How to Write a Memoir

How to Write a Memoir

With professional advice on how to write a memoir, you will be inspired in your writing. A memoir is a narrative based on your personal experience and you can always write a particular aspect of your life for example, your travel through Africa, your struggle to overcome a specific phobia or a relationship with your mother or father. It can also be about an event that you underwent, a specific period of your life, for instance mother hood and you can also write a memoir on the impact of your own life outside an event for instance, divorce of your parents, an economic crisis or war.

Five important tips on how to write a memoir

Write a memoir and not a life autobiography

This is an important step to writing a good memoir. Do not confuse a memoir with a life autobiography. Remember, an autobiography tells the story your entire but a memoir is just a story of a part of your life. Therefore, it is good to brainstorm and ask yourself what you really want to write about. You can write countless memoirs based on the purpose of your writing.

Diagram your life

You can have one burning story that you wish to write about. Another person can have a lot of stories therefore; it is wise to diagram your life. Get yourself in a retrospective mood, get the help of a spouse or a friend and plot the most significant events in your life.

When writing the events, be honest and thoughtful because there will always be one pivotal event that stands out among the rest. Get the most meaningful and intriguing event to write as your memoir.

You can also try to divide your life events by making critical choices, identifying conflicts, lessons, beliefs, mistakes and influential people. Experiment until you settle for one story that deserves to be told in paper. It is an important guideline on how to write a memoir that will enable you to write an incredible piece.

Do not start at the beginning

When writing a memoir, do not follow a chronological format to tell your story. This will make your memoir too predictable. In this relevance, focus on your favorite books and rivet with an instant action or even intrigue.

Remember, a good memoir start should be done with ease and is a tease. Such a strategy will give your target audience more than enough time to get hooked to your writing without generating any divulging result. What’s more, it flashes back to the chronological start and it will in the end fill in the background of your paper.

Make use of your senses

To have an easy time when writing a memoir, it is imperative to make the most of your senses. This will enable you to create new vivid worlds for the target audience to inhabit. The first draft of the memoir can be flat hence the need to write clearly. Ensure to do everything in detail and utilize all your senses to create one moment in time. For example, you can be in an office, stuck in traffic or in doctors waiting room but you take note of smells, textures, sounds and different sights. Using your senses makes your memoir writing simple, brings in reality and makes your story memorable.

Build your muscle and master the art of how to write a memoir

The truth that many people do not understand about writing is that you have a muscle for writing. It needs to be flexed for it to work well. For this reason, set up a daily routine or goal for writing a given number of words say in the morning or in the evening.

Do not worry about perfecting your writing but stay disciplined in memoir writing and on getting the story right. Most of all, relax, carry out extensive research and ensure you are familiar with every character in your story. Tell it as it is but in an interesting way.

How to write a memoir with good elements

A good memoir features its essential elements. Therefore, it is imperative that you understand how to write a memoir that contains

  • The desire line
  • Actions
  • Obstacles or challenges
  • Emotional beats
  • The intimidating incident and the
  • Ending

The desire line– when writing a memoir, ask yourself what do you want to achieve in your story telling. This can be stated in a sentence, for example, I wanted to love my stepson or I wanted to weigh 160 pounds as a model.

The desire line can change when ending your memoir but it should always be one that makes your story worth reading.

It should also be specific as much as possible

Avoid vague desires such as, ‘I wanted to be loved’’ because they are too obvious

The Obstacles

With a desire line in mind, plan your story; know what you did to get what you desired and what got in the way. For instance, your desire line can be ‘I wanted’ and the action or obstacle can be ‘to get it, I……) or but……and so on.

Most importantly, remember that you are the action hero and you should try as much as possible to solve the issue. Push on until you get what you really want. You can always list the things you want and obstacles that make your writing more precise.

Emotional Beats

One of the guidelines to writing a good memoir is making the most of emotional beats. This is because a memoir is an emotional journey. The events in the story always reveal a shift in emotion that you, as the narrator go through, step by step or event by event. The shifts are known as beats.

The Initiating incident

Beats can be minor and others are major turning points. The most significant beat comes at the beginning of your memoir. The initiating incident therefore should be the complicated part of the story, for example, the day you quit drinking or when you realized that you wanted to divorce.

You can achieve the status quo before an initiating incident. This reveals the real you in life before a turning point.

The Turning Point

This is the end point of the memoir and is very crucial. Memoirs do not go on and on and you should master how to write a memoir that has a good ending incident. This is the part where you get what you want or fail to get or even stop wanting and the story comes to an end with an arc.

How to write a memoir arc

When a memoir comes to an end, you should draw your own arc. Define all the elements of the arc and put them in an outline including the accompanying beat.

Take time to structure the story before writing and ensure the arc is something that you can complete in an hour or so. Remember the arc challenges you to analyze your emotions, intentions and complexities of events.

How to write a memoir that is readable

To write a memoir that is readable, it is essential to be

  • Honest
  • Factual
  • Trust yourself
  • Have an A to Z list of important ideas,
  • Avoid fuss
  • Avoid muss
  • And avoid grammar and spelling errors by proofread your memoir

 Examples of Memoirs

Example 1….The First Moment of …The Sixties
By: Joseph Duffy

I was sure that when the Fifties would come to an end. They would end on 31st December 1959, at the stroke of midnight. I was eleven, just a young boy at the moment and my twin brother and I were helping my mum to baby sit our sister Betty. It was a big deal as the decade would be changing, something new, and something I had not experienced in the past. I was also young to fully understand what was happening but I had……Read more of this memoir at

Example 2
The Ten Second Lesson by Norhafixah Manaf

It happened in Tokyo during the World Championship Games in 1991. The 100m men finals was about to take place. Certainly, there was a highly cheerful festive atmosphere late in the evening in Tokyo and the sun was just about to set.- Retrieved from

Example 3
Scars: Life in Injuries
By David Owen

On a hill in the neighborhood, the place where I grew up in Kansas City, there was a suburban ruin that we named the Burned down House. There was a crumbling court where we played tennis most of the time and it was overgrown by a chain link fence. There was also a concrete slab and a space filled with dirt underneath…During the summer of 1972 when I was in high school.

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