20 Essential Tips for Writing Your Own Memoir

If you are planning on writing a memoir of your very own, you should have a set strategy. Remember that a memoir is different from an autobiography. While an autobiography is more detailed and follows a chronological order, memoirs don’t follow these conditions. Instead, they focus on specific parts of the subject’s life and follow a set theme. With these 20 tips, you’ll be able to write a memoir in the most effective and efficient way possible.

Read other memoirs

Before you start writing your own memoir, it is a good idea to read other memoirs as well. They are a great source of inspirations and you could also learn a thing or two about the writing a memoir.  Look for memoirs that are listing in bestsellers lists, and try to take pointers on how the authors write their memoirs.

Be clear with your main goal for writing a memoir

If you are going to write a memoir, it is important that you identify your main goal for writing a memoir. Remember that writing a memoir is often work-intensive, and you will need to put in a good deal of time and resources into this writing project. If your main goal is to earn money off your memoir, you may get disappointed because there is no guarantee that you will make money.

Choose a fitting title

One of the most important things to consider when writing a memoir is the title. Remember that it is one of the first things readers will see of your book. When you choose your title, it should be short, snappy, and memorable. It should also capture the essence of your memoir.

Choose a theme

When it comes to writing a memoir, it is important that you choose a set theme. Remember that your theme is a central concept that your entire memoir will be centered on. These themes could be practically anything, such as redemption, overcoming obstacles in life, or travelling just to name a few examples.

Choose key memories that you will use in your memoir

Remember that your memoir will be made up of key moments in your life. As a rule, you should choose moments that are important to you. They should also be key factors on how you formed your personality and your current state in life.  When you choose these memories, you should be sure that they are fitting for your memoir, and have had a big effect on you.

Set a writing schedule for yourself

As stated earlier, you will be devoting a good deal of your time and effort to writing your memoir. As a rule, you should set a writing schedule for yourself. By having a writing schedule, you will be able to devote a good deal of time to writing your memoir, without it affecting other aspects of your life.

Interview people who are in your story

While you may already know the people you will include in your memoir, you should also take time to interview them as well.  When you interview the people in your story, it is important that you are as polite as possible, and ask for their permission to use them in your memoir. You should also take notes during your interview. This will allow you to look back on your interview as you write your memoir.

Have a target market in mind

If you want your memoir to sell well, it is always a good idea to have a target market in mind. Remember that memoirs are often a very popular genre, and a good number of people like to read them. Take the time to do research on a potential demographic of people that may be interested in your work, and base your writing according to their tastes.

Organize key bits of information that will be used in your memoir

Before you start on your memoir, you should take time to organize key information that will be used in your memoir. This includes the dates, events, and the details of these events. While you should not be too detailed when it comes to writing a memoir, it always helps to be as organized as possible.

Be as honest as possible

When you write your memoir, it is important that you are as honest as possible. Remember that your readers are taking the time to read your book, and they expect you to be as sincere with them. Be open, and avoid lying about yourself or about your life.

Disclose key experiences

If you want to make an impact with your readers, it is important that you are as open with them as possible. By being vulnerable with your readers, you will be able to form a rapport with them. A great way to do this, is to disclose key experiences about your life. These experiences could be a secret that you have kept to yourself for years. However, you should not feel pressured to tell your secrets to the world. You could also write about milder experiences that had a great effect on you. What’s important is that you share a little bit of yourself with the world.

Have an outline

Your outline is yet another thing you should take into account when you write a memoir. While you should not write about your life in chronological order, this does not mean that should not have any form of order. By having a set outline, you will be able to write your memoir in an efficient manner, and avoid any mistakes when it comes to events and people that you will write about in your memoir.

Use various forms of media to jog your memory

While writing your memoir, there may be times where you forget about key bits of information about your life. Especially if these events took place a long time ago. You could look at old pictures, videos and other types of media. Aside from helping them jog your memory, they may also be used to create visuals in your memoir. Overall, it always helps to have an album or videos that shows aspects of your life.

Choose efficient writing tools

If you are going to write for long periods of time, you should use the best writing tools at your disposal. You could write on an iPad a laptop, or by notebook. It all depends on your preferences and the availability of the tool. You may also use writing apps such as Grammarly or Quillbot to make the writing process more efficient, and minimize any grammatical and spelling errors.

Be free with your words

When you write your memoir, you should not limit yourself. Remember that you are telling a story of your life, so you should be as free with your words as possible. Don’t be afraid to say how you felt on a specific event in your life, or how these events changed you as a person. Just remember that you should also be respectful and refrain from writing that could be considered as inflammatory or insulting.

Use fictional elements in your writing

Remember that a memoir is different to an autobiography. You don’t need to be matter-of-fact with your writing. Instead, you should vie to tell a story of your life. Think of your memoir as the story of your life, and you should make it as interesting as possible.

Show your growth as a person

When you write your memoir, it is important that you show your growth as a person. Remember that your readers will read your story, and experience your life through your writing. They will also want to know how you have progressed as a person. Take the time to show your evolution through the years. Show them how your experiences have shaped your perceptions on the world, and how you progressed in life.

Utilize emotion in your writing

A key aspect of writing a memoir, is that you should be able to draw emotion from your readers. Remember that the more emotion you draw from your readers, the more chances they will care about your work. Just be careful when you use emotion in your writing, because if you overdo it, your writing may come out cloying or sappy.

Editing is key

After you finish writing your manuscript, you should resist the urge to have it published right away. Even if you  think that your work is good enough, it may not be up to publishing standards. As a rule, you should edit your manuscript thoroughly. Even though you could edit the manuscript yourself, you should also have a professional look through your work. Skilled editors will tighten up your manuscript and enhance every aspect of it. Their services may be a bit expensive, but they are surely a good investment.

Take your time with your project

When it comes to writing a memoir, it is important that you don’t rush the process. Remember that you are writing your memoir for you. It is a project that is dear to your heart, and it should never be rushed. Take the time to gather key bits of information, and be introspective. You should also enjoy the process. Don’t just write your memoir for monetary gain.


When it comes to writing a memoir, it is important that you have a set strategy. Remember that there are a lot of memoirs out there, so you will need to write a memoir that truly stands out. With these tips, you’ll be able to write a great memoir of your very own.

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