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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.


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, 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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book tour

Why a Book Tour Works

 DL: Why does a Book Tour work? It does so because it allows people to know, like and trust you—essential characteristics of any selling and buying relationship. The following is about some of what I have learned about book tours.

That fall evening in 1992, there were no parking spaces along the town’s Main Street as I approached the library, a copy of my recently published book, Turning Memories Into Memoirs / A Handbook for Writing Lifestories, lying on the passenger seat, its width thickened by slips of paper to indicate places from which I wanted to read at my program.

As I drove up to the site of my first outreach since the book’s publication, incredibly, I had been beaten to parking spots by dozens and dozens of cars that now lined the town’s Main Street.

Well! How exciting could that be! This was my fifth book and my first how-to. I had great hopes for it. I had been leading memoir-writing workshops for the previous four years, and Turning Memories Into Memoirs was the summation of my teaching and coaching. It was truly a compendium that covered memoir writing from A to Z, and any writer making use of its many suggestions and guidelines was likely to succeed at undertaking and finishing an interesting and meaningful memoir.

The publicity—press releases, calendar of events, posters—was what was available at the time (1992), and I had, as they say, “covered my bases.” And now, it was the moment of my big launch at the local library—from which I had launched my four previous books—and that evening, I was apparently doing so to a full house! How exciting to have every available street parking space taken.

Not only do I always enjoy going up and down the rows of seats at the beginning of a program to ask people where they are at in their memoir-writing project but I feel it is important for establishing rapport with the attendees. Now, keeping my excitement in check, I knew I had to focus on finding a parking spot so I might rush into the library to be there not only on-time but to be there to “work the crowd.”

So, it was with a solid sense of anticipation that I found a parking spot on a side street and rushed to the library, joining the line of people streaming into the building.

Dashing inside, I entered the room where I was to read. It was sparsely filled!

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