How To Write A Memoir – The Complete Guide to Memoir Writing for Beginners

How to Write A Memoir | Author Services Australia

How To Write A Memoir – The Complete Guide to Memoir Writing for Beginners

Tips, tricks, and information on how to write a memoir for beginners!


Welcome to our complete guide on how to write a memoir. One of the most commonly requested services we get inquiries for at Author Services Australia is ghostwriting for memoirs or memoir writing assistance. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most challenging services to find writers for.

This is primarily due to the cost associated with working with a ghostwriter on a memoir or biography and the time involved. Unlike a typical fiction or non-fiction project, which a ghostwriter can work on once they have a basic outline.

Ghostwriting a memoir or biography involves a lot of back and forth with the client, and unless the writer is working from diaries, it requires a lot of interviews.

One suggestion we often make is for clients to write their own stories. After all, who would be better to tell your story more than you? While writing a memoir or biography initially sounds intimidating, you might be surprised at how much you can accomplish. Instead of investing thousands in getting someone else to write your story, you could instead invest in high-quality editing services, such as a manuscript evaluation or developmental editing, to polish a story you wrote yourself.

In the following article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to write a memoir and memoir writing for beginners, including:

            1. What Is A Memoir?
            2. How To Write A Memoir
            3. Memoir Writing FAQs

If you’re interested in working with a ghostwriter, be sure to check out What Is Ghostwriting? The Complete Guide to Ghostwriters!


What Is A Memoir?

What Is A Memoir | Author Services AustraliaA memoir isn’t an autobiography. It’s not the story of your life from start to finish. Instead, a memoir is the perfect slice of your life. It could be a story covering part of your life or perhaps a memorable story from your life.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of having too much story to tell or trying to tell too much story within the memoir. An easy way to avoid this is to define a theme for your memoir at the start. Establishing a theme for your memoir will help you reign yourself in when you start getting a little carried off-topic.

Keep the following questions in mind when you’re writing your memoir:

            • How is this scene related to the theme of my memoir?
            • What sense am I trying to imply by writing this scene, and how does it relate to my theme?

Memoir writing is about making sense of your story in a way that readers can relate to. Simply writing about what happened to you isn’t going to draw in readers unless you already have a massive following of people wanting to learn more about you. Celebrities or professional athletes can simply write about what happened, but for the rest of us, our memoir needs to draw readers in and engage with them.

If your memoir lacks a takeaway or reflection, what’s the point of reading it?


How to Write A Memoir

How to Write A Memoir | Author Services AustraliaIf you’ve decided to write a memoir, then your number one goal should be to take potential readers on an exciting journey that they won’t forget. Not only that, you want your memoir to be so good that those readers recommend it to other readers.

Below are our top seven tips for writing a best-selling memoir gathered from around the net and some of the world’s best writers. If you’ve ever written a memoir and have any advice for new writers just getting started, then drop a comment below!

Your advice could mean the world to a new writer as they set out to write their first memoir.


One. Start By Narrowing Your Focus

The entire memoir needs to be written as a snapshot of the theme you established. Imagine your life as a pie. Instead of writing about the whole pie, you’re carefully cutting a slice out of the pie and crafting your memoir around that slice.

Your memoir isn’t an autobiography. It doesn’t start with your birth and covers everything in between. Make a timeline of your life and mark any turning points or pivotal moments. It’s an easy way to identify where the most significant, most important, and pivotal moments in your life are.

You want the reader to walk away after reading your memoir knowing you and the experience you lived with on a deeper level, but also being able to apply what they learned to their own life experiences.


Two. Include More Than Just Your Story

While it’s essential to remember your theme and stay on track, thinking about the bigger picture while you write is an essential aspect of memoir writing.

How do you incorporate this into your memoir writing? Imagine that you’re writing about a four-week trek through the jungle. Obviously, the focus would be on the trek and what you learned along the way. You could also include information about other people on the trek, people you met along the way, how what you learned along the plays into the world as a whole, the geography, animals, history of the area, and factors that led to you embarking on this journey and what you wanted to achieve out of the journey.


