Writing a Personal Memoir

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Personal memoirs are of  interest to a wide audience. You can find publishers who like memoirs. Memoirs and remembrances are very popular as ebooks or in blog series. Here are 10 tips for starting yours.

  1. If you call your personal story a memoir and present it as fact, it has to be TRUTH.
  2. Identify the focus of your story, as in any good writing, and keep it sharp.
  3. Verify your facts. Check dates, places, people’s names and so forth.
  4. Don’t use the story or memoir as a way to slamdunk an enemy or a relative who has always bugged you, especially if that person is living. It’s fine to paint reality, even if the reality is a bit negative. Personal attacks can get you sued. Use aliases if in doubt.
  5. Use vivid language, colorful word images, and tight writing to compel your readers’ interest. Cut out at least 3/4 of the adjectives when you edit.
  6. Begin the memoir as a series of blog entries if you feel overwhelmed by the thought of writing a whole book. Even Wikipedia had to begin with a single word. Once you compile your blog – a print edition may be in the cards.
  7. Read lots of published memoirs. Learn a lot.
  8. Start the process, write everyday, and don’t edit yourself in each sentence. Unfold the story like an onion, layer by layer and enjoy the journey.
  9. Reconnect with people who populate the pages of your life and let them refresh your memories. It’s a terrific way to reach out, anyway.
  10. Convey feelings as well as data. Create a sense of place. Read Case Report: Military Rape.

Now, meditate on your topic. Grab a pen and paper or pull up to your keyboard and write your first section. Let me know how you do.

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