Guest Writers / Tips

Write your very own memoir? Yes, you can!


Memoir writing can be hard. Between recall, literary structure, personal privacy, motivation and tying stories together, it can become overwhelming fast.

Flickr: Carl Wycoff

Flickr: Carl Wycoff

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But here you are, reading about how to make it easier. It is likely you have come to realize some of these challenges or are at least intrigued by the thought of memoir writing.

Confidence is key, and preparation is golden. Just because memoir writing can be daunting does not mean it isn’t worth the effort, or is impossible for the majority of writers.

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Here are a couple mental roadblocks to bust through before seriously addressing your writing:

First, memoirs are not just for the rich, famous, and uber-accomplished; they are for everyone and anyone. Memoirs are collections of memories presented in an artistic way. Regular people have plenty of interesting stories and perspectives to share from their lives.

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And even if the number of engrossing stories are few and far between, mundane of events can be compelling if written well. Think of writers who make beautiful poetry out of observing daily objects or events. However, it is likely there have been a couple intriguing events in everyone’s life, well worth writing about. So don’t take yourself out of the game before you’ve even started.

Second, perspective and structure are crucial. How you present the character(s) and how you structure the memories, will determine much of the ease and enjoyment of reading. Make it a pleasant experience, not confusing.

Third, add details, details, details. One thing that trips people up while writing memoirs is detail recall. One must not overly fret about the exact minuscule details, but it is important to be truthful. Memoir writing is based on true events, but the exact details are not expected to be carbon copied. So add details, but do not feel that each and every single thing must be 100 percent accurate.

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So consider the fact that memoir writing is a possibility for anyone, and give it a try if it strikes your fancy. Do not fret over the teeny-tiny details, but remember to add some sort of richness and context to your story. Use an engaging, but not confusing structure while sorting the flow of the piece. And most importantly, keep it funny, profound and insightful. Best of luck.

Susan J. Peck is a freelance writer and student. She is currently writing for and is a contributing writer at . Learn more about Susan here:

Susan J. Peck

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