Do you have to be a movie star or involved in a major scandal if you want to write a memoir? As long as you can live with not seeing your name on any bestseller lists, there are many reasons why sharing your story could be worthwhile.
In fact, you might find the personal benefits more rewarding than money or fame. You could make your life more meaningful and help your readers too. See what a memoir can do for you.
- Learn from experience. Putting your thoughts on paper can help you reflect on significant events in your life. You may discover underlying reasons and patterns you missed before. You could gain new insights that will enable you to make positive changes.
- Vent your feelings. Do you have trouble talking about your emotions? Your memoir could help you understand why you feel angry or lonesome much of the time.
- Think more clearly. Watching too much TV has been linked to increases in anxiety and brain fog. Spending your free time on writing projects is bound to enhance your critical thinking skills and may relieve stress.
- Build your confidence. When someone asks what you’ve been doing, you can say you’re writing a book. Completing such a big task gives you a sense of accomplishment.
- Strengthen family ties. Your loved ones may benefit from your memoir too. It’s one way to share family history and leave a record for future generations.
- Help others. On a broader level, strangers may learn something valuable from your story. Many memoirs are inspirational tales about overcoming hardships and fulfilling your dreams.
- Pick a theme. Maybe you’ve decided to write your memoir, but you’re wondering where to start. It often helps to list the events you want to talk about and find a unifying theme. Remember that a memoir usually focuses on a few highlights rather than your whole life story.
- Know your audience. Envision the kind of readers you’re likely to attract and imagine you’re speaking to them. It may be a relatively narrow niche, like single parents or mountain climbers.
- Write consistently. Publishers typically recommend that a memoir be as long as a novel, which is about 70,000 words. Applying yourself regularly makes that more feasible. Find a quiet time of day when you feel creative, maybe first thing in the morning.
- Keep a journal. What if your writing skills have grown rusty since you left school? Starting a simple diary or journal can help. You can jot down anything you like and get used to expressing yourself.
- Be honest. One of the greatest challenges in writing about yourself is trying to be objective. Your memoir will be more useful if you face reality and take responsibility for your choices.
- Seek feedback. Asking others to review your drafts can help you to reduce bias and gather other suggestions about your content and presentation. Show your work to family and friends you trust. Consider hiring a professional editor if you plan to publish your memoir.
- Respect privacy. You may be comfortable using real names and other details. On the other hand, if you’re dealing with sensitive issues, you might want to conceal your identity and protect others as well. You may even want to check with a lawyer if you have serious concerns.
- Have fun. Successful memoirs are usually entertaining. If you’re enjoying yourself, your readers may like it too.
Writing your memoir gives you an opportunity to understand your past and build a brighter future. Taking an honest look at yourself can be empowering, whether you publish a book or keep your manuscript private.