How Do I Write A Memoir?


It is quite important to define what a memoir is, as opposed to the many other genres of books available for you to write. The main idea that needs to be at the forefront of your mind is that it is about you and your and a part of your past. It is not an autobiography – must have a theme. A prospective publisher will define a memoir as only covering a specific area (theme) of your past. Whereas an autobiography will cover you entire history step-by-step.

Mistakes To Steer Clear Of

  • Preaching to your readership
  • Being too specific in detail making your memoir a tedious read
  • Not being entirely honest with your audience or yourself
  • Making your memoir reed too much like an autobiography (missing a theme)
  • Boasting. Trying too hard sound superior to you readership
    Adopting the wrong tone – (funny, sarcastic, condescending)


More about themes

Being definite about your theme is a must. The theme in a your memoir is its message running through unfolding of your tale, or the ‘big idea.’ Its the essential belief regarding a life you are trying to convey showing how do I write a memoir. The belief you unravel, concept or idea, must transcend all cultural barriers. It is usually widely accepted and universal in nature.

Write Your Memoir Like a Novel

Your book will be factually accurate in the fact it surrounds your experienced real life events, but that’s all. The majority of what you write will be pure fiction. All the techniques of gripping your reader through showing not telling… [tell] there was always the threat of my strict, drunken uncle becoming violent… [show] forever frightened I would cower underneath the table, holding my breath in anticipation of another drunken beating from my erratic uncle… Names, events, times, places and motives can all be changed to protect the innocent and give you the tools to produce a page-turning best seller. Memoirs are fast becoming the choice of avid readers and are fairly thin on the ground as regards quite a largely saturated book market. Agents and publishers are falling over themselves to discover the sparkling diamond of the next great novelist to explode in the genre.

Where to Begin Your Memoir

Your aim in discovering how do I write a memoir is to thoroughly engross your readers to the extent of them not being able to put down your book. The best place to initiate you story is to leap strait in to the middle of the main events of your story, working your way forwards or backwards, achieving gripping effects along the way. By far the best way to get an idea of how to perform your task is to read as many examples of how other writers have achieved their success.

Before starting to write my own memoir I read upwards of 25 other people’s memoirs to gauge what the task involved and get an idea of how to proceed. Below is a selection of the best 10 examples I encountered