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In this Strategies for Successful Writing category, you will read about processes and props you can implement to increase your success as a memoir writer.

While it would be comforting to think that “wanting to succeed” would be sufficient for success, it simply is not. Nor are best efforts, enthusiasm, and working hard.

You must master the craft—that is, the craft of memoir writing. Success for a memoirist is indexed both on the writer’s experience of best writing practices and ability to access feelings deep inside as well as on the reader’s experience. (The reader after all has to bring much to the story experience.) You don’t however have much control of the reader’s response, but you do of your writing.

Best Practices of Strategies for Successful Writing

As in all professions and trades, there are “best practices” for memoir writing that facilitate and improve your writing experience and your audience’s reading experience.

While no one would contradict that memoir writing is an art and requires intuition and sensibility, it is also a craft that relies on best practices of successful memoir writing.

In conclusion

The posts below will help you to write better narratives. But, don’t stop there. Read your way through the entire Memoir Writer’s Bog. Be sure to read 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.

As one of the most fundamental strategies for successful writing, let’s be sure to emphasize that when writers do not complete their memoir, they cannot be called successful. So…keep writing until you finish.

Good luck with your writing.

truth in memoir

“Making Nice” Will Trip You Up

We all have family stories that we have heard over and over again. When they are told in family gatherings, no one expects any contradiction. After all, the stories are the “truth” about someone in the family but “making nice”—not telling the truth in memoir—will trip you up.

How do you write truth in memoir?

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the best memoir writing book

Should You Create an Outline or a Memory List for your Memoir?

DL: An outline or a Memory List? This is a perennial favorite with the search engines. I consider it to be a foundational post whose info can guide you to success. I hope you enjoy it.

A Memory List is far superior to an outline!

For some writers, there comes a moment in writing a memoir when the audacity of the undertaking hits them. Perhaps they think doorslammers like: “This can take forever.” “Writing a memoir will never pay for itself.” “I can’t afford to do this!” They reach for certainty. And that certainly if often a reversion to essay and report writing. They want an outline to assure the task gets done right. So, an outline or a Memory List?

The following is a comment to someone who asked in the Memoir Forum if she should create an outline and how to know when the page and chapters were the right length.

1. Do not write a memoir from an outline.

I do not write from an outline. Instead, I create a Memory List as outlined in Chapter 2 of Turning Memories Into Memoirs. The Memory List helps you to follow the promptings of the unconscious rather than the dictates of the conscious mind as happens with an outline. (An outline is great for an essay—”The Three Causes of the American Civil War”— but it is the death of an exploratory memoir.) So…

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Writing time wasters to aviod

Writing Time Wasters

I’m no more immune than anyone else to the plague of time wasters. Time wasters are habits we fall into that consume the time we have allotted (or could allot) to writing so that we end up not writing! Here are some of the most insidious that take up too much time and squander my […]

book publishing tips

Don’t Wait To Write Your Story!

It is later than you think. In the years I have been helping people write memoirs, I have seen people die and people grow too old. The energy not only to write deeply but to write a memoir at all has been lost to them; their stories have been lost. We go through our days […]

finish writing your memoir

How to Finish Writing Your Memoir

I’ve noticed that many people who come to The Memoir Network have already been writing a while. They are not people who are  just starting out on the memoir journey. Many have already written 5, 10, 15 or more stories or vignettes. They have been writing for a number of months—sometimes even years—and are concluding that they are spinning their wheels, that they are not producing a book as they so want to do. They realize they are not on the path to bringing their memoirs to a finish. What they are doing is writing stand-along piece after stand-alone piece. Well, a stand-alone piece is not a bad goal really—wouldn’t you love to have stand-alone stories from your grandparents? It’s just that stand-alones are really just not what they want to leave as a legacy. So, how do you finish writing your memoir?

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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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Don't let writer's blok stop you

Not Telling the Truth in a Memoir Can Stop Your Writing

Not telling the truth in a memoir is a great way to block your writing

Many writers say they suffer from writer’s block, yet few understand that they are unable to write easily because they are is not telling the truth in a memoir. Good memoir writing depends on telling the truth.

There are a number of reasons that create difficulty in writing. I don’t want to overuse the term writer’s block because I don’t believe much in it and have seen that the famous writer’s block has been made to answer to too many problems.

1. Dealing with uncomfortable material by not telling the truth in a memoir

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work with and through pain

Work With or Through Pain: Writing Painful Memories

In this video, Work With or Through Pain: Writing Through Painful Memories, I talk about writing through painful memories. Pain is often a barrier to memoir writing. Who wants to revisit difficult times? Although delving into the past is a generally pleasant experience and promotes healing and growth, it can also be painful.

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!
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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.