Top Menu

theme-focused memoir

The Theme-focused Memoir

We'd love to have you access this content. It's in our members-only area, but you're in luck: becoming a member is easy and it's free.

Already a Member?

Not a Member Yet?

While many of the people whom I have helped to write a memoir have come ostensibly to write about their lives – to celebrate some achievement, I would say that many of these people are also writing a mission-driven memoir, a theme-focused memoir. Behind the desire to tell about their lives, there is some intent […]

While many of the people whom I have helped to write a memoir have come ostensibly to write about their lives – to celebrate some achievement, I would say that many of these people are also writing a mission-driven memoir, a theme-focused memoir.

Behind the desire to tell about their lives, there is some intent to promote a point of view. This comes under many guises. Generally, of course, this point of view is called “theme.”

The theme-focused memoir is the most common model.

Writing a manuscript only of one’s experience—the dates, the facts, the activities—may often not enough to entice the reader—at least, it will not interest the reader who is not family and friends.

What the general reader seems to enjoy is the development of a theme: a point of view that animates and interprets one’s experience on the page. Many memoirs are meant to promote specific outcomes rather than simply portray a life. In that sense, they are theme-focused memoirs.They are often written for an audience of like minded people.

Varieties of the theme-focused memoir

1.Authors of a business memoir are often promoting their point of view about how to be successful in work and life. There are two kinds of business memoirs:

  • Some “business memoirs” celebrate the past of the writer. Business Boy to Business Man is one such book.
  • Other business memoirs are written by coaches, consultants and other professionals who write about their experience in order to have a credentializing document and attract new clients. Whether these people are relationship coaches financial assistants, or general memoir writing coaches, they aspire to have a book to share with prospective clients. Their goal, of course, is to attract clients by demonstrating that the coach-author has walked the walk and can help the client to achieve results.

2. A second category is the religious memoir. I’ve had a number of clients who label themselves as Christians – generally Protestant fundamentalists – who want to promote some religious tenet. What they are doing is really advocating for a point of view. The writer of a religious memoir is hoping to create some affiliation with the reader so that the reader may come to endorse some aspect of the religious commitment of the writer. This “testimony” is within a long-standing tradition of the theme-focused memoir.

3. Still other categories have themes that include the dangers of drug addiction, the incompatibility of sexual promiscuity with marital fidelity, and so forth. These people are often coaches who have websites and companies that seek to attract clients but they can also just simply be parents or friends or relatives of people who have come to unfortunate ends.

All memoirs have to be packaged in an attractive book.

Some writers undertake the design and layout of a book on their own. Those who have skills, talents, and resources may succeed at producing a book that looks like it came from a New York publisher.

Most people, however, lack the wherewithal to produce an attractive book. If your book is destined for your children and siblings, the look of the book probably doesn’t make much of a difference. Go ahead and ask you niece who is “real good at art” to create a cover for you. Whatever she produces will be fine. But…

If you hope to influence people both to heed your message and to search you out for coaching or consulting services, you must create a book that looks professional. For this standard, your niece who is “real good at art” will most likely not meet the grade.

In conclusion

Good luck with your writing. Write today. Write every day.

Sooner than you think, you could be showing off your book to your intended audience and winning kudos.

Action Steps for a more theme-focused memoir

  1. What is the theme of your memoir?
  2. Have you fully developed it in your text?
  3. What might you do to enhance the theme?

, , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply