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Archive | “Best Of” from The Memoir Writer’s Blog

Of the hundreds of memoir writing posts on the Memoir Writer’s Blog—more than 500 as of now and growing—some have proven to be favorites with memoirists. Below are those articles which ranked as the top most-visited posts according to Search Engine “opens.”

We hope you enjoy reading—and benefiting from—this year’s best memoir writing posts as much as our other writers have. And…

Once you have read them, why not go on to read the other hundreds of posts? Think of the Memoir Writer’s Blog as a catalog of university-level courses designed especially for you. You can participate  anytime you are ready to learn more. This is just-in-time-learning at its best. Doesn’t get better. But…

You must pitch in.

Without putting in the effort to read thee memoir writing posts and others and study what you read, there’s not much learning that can go on. So, dig in. The beginning of wisdom is understanding what you don’t know and doing something about learning what you need to learn.

All of our memoir writing posts are free to you and they are laser focused so that you get the info you need when you need it.

Others have succeeded.

We know it’s not easy to be a good memoir writer, but becoming one is not beyond your ability. Thousands of people we have worked with—people just like you—have done just that.

You can learn to write an interesting and meaningful memoir, but you will need more skills and more knowledge that you may now possess—but skills and knowledge can be acquired.

You can master memoir writing—and you can do it starting now by reading these memoir writing posts.

In conclusion

Your memoir readers will thank you for taking your writing seriously enough to study the process to become the best writer you can be.

best memoir-writing tips

How to write a memoir: our 21 Best Memoir-Writing Tips to get you writing your memoir—quickly and well—and getting it into the hands of your public.

Note from the editor: This post is a memoir-writing course. I suggest that you glance through the whole of it, and pick those best memoir-writing tips that you most need to read at this time. Later, bit by bit, you will read the rest.

Click on the links that interest you and study the posts where you land. The links in even just a few of the tips below will uncover articles that pertain to the topic(s).

Following these best memoir-writing tips, your knowledge of memoir writing will grow more certain, and you will write with more confidence. One day, sooner than you think possible, your memoir will be published and in hand.

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It’s later than you think. Don’t put off writing your memoir any longer.

Our 21 in-depth, best memoir-writing tips below will help you to start memoir writing today. 

You’ll find these guides will see you through the process of how to write a memoir—an interesting and meaningful memoir—more easily and quickly than you may now think possible.

One day soon, you will have written your book.

The Memoir Network’s 21 Top Best Memoir-Writing Tips to get you to memoir success.

1. What is a memoir? Hint: it’s not an autobiography!

Is the difference important to the memoir writer? Somewhat! Knowing what you are writing will orient you from the start! It can be discouraging to realize that you have been headed in the wrong direction when you could have saved yourself time and energy by understanding the difference between memoir and autobiography as you launched yourself. While it’s not huge, but it can be significant.

An autobiography is about a whole life: from birth to the present. A memoir is a part of your life that is characterized by a theme. It might be about the first years of your marriage during which you realized what an immature and selfish person you were and earned to be a giving souse. This may interest many people as it is a struggle many are waging.

The fact is that, while it is totally possible to write a memoir that will interest the public and draw an audience to you, the same is not true of an autobiography. If you are famous: possibly. If you are not, it is not likely that people will be interested in what grade school you went to and how much your grandmother loved you.

(This statement about autobiography is not applicable if you are writing for a family audience. Your children and grandchildren will definitely be interested in an autobiography.)

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a room of one's own

A Room of One’s Own to Write Memoir In

Are you a writer who has felt cramped because you do not have a dedicated space for writing your memoir?

You have read about writing spaces and have longed for one, but do you really need one?

An outside writing space

A dedicated writing space sounds great to me—and a luxury I am not willing to let my writing wait for. In fact, I have never used outside writing rooms (also known as “office”—except for once when I borrowed a summer home for a week and finished The Photo Scribe / How to Write the Stories Behind Your Photos there as I wrote ALL day. Being at that oceanside house was very productive as I had nothing else to do. It was either write or be bored. The book had been stalled and it raced to the finish line in that week.

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First paragraph

The First Paragraph Can Make or Break a Memoir for the Reader

Writers sometimes struggle with how to begin a story and will not write the story until they have the beginning—the first paragraph.

This is not a good way to proceed.

The first paragraph of a memoir sets the tone.

The first paragraph creates the tone and often presents imagery that will shape the reader’s appreciation of your story—whether a vignette or a full memoir.

In a short story I wrote many years ago, I did not compose the first paragraph until I had written the whole story. Frankly, I was stumped and did not know how to begin the story, how to launch the  reader.

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The Memoir Network Ghostwriting Services

Memoir Ghostwriting – How Much Does It Cost?

