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Many new memoir writers come to The Memoir Network site—as you have done—and find here much material—informative posts on this blog and e-books, MP3s, and e-courses in the My Memoir Education area.

For some of writers who have in mind a readership of children, grandchildren, relatives and a few friends, the free material is enough—enough to supplement their writing skills and knowledge and culminate in a well-received memoir. While they want to write the best memoir they can, they also realize that the bar is not high—theirs is, after all, an appreciative audience which will be thrilled with whatever the writer produces.

For other writers, however, who want to produce a memoir read by a larger audience—people they don’t know and who don’t know them—the challenge is greater. The memoir calls for more structuring of the story line—its pacing and arching, more depth of analysis—after all, “that’s just who I was” is hardly a perceptive observation, more attention to style, greater use of fiction techniques—foreshadowing, suspense, repetition, allusions, compare and contrast.

These topics are covered in many of the blog posts, but knowledge is one thing and practice is another. So…

Many writers come to the realization that if they could have done it alone, they would have done it by now. If this is you, working with a memoir professional will bring you great dividends. It will take you from trying to write a memoir to being a published writer. Look up how an editor, coach, or ghostwriter can help you write a memoir a larger public will want to read.

writing a first draft

You Can’t Write Without a First Draft

Give yourself permission to write a rough first draft. Write pages and pages in which you describe the who, the what, the where and the when of the story. Later, as you rework the piece, the why will be written in.

If you are one of those memoir writers who is not otherwise a writer and who will perhaps never write anything else, know that you need to be kind to yourself. In the Turning Memories Into Memoirs workshops, I am often surprised—and dismayed—at how demanding writers are on themselves at an early stage of the process. There are even times when a writer will not turn in a piece of writing because it was not “good enough”—and that in spite of my having told the group that the writing they would submit would still be in its first draft stage.

Think of the first draft of writing as “fixing” the story in the same way that in days when photographs were fixed by chemicals that stage was important if the image was not to be lost. Your first draft is the stage when you “fix” your story, keep it from being lost rather than make it into a masterpiece.

Don’t reward yourself for being a perfectionist!

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How to Make Writing Easier

Why is writing so hard? Why does what you want to write become so difficult the moment you sit down to write? Where are the words you need to convey the excitement or the dread or the anticipation. You are shocked to realize that what appears on the computer screen has no pizzazz! This is […]

Frustration from writer's block?

3 Causes of “Writer’s Block”

Many writers suffer from writer’s block, yet few understand its possible causes. Memoir writing certainly has its difficulties which can create it, and not just writer’s block! There are a number of reasons that contribute to difficulty in writing. 1. In memoir writing, “writer’s block” can be the result of dealing with uncomfortable material. Perhaps you […]

My Memoir Writing Plan

Commitment vs. Interest

There’s a big difference between your commitment to writing your memoir and being interested. “But I do want to write my memoir,” I can hear some hypothetical person insisting. No, this is not about wanting to write a memoir, not about trying to write one, not about being interested in writing… What I am writing […]

The key to memoir writing success is positive daily habits.

A Key to Memoir Writing Success

Do you ever wish you had the key to memoir writing success? Let me offer you one key that, I believe, every writer needs to make use of. Memoir writing success is built on daily habits. As has been bandied about and attributed to many different speakers, it is said that “you go to the […]

Writing your memoir is a marathon. Getting memoir writing help is valuable for strengthening your writing skills.

A Memoir is a Marathon. Can you do it?

You can write a memoir! When you are facing a challenging undertaking, it is wise to seek help. If you were attempting to run a marathon, you would study up on the endeavor and be sure you are doing things right. Perhaps you would join a running club or a website that offers you a […]

Writing a business memoir can happen with a co-writer.

A Co-Writer Can Make a Business Memoir Happen

In a previous article, I highlighted four business memoirs that I helped bring to life. Each book was a significant one not only because of its subject matter but also because of its length. Each business memoir ranged from 300 to 400 pages, making them into hefty accounts of lives well lived. How do you […]


Helpful Thoughts As You Write a Memoir

As you write a memoir, you will find that you need much more information about technique or about style or about research or any number of other topics. Unless you have been writing much over the years, this is likely to be you. Going to the library for information is a necessary next step for […]


Ready to hire a ghostwriter? Here’s what to ask.

Ready to hire a ghostwriter? Here’s what to ask. 1. Will the ghostwriter “work for hire” or will s/he want a stake in the product? A for-hire writer is paid either by the hour or by the project and has no legal authorship rights. The rights to such a book are entirely yours. This is […]

A gift for you...
...because you need to get your memoir written. This little book will focus you to complete your memoir.
  • Your memoir deserves to be written. We help people get their story down—right!
  • Writing a memoir or want to improve one you're working on? Download Memoir Writing 101: How to Craft a Compelling Memoir or Lifestory / 10 Steps and a Bonus.
  • Memoir Writing 101 comes with The Lifewriter's Guides, a biweekly "workshop in an email.".
  • If you are already a member of The Memoir Network, this e-book and others are available to you free in Member Resources.