How to write a memoir

If you have ever thought of writing your own memoirs, you might have been stopped by feeling like no one would ever want to read about you! This is absolutely not true. If you write your memoirs well, they will, at the very least, be a treasured family heirloom. There are fascinating stories in even the most ordinary lives and all we have to do is find them and bring them to the page.

Using colorful language and developing lush stories is all we need to do to keep our memoirs from becoming a boring history lesson. Keep in mind that memoirs can be like home movies, if you don’t make it interesting to readers that don’t know you, they most likely won’t be much more interesting to those who do.

Memoirs should start from the beginning but don’t bore your audience with minute details about your birth. Make facts short and elaborate wherever you have an interesting or unusual story. Maybe there was a horrible storm the day you were born, or your mother gave birth to you in the family home, focus on the most interesting facts to present to your reader.

Unless the doctor that delivered you had a witty comment or other notable features or personality don’t bore your readers with his name, where he went to medical school, and how many children he had. Likewise, don’t go through every single age chronologically whether anything happened worth noticing that year or not. Include mentions of any vacations you took, people you met along the way, and any particular difficulties you may have had. Did you have trouble in math? Tell me about it. Family members especially will love to hear about things like this that can cause them to say, oh, maybe it runs in the family!

Unless you’re sure they won’t mind, don’t include the full names of anyone that wouldn’t appreciate being made public in your book. Although it is a factual book and your memoirs, you shouldn’t make public the private lives of others whom you are no longer associated with. Memories can be fuzzy things and what if you didn’t get the story quite right, you may be sued for libel!

If there are any goals you worked towards during your lifetime, career dreams, things you wanted to accomplish, include these in your memoirs and include what steps you took to achieve your dreams. If you accomplished what you set out to do, tell about how it made you feel to finally realize what you’d been working towards and give any advice that helped you get there.

Try to get the dates right. If you include fairly accurate timelines, it will be easier for people to check out what else was going on at the same time and it will give your readers a frame of reference to work from. It also gives credibility to your memoirs when you can associate them with a certain time period.

Even if your memoirs never get published, they will serve as a valuable family history which will be treasured for generations to come. Even if you are not a writer, you should try to assemble some sort of memoirs to leave a record of your life and accomplishments, no matter how large or small.

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