A common misconception held by many people is that writing a memoir is simple because it’s a reproduction of facts that have already happened. However, anyone that has ever attempted this task can attest to the fact that writing a memoir can be just as involved as writing a novel. It takes a certain amount of focus to condense life-changing events down to a few hundred pages of a book. You generally start out by agonizing over the details of your life and rationalizing which ones you are truthfully willing to expose as your innermost secrets to the world.
Tips on Writing a Memoir
Memoirs are very powerful if done right. They have the ability to touch lives and the capacity to take readers for an exhilarating ride. But there are common elements that your memoir should possess if you want your readers to have this experience. If you’re struggling with crafting a memoir that’ll take your readers on a journey they’ll remember for life, ChatEbooks lists a few tips to get you started.
Write a Memoir, Not an Autobiography
You’re not writing an autobiography – this is what you must keep in mind before you start writing a memoir. An autobiography is a tell-all recount of your life from one end of the spectrum to the other. A memoir is a recollection of one particular moment or a series of moments around a particular event in your life. You can write only one autobiography, but there are countless memoirs within your life’s experiences that can be shared.
To start, pick a specific theme to focus on and explore the various events of your life surrounding your chosen theme. Avoid the temptation to ramble on about anything and everything that doesn’t in some way support your topic. If you’re writing a memoir about your challenges as a single mom, details about your shoe shopping-spree are probably insignificant to your story. Keep the focus on the events connected to the theme and subject of your memoir.
It’s All in the Details
In order for your readers to understand your journey on a deeper level, try to include as much detail as you can. Although memoirs are centered on one theme, it takes a series of events to bring the theme to life. So populate the world around your story with life. For example, if you were writing a memoir about your experiences as an immigrant you wouldn’t just talk about your personal travel into a specific country. You’d also delve into the culture that surrounded you upon arrival, the details of your journey and the people you met. Give your story breath. Do not simply talk about yourself and your exploits. Give readers an idea of what it was like during that particular moment in your life.
Tell the Truth
A powerful memoir involves honesty and sincerity. So tell the truth – even if your story contains sensitive events that are very difficult to share. Just think about why you are telling your story in the first place. Are you trying to encourage someone through your personal experience? If so then why not be raw and keep it real. You serve your readers no purpose if you hold back vital details of your story that could guide them through a traumatic event in their life. If you are not ready to tell the truth, to reveal facts exactly as you know them because you are afraid of what your friends and family will say and how their lives might be impacted, then maybe you shouldn’t be writing a memoir to begin with. Consider writing a fiction book instead.
Create an Emotional Journey
Even with memoirs, readers expect to be entertained. Your memoir is no different from a fictional tale in that you need to take your readers on an emotional journey. Structure your memoir with hills and valleys and elements where the story ebbs and flows. Heighten the tension up in some places while keeping the excitement low in others. Your goal should be to connect with your readers’ emotions. An emotionally-infused memoir makes readers look forward to the next chapter and want to know more about the events that shaped who you are as a person. An emotional journey does just that. It engrosses readers and keeps them glued to the page.
Writing a memoir can be equally rewarding for both the author and the reader. As the author, writing your memoir can help you heal from a traumatic experience. On the other hand, your reader can find the courage and strength to overcome the same trauma through your story. So put adequate time and effort into producing a well-written and highly evocative tale about your life-altering experience. You never know the impact your story may have on someone else’s life.