Writing Your Truth: Five Tips to Help Write Your Memoir

It's not necessary to be a Nobel Prize winner to "qualify" for writing a memoir. Everyday people shape history! If you are feeling inspired to write a memoir, here are some things to keep in mind.

  1. While memoirs are usually presented in chronological order, you don't have to write the contents that way. Start writing what feels most important to you. You can fill in sections as you go.
  2. You don't have to share everything that ever happened. You may discover a theme in your writing and choose to only share the experiences you feel the best fit that theme. A memoir is not a full autobiography. Use your personal experiences to share your larger message
  3. Know when to respect your own personal boundaries, and when to push yourself just a bit. It's okay to do some emotional work as you write, seeking to understand your past experiences in context with your current life. You get to choose where your boundaries are before publication.
  4. Some of the experiences you choose to share may be delicate or affect other people. It's okay to choose alternate names for friends and family members, or change details for the sake of confidentiality. (Be sure to keep a "translation" file, so you keep those alterations consistent!)
  5. In many cases, the details of your everyday life are exactly the sorts of detail your readers will want most. What was "everyday" for you at different points in life? What got you  through? What skills did you add? How much did things cost? These details may seem too common to include, but they can add very relatable details for your readers.

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