What is a Memoir?

What is a Memoir?
Personal narrative and memoir writing is very popular today. If you are interested in writing about your life, looking into writing a memoir is a worthy endeavor. Before you begin however, let’s define what a memoir is and what it is not.

First and foremost, a memoir is a specific time or piece of your life. Like a painting an artist creates, that freezes a moment of time for us to remember and enjoy over and over again. Memoir is a slice of your life; perhaps after a traumatic event, after a war experience, or an unusual or intriguing adventure you had and how you moved through it, as well as what you learned or how you changed as a person from it.

Many people today confuse memoir writing with autobiography. Autobiography is a book written about a person’s whole life, from beginning to end, or the point they arrived at when the book is published.

Another confusion comes with biography, which is a full life story written by someone other than the person the book is about.

Still a third confusion jumps on the scene with writing family histories. Family histories, in their purest sense, are written to leave the history of the person to family members to keep and pass down through their posterity. Most family histories are written without consideration of publication other than enough copies for the family members to treasure.

A memoir is most often written for publication, though many of us have written memoirs that turned out to be healing journeys that brought a much needed understanding from events that had taken place in our lives. This is fine. Many times a writer will begin the adventure of writing a memoir for one reason, only to discover in the process of writing, remembering, feeling, and experiencing their past that the book turned out to be something entirely different.

I find memoir writing to be a freeing adventure. I have written a few through the years, and, like some other writers, my first memoirs turned out to be a healing balm for my life. Now I am writing one that is intended for publication. Like all writing though, there are definite ways to write a memoir to make it enjoyable for a large audience of readers.

To help clear up a lot of confusion and guide you in the right direction, I am putting together a series of articles that will become an ebook on writing a memoir for publication.

In addition, I am finishing up a book called: Writing to Soothe the Soul. My hope is to provide a way to help writers free themselves from the chains that bind them, when they first attempt to write about an aspect of their lives they are feeling a strong tug to write about.

By creating two distinct how-to books, I hope to build a bridge for those who start out with one goal, like publication for example, and find themselves at another place when they are done.

Join me for some fun and informative articles and ebooks to help you navigate the exciting, yet challenging, waters of memoir writing.

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