Monday, April 5, 2010

Storia Della Mia Vita: How to Write a Memoir

Writing your own memoir is a task many people dream of undertaking, but once you get to it, it can be easy to get discouraged. No matter what kind of story you are trying to tell, a memoir is intensely personal and the process can be exhausting. If you have decided that you have a story to be told, whether it is intended for the mass market or even just your close family and friends, a memoir is a serious undertaking.
The first step is to get organized. Decide how you want to tell your story. The most logical flow for a memoir is chronological, but this may not always work, depending on your story. Create a timeline of the events and time periods that you want to cover in your book. This will help you get organized for all of the information that you want to include.
Next, decide which events will be included and which may not be as important. If something pivotal happened in your life, then it will definitely need to be included. If you are discussing what you had for breakfast in 1963, it probably isn't as important, unless of course you developed food poisoning that changed your life. Weigh everything in context to see just what you want to include in your book.
The most important piece of advice is to take your own ego out of the equation. Even the most humble of us still has an ego and it can be easy to overlook things or include things that paint you in a certain light but may not tell the story honestly. Aim to be honest with your readers, even if it hurts. A memoir can be anything from a thrilling adventure to a stirring confessional – but it has to be honest.
If you qualify, we will publish your book at our expense. Email your proposal to


  1. I decided I would never dare write a memoir - it seems my memories never agree with anyone else's when we talk - so selective and subjective. But then the "me" I remember demanded a story and turned out to be someone else, so at least that got all the memoir stuff out of my system.

  2. Beginning with a timeline can lock the author into a chronologically organized memoir without giving her the opportunity to make a real decision about what kind of organization would work best for the stories she wants to tell. I always advise writers to begin with their stories - to generate as many as they can. Then, looking at the raw material of the book, the author can make decisions on which must be included and which might best left out. Organizational decisions are easier when the author knows what she's organizing.


Who links to my website?