Ever Thought of Writing Your Memoirs (Before You Die)?
Doesn't it seem like everyone is coming out with their own memoirs or autobiography? This type of book is an individual's entire life that highlights their achievements, lessons learned, regrets — basically a collection of timeless wisdom accumulated through that individual's life. Writing your own Memoirs not only has the power to sell like hotcakes but can inspire future generations. The nuggets of wisdom that you articulate in writing can shed light on thought processes that help overcome adversity and create comeback power. The type of qualities inherent in winning people, winning teams, and winning organizations.
Plus, writing your own Memoirs is a nifty little gift that you can pass on to your grandchildren.
Barack Obama, ex-POTUS, published his memoirs in November of 2017, titled: A Promised Land. Now that is someone you'd think would get a lot of attention because the public would want to know what the previous leader of the free world had to say on many things. Fortunately, we don't think it matters. You don't have to be a celebrity or someone famous to start writing your memoirs. After all, being famous is not a set standard in determining the validity of one's gathered wisdom. Factory workers who struggled day in & day out have insights, wisdom, and knowledge just as valuable as a former president or CEO of a company. In fact, some might argue that the actual "workers" have the most honest knowledge available on how to live a clean, wholesome, and purposeful life.
The point is this: Everyone has their own story to tell. Memoir writing is a wonderous exercise that can bring one's life into the light for introspection.
The Power of Words
People have an innate desire to communicate with one another. They want to tell their stories and have their stories told to them. A Memoir is an inherently personal genre that allows readers to talk about personal events that they might not otherwise feel comfortable talking about. Perhaps the memoir's ultimate power is to encourage readers to relive their own lives and relate to one another in the real world, not in some imaginary cosmos. A good true tale is the only thing that brings people together more than a good story.
Perhaps the most basic method to combat that toxic, restricting force that vows to put us in a single generic box is writing a memoir, honestly and passionately, about life as we perceive it. We act opposite to the unseen forces that define our lives by writing down the words that characterize how we move through the world. We assert our authority as experts on our own experiences, overriding the chorus of voices clamouring to tell us who and what we should be. Simply telling the truth about how we live is incredibly subversive for minorities of any kind.
Your life experiences can be the thing that could help give someone the courage to be who they are.
Love To Journal? Try Writing a Memoir
A memoir is defined as "a narrative composed from personal experience." I don't know about you, but that hits close to home for us here at JournalOwl (a bunch of fellow journalers). We know the importance of putting pen to paper and letting one's experiences speak for themselves.
A journal is a record of events that occur over time and are written about specific events. It makes no mention of the person to whom these events occurred. Journals are frequently kept daily or regularly to record events, transactions, or observations.
Memoirs are not autobiographies. Memoirs aren't made up of isolated events. Memoirs are about the threads or patterns that connect such events. "A memoir is not what occurs, but the person to whom things happen," Virginia Woolf argues. Writing a memoir is all about bringing the mundane aspects of our lives to live in such a way that they become noteworthy.
So without furder ado, here are five tips you can use to start writing your memoirs like Barack Obama or write your personalized meditations like the stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius.
5 Tips For Starting A Memoir: Remember, It's Not An Autobiography
It's best not to write your full autobiography. All memoir writers include pieces from their personal lives in their work, but trying to give your complete life narrative in one sitting might be difficult. After all, it's hard to condense a million distinct experiences from your life into a single book. Focus on specific instances in your life when writing memoirs, such as a vivid emotional recall or pivotal occurrences that changed your life path.
Because the phrases are commonly used interchangeably, and there is a lot of overlap between them, it's easy to get confused. However, a few key characteristics can help you identify between the two and ensure you're using the correct term. Knowing the distinction will also assist you in choosing what to read: when you pick up a book labeled memoir vs autobiography, you should know what you're getting into.
Stick To The Truth
When you write a memoir, you promise the reader that what you're telling them is an accurate account of your own life from your point of view. When you recall memories that involve other people, including family members who may remember things differently, it's tempting to censor yourself. Maintain your story's integrity while also honoring their right to privacy; for example, you may change their names or use initials. You are the only one who can decide what should stay and what should go, but remember to tell the truth.
One of the most difficult aspects of writing a memoir is overcoming our natural bias toward ourselves. That is correct. Nobody enjoys admitting their flaws. It's one thing to recognize when you've made a mistake in life; it's quite another to write it down for all to see. It's difficult. We want everyone to know the greatest version of ourselves, so we omit things or outright lie to make ourselves appear "better" in their eyes. You must learn to be honest to learn how to write a memoir that truly impacts people on a deep, emotional level.
Write For Yourself
It's important to remember that the end goal of this is to help you feel better, not just to go forth to publish this book. It's therapeutic to write your own memoir. However, keep in mind that you have an audience when sharing personal anecdotes. When you write, don't just focus on yourself. Keep the reader in mind at all times. Make sure your personal narrative is interesting.
Memoirs are not the time to be estranged from your emotions. In fact, it's the polar opposite. It's time to delve deep and show the world what sort of author you are by being vulnerable and sharing your life experiences.
Allow yourself to see the truth of who you are now. If you try to hide your feelings in any manner, it will show up in your memoir and make it less effective. You could feel uncomfortable writing some recollections at first, but after a few days, you'll find it easier to reveal your truth.
And the best part? You'll be glad you did it.
Write A Little Each Day
This may seem self-evident, but the best thing you can do to begin writing your memoir is to write every day. Make an effort to establish a routine. Choose a location and a time of day where you can write every day. Set a daily word count goal for yourself. Check to see if you're on track to reach your deadline (and if you're self-publishing, set and stick to your own deadline). Completing daily creative writing or freewriting activities will help you build your writing muscles and unlock stuck areas of your memoir if you have trouble writing.
In most cases, writing a memoir entails reflecting on your life and establishing how you came to be the person you are now. What events have led you to the core of who you are now? That implies your book will feature behind-the-scenes glimpses into your current life. Each chapter should return your readers to your current situation and explain how each memory influenced where you are now.
Learn From Fiction Writing
An excellent memoir should be as captivating as a best-selling novel. Even if you're drawing from your own life experience, you should feel free to use novels and short stories techniques in your work. To create suspense, recreate scenarios with conversation. Instead of overloading with exposition, "show, don't tell" by describing the action. These strategies will bring life and color to your writing.
A memoir is a genuine account of your life, but it should also have the structural components that make fiction interesting. In your exposition, make sure to identify yourself as the main character, draw out the environment, plant the source of conflict, and tease out the core theme to set the tone for the rest of the book. Create a tale framework with a solid beginning, middle, and end to create a story that the reader can follow.
We hope you are ready to try out this new phase in your life with the tips provided to you above!
JournalOwl is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, medication, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptoms or conditions. JournalOwl is not authorized to make recommendations about medication or serve as a substitute for professional advice. You should never disregard professional psychological or medical advice, or delay in seeking treatment, based on anything you read on JournalOwl’s website or platform.