Memoir Writing Tips
Do you Need Help Writing Your Memoirs?
Here are some Memoir Writing Tips to assist in writing your memoirs. Some of these pertain to creative writing in general, but some are specific to writing personal essays or memoirs.
Writing Memoirs in General:
- Write first, edit later.
The first objective in writing anything is to get it on the page first. Then, you can go back and edit. Trying to edit as you go interrupts the process of getting it out of your head and onto the page. Thus, causing you to lose your thoughts and forget what you were saying.
- Write in the first person.
You are the author and your memoirs are about you, therefore it is natural to write in the first person, using words such as I, my, me, etc.
- Tell the good and the bad
If it's all good, it will be boring and unrelatable. If it's all bad, it will be too depressing and blah. Mixing the bad with the good makes the story much more interesting and believable to the reader.
- Be gracious when writing about others.
Be truthful yet tasteful. Understand the people you include in your writings are real human beings with thoughts, feelings and their own perspectives, they are not fictional characters solely revolving around the universe of you. Use discretion when writing about them.
- Do your best to get it right.
You are creating an historical document based on memory...so do your best to keep it accurate. If references are made to historical events or well-known facts that are recorded elsewhere, do your homework to make sure your writing matches up. You don't want to lose credibility in your story because you didn't get your facts straight.
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- Be yourself
The more true to yourself you are, the more you will shine. Don't try to be someone else, just be yourself. People will relate better to a real person than to someone you might try to portray. For example, if you don't normally use words like calabrate, configure or conjecture, then don't use them in your writing.
- Write with your audience in mind.
Imagine your audience before you start writing, and then write to them. Choose a person you know rather than something arbitrary like "my future children". If you don't have any children yet and would like to address your stories to them, picture someone specific you would consider to be like your future children.
Otherwise, imagine you are writing to a friend, someone specific. You write differently when you address different people. So pick one and stick to writing to them. This will keep your writing consistent. Thus making it easier for your reader, whomever they may be, to follow your story.
Writing about Traumatic Events:
- Distance yourself from the situation.
Write as if the experience belonged to someone you know, rather than yourself. For example, There was a lady I knew who had an abusive spouse...
- Offer advice to someone who has had a similar experience.
Imagine you are talking to someone who is in the same situation now that you were once in and give him/her advice. For example, I know how you feel, I felt the same way. When this happened to me, I... If you can focus on helping someone else with his/her experience you may be able to relay yours better.
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