir actually is. Remember that it is not an autobiography but is instead a slice of life or a series of them.
  2. Make the characters in your memoir larger-than-life. You can exaggerate certain qualities or behaviors that will make these characters live in your readers mind.
  3. Focus on telling the truth when writing a memoir. Be brutally honest with your readers. Don’t gloss over things that you are embarrassed about because they might be the very things that make your memoir great.
  4. Make your memoir about truth. The best memoirs are the ones that allow people to learn things about themselves that they wouldn’t have seen if they hadn’t read the memoir.
  5. While you want people to take life lessons from your memoir, you don’t want to be preachy or try to put specific lessons in. Make sure that there is no in-your-face morality or preaching in your book.
  6. Write a memoir that you think you would like to read even if it was not about you. If it is compelling and interesting to you when you look at it objectively, then it is something that other people will want to read as well.
  7. Concentrate on a single seminal event in your life. Pick something that changed your life forever. Sometimes, this is a series of events, but there is always one event that is more prominent than the rest.
  8. Make sure that you are recalling details from your life correctly and check out things like diaries or the memories of other people that were there with you for accuracy.
  9. Sometimes you have to fictionalize your memoir to protect people. But sometimes, embellishing facts a little bit can actually tell a better story. Think about Jean Shepherd’s memoir In God we Trust, All Others Pay Cash which the holiday film A Christmas Story was based upon. Some of those details were very likely embellished.
  10. Getting a memoir published can be pretty difficult. That’s why you need the writing to be absolutely amazing. Consider hiring a ghostwriter to write your memoir if you are not able to write well enough to ensure that it gets published. Even if your story is amazing, no publisher will want it if the writing isn’t good enough.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that writing a memoir is hard, but with these tips you may have an easier time with it. You should visit Reedsy.com if you want more information on publishing a memoir.