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21 best memoir-writing tips

How to write a memoir: our 21 Best Memoir-Writing Tips to get you writing—quickly and well.

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 take you through the process of how to write a memoir—an interesting and meaningful memoir. 

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! Don’t skip this post: it 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 from the start. While it’s not huge, but it can be significant.

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telling the truth

Do not waffle in telling the truth

“I have permission [as a memoir writer] not to waffle in my writing,” I was recently informed by a memoir writer.

“Not to waffle” somehow missed the point for me.

Certainly, the memoir writer has permission “not to waffle,” but there is more that is incumbent on the writer. S/he has the obligation not to waffle. As memoir writers, “not to waffle” means to tell our truth about what happened. This is a must. Over the years, I have been amazed at how I can pick up waffling and how, in a workshop setting, others can too. Waffling just comes across waving a “red flag.” So…

Yeah, don’t do it!

But beyond “not to waffle” is telling the truth, the searing truth.

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theme in a memoir

Is Theme in a Memoir The Driving Force?

How important is theme in a memoir?

Theme in a memoir is absolutely important!

Here’s is a distinction between a family-focused autobiography and a  memoir that, I hope, will help you to appreciate the value and the role of theme in your memoir.

First: a reminder of definitions

People are always wanting to know the difference between an autobiography and a memoir. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Fear of Insignificance

Is Your Memoir Silenced by the Fear of Insignificance?

From my own memoir-writing experience and from witnessing the creation experience of memoir writers I have coached, I have found it useful to work with a subcategory of fear as a writing block. Many of us have been silenced by the FEAR OF INSIGNIFICANCE. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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theme in memoir

Is theme important in memoir?

Theme influences choices for every element in the story: plot development, characterization, and setting.

Here’s the shell of a plot: your father was laid off; a difficult time followed for the family; your father received additional training and obtained a different job.

Your treatment of this plot will vary according to your theme.

Let’s suppose the following is your theme: “events whose consequences we can’t understand happen gratuitously to us in our lives, but we can always make the best of things.” In the elaboration of this particular theme (message), you will find it natural to set your father’s being laid off not only with his reaction at the time but also with its consequences. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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