Memoir ghostwriting is a viable option if you choose not to write your memoir yourself. There are many reasons you would choose not to write a memoir by yourself and most of them are good.

Understandably, people want to know how much memoir ghostwriting will cost. Depending on the length of your memoir, it may take months and even years to complete your book. Here are a few considerations for you to ponder over as you assess how much a co-author might cost.

1. Asking “How much will it cost to have my memoir ghostwritten?” is like asking “How long will it take to cross the Atlantic Ocean?”

Many factors will affect the time required for a crossing: the wind, the distance between the ports of departure and the arrival you choose, the design of the boat itself, the number of people and the amount of materials and supplies on the boat, whether or not you wish to cross directly or whether you would like to make a few forays along the way—say, visit Iceland before landing in Portugal.

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find a best title for a memoir

Best Title for a Memoir: How to Choose

Writers ask me how to choose a best title for their memoirs. Because I have worked with them, usually as their coach or editor and know their story, I am in a position to brainstorm with them to come up with a decent —and sometimes even a great—title for their book.

There are many possibilities available to a writer, but one thing is certain: a writer must choose a title for a memoir strategically.  It is a marketing opportunity. The title printed on your book cover can—and ought to— promote sales of your memoir.

Here are some guidelines I use to generate a memoir title—for my own titles or for those of a client. I hope they prove helpful to you, too.

How important is a working title?

When you are working on a memoir, you may want to have some way of distinguishing one manuscript from another. You may also be working concurrently on a second or a third book—and that is not unusual for some writers. In that instance, you will want a name so as to be able to distinguish this manuscript from another as you speak to your writing group, your writing coach or a friend.

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writing prompts

Instead of A Writing Prompt – Five Tips for Creating a Memory List

As people are writing a memoir they will sometimes say, “I want to write my stories but I have forgotten so many details. Is there any way I can get them back? Should I use writing prompts or is there something instead of a writing prompt?”

There is one tool above all others that makes the experience of life writing successful. That tool is not a writing prompt: it is the Memory List. No other exercise opens up the process of life writing as quickly and as surely as the thoughtful and thorough compilation of such a list. It’s simple, and as a first step, it’s crucial.

Let me tell you about the Memory List (a general term for your list of memories).

Your Memory List is always a work in process because the more you remember and jot down, the more you’ll recall. You will return to and rework your list again and again as you write your life stories. In short, it will serve as an excellent writing prompt without being a writing prompt.

1. The Memory List consists of short memory notes (three to five words is sufficient) of people, events, relationships, thoughts, feelings, things—anything—from your past.

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How long should it take to write a memoir?

How Long Should It Take to Write a Memoir? Set a Deadline!

How Useful Is A Memoir Timeline?

Have you ever wondered, “How long should it take to write a memoir?”

One answer, of course, is that it takes as long as it takes. While so true, this answer is not useful to those writers who are trying to get their duckies in line—looking at where the time is in their schedules to write, knowing what support to ask from their life partners, etc.

I’ve come up with a calculation for those people who want some sense of how long writing a memoir might take. The following time frame is realistic for any writer who needs a timeline to complete a 200-page memoir. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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memoir pre-writing

Three Tips for Effective Memoir Pre-Writing

Before you begin to write your memoir, there are a number of non-writing tasks which you must undertake—this phase of compiling your lifestory is called memoir pre-writing, and it is essential to writing better stories. People often think of pre-writing as a waste of time, but it is not. It will get your stories written more quickly and more interestingly. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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audience in mind

Should You Write With An Audience in Mind?

While some people decide to write a memoir according to structure—healing memoirs, investigative memoirs, etc—as I wrote in a previous post, others write with an audience in mind. (Writing with structure in mind often calls for writing with an audience in mind, also.) Sometimes the audience is of specific people but many other writers, while they do have a specific audience in mind, are really writing to a group according to their interest.

“I want to write for my kids and grandchildren. I want them to know who I was,” one sort of memoirist will realize. While another will think, “I want to my children and grandchildren to know me, too, and I want to place my life in a greater context. I’m hoping to have readers beyond my kin, readers who are interested in a larger picture of what life was.” [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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after a book is published

How to Organize Your Memoir: Four Ways

Eventually, after you have written awhile, you will likely have amassed a number of vignettes, story segments, and stories and wonder about how to best organize them into a coherent and interesting memoir. You will likely want to make a statement, o create a bigger picture of your story.

How will you do it? Well, one answer is that you will do it by how you organize your story. Below are four ideas to organize your memoir.

Remember: These suggestions do not refer to the sequence in which the stories are written but rather to how they can be ordered after they have been written.

Here are four ways you can organize your memoir.

1) Chronology

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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.
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  • If you are already a member of The Memoir Network, this e-book and others are available to you free in Member Resources.