Three. Honesty Will Set You Free

Telling the truth is one of the best tips you can learn for writing a powerful memoir. Be genuine and be honest. While you don’t want to hurt any friends or family members when telling your story, and telling the truth can make your life and journey harder as an author, authenticity in your memoir is critical for your readers.

Remember, memoirs are an exploration of the concept of truth as you experience it or see it through your eyes. Try to avoid writing in a bitter or snarky manner. You’re sharing your experience, not trying to get revenge.


Four. Put the Readers In Your Shoes

A good writer or author will show, not tell. For an aspiring memoir writer, this will be essential to your success. Remember, you’re inviting readers into your world and your perspective on events, but you want them to draw their own conclusions.

Using vivid and descriptive language will allow the story to unfold for your readers, enabling them to visualize every scene. You want the reader to feel as if they’re right there with you as the events unfold.

Instead of saying someone had a problem with addiction by stating they were an addict, instead, you could describe how they acted, how they lived, and their actions.


Five. Utilize Fiction Elements to Bring Your Story to Life

The people in your memoir, including yourself, are characters. A well-written memoir will pull readers not only into your life but also the lives of the other people in your memoir. By focusing on a few key characteristics of each character, you can allow readers to connect better with them.

Think about how they talk, how they move, their body language, their style, and how they act. Utilizing elements of fiction writing and using them on your characters will allow readers to build a stronger connection with them.


Six. Creating an Emotional Journey

You want to leave your readers in awe. Laughing, crying, celebrating, cheering you on, or all of the above. You want the ending of every chapter to leave them desperately waiting to start reading the next chapter.

Your memoir story arc should be like climbing a mountain. The top of the mountain or the peak should be the pivotal part of the story, and each step up the mountain should be building toward the peak.

The last thing you want to do is reach the peak too early in your story, but you need to ensure the content along the way is value-adding to the overall memoir.


Seven. Highlight Your Personal Growth

You are the protagonist in your memoir. You need to show readers that you experienced some growth, change, or transformation.

The experiences you write about will carry a lot more weight if you not only show how they affected you but also how you changed and the result of experiencing them did to you. Did they change your approach to life? Did they change how you treat others? Did they allow you to become a better person?

It’s easily one of the most complex parts of writing a memoir, but mastering it will bring your memoir to life.


Memoir Writing FAQs – How to Write A Memoir

Memoir Writing FAQsBelow are some common memoir writing FAQs:

How can I write about myself? – You’d be surprised about how easy it is to write about yourself once you get started. Not only that, but many people find the journey and process of writing a memoir therapeutic and enlightening.

How do you know that it’s a memoir? – Understanding the difference between a memoir, biography, and autobiography can be a little tricky. Basically, a memoir utilizes fictional storytelling methods to give readers an honest and accurate account of an event in your life.

Can an editor help with my memoir writing and editing? – Hiring a professional editor to help you refine and craft your memoir after you complete your first draft is an excellent investment in your book.

Can I self-publish my memoir? – Yes! Self-publishing your memoir is a great and effective way to publish your book.


How To Write A Memoir – The Complete Guide to Memoir Writing for Beginners – Conclusion

If you’ve thought about writing a memoir but have struggled with getting started, then the memoir writing tips above will give you some valuable information, tips, and advice. Remember, writing the first word is always the hardest.

Start with a theme, and then develop an outline. Once you have your outline or timeline locked in, start working your way through the outline and expanding it. If you think one section will be better or easier to write, start with that.

Remember, at the end of the day, it’s your story.

Famous and Bestselling Memoirs

Below are some of the world’s most memorable and popular memoirs if you’re looking for a little inspiration when it comes time to write your memoir:


At Author Services Australia, we support Australian, New Zealand, and International self-published authors and writers with a full range of affordable self-publishing services, including ghostwritingcopyediting, developmental editing, proofreadingebook and paperback formattingbook cover designchildren’s book illustrations, graphic design services, manuscript uploading assistance, and social media and marketing.

If you have written a memoir and need assistance with any self-publishing services such as editing, ebook formatting, paperback formatting, or cover design, send us a message via the Contact Us page.

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