Seven Tips For Writing A Memoir

writing a memoirUsing my crystal ball, I predict that a number of you are thinking about the book you’ve been wanting to write. Perhaps it’s writing a memoir. If so, here are some tips you consider:

Give yourself time. Writing a book isn’t an overnight process. Although it might be possible to complete a book in a month or two, or even if you have nothing else on your plate and you’re an experienced writer, there is no need to rush things. Give yourself six to eight months, setting daily targets. Your book will be better for it.

Remember to give yourself a few character flaws. It’s tempting to embellish your life story and write your book from the perspective of a superhero, without any non-optimum personality traits. The problem is the rest of us, who have flaws, will never be able to relate. So, include the mistakes, the error in judgments, along with your amazing feats and your story will be more relatable and inspiring.

Humor goes a long way. Adding humor to your story can make it more enjoyable and memorable to read. While it is best not to make fun of others in your book, there are still plenty of other ways to include humor. For instance, funny dialogue snippets lighten the mood nicely. There might be times when you can delve into an absurd moment and expand on it, shining a spotlight on certain aspects that might make others laugh out loud.

Write and write and write. If you’re choosing to write your memoir yourself, you’ll need to write on a regular basis. Don’t expect to make much progress if you only type a few pages on the weekends. Most writers write daily. Although it isn’t a requirement, it does help keep the ideas flowing.

Feel free to embellish details. It isn’t realistic to expect that you’ll remember every single little detail of your life perfectly. For example, what did you have for breakfast on October 20th, 1974? If you’re writing a breakfast scene and want to put Eggs Benedict on the table, go ahead. Your readers will accept it. Dialogue is similar. If there is an important conversation, you would probably remember the gist of what was said, but not the exact words. And even if you did remember the exact words, you might want to change it up a bit to improve the flow. Having said that, don’t put unflattering words into the mouth of someone you’re mentioning by name. He or she might not appreciate your creativity.

Be honest. Although you’re delving into the viewpoint of one character, you, you need to have the ability to pull back from your perspective and be objective. This might mean that you don’t come out the winner of every argument, and, please don’t hit me for saying so, but you might be wrong on occasion. Be truthful about all of it. It’s possible that your reader might learn a lesson and avoid making the same mistakes you did.

Read other memoirs. It’s hard to write a good memoir if you’ve never read one by another writer. Reading a lot will help you learn about what works and what doesn’t.

If you want to write your memoir, start writing and continue writing until your first draft is completed. Don’t edit, just write. Enjoy the experience. Writing memoirs is one of my favorite projects! It’s so rewarding. I get to meet new people and help them share their life stories with others.

Additional articles you might find helpful:

How To Write A Nonfiction Book

Why Should I Hire a Ghostwriter?

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Working With A Ghostwriter – What Steps Should You Take?

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

Laura Sherman (96 Posts)

Laura Sherman, a.k.a. “Laura the Friendly Ghostwriter,” is a professional ghostwriter and author. She enjoys writing fiction and nonfiction and is happiest when juggling multiple projects. She recently authored “Chess Is Child’s Play” to introduce the next generation to the game of kings and queens. As a parent of three, and one of the top 50 women chess players in the United States, Laura wrote this book to teach any parent to teach any child, of any age, to play chess.