What is memoir, and why should you write yours?
Essentially, memoir is a collection of memories in narrative form, a story composed of events you experienced in your life. Memoir makes visible and weaves together the connecting threads of those events and gives meaning to them. And that’s the primary difference between autobiography — which chronicles your life from birth to the present — and memoir; memoir pulls related events from your life and examines them, turns them around and inside out like taffy, and shapes them into a story that communicates your perspective and truth to others.
But don’t you have to have had a difficult life to write a memoir worth reading?
No, you don’t. Many memoirs are about difficult subjects: poverty, abuse, mental and physical illnesses, death, and loss. But it isn’t necessary to have a hard life in order to write a meaningful memoir.
In a *Writer’s Digest article, Jeanette Walls, author of the classic memoir, The Glass Castle, is quoted as having said, “One of the lessons I’ve learned from writing this memoir is how much we all have in common. So many of us think that certain things only happened to us and somehow they make us less of a person. I’m constantly urging people, especially older folks, to write about their lives. It gives you new perspective. Memoir is about handing over your life to someone and saying, This is what I went through, this is who I am, and maybe you can learn something from it. It’s honestly sharing what you think, feel, and have gone through. If you can do that effectively, then somebody gets the wisdom and benefit of your experience without having to live it.”Memoir shapes life events into a story that communicates your truth to others. Click To Tweet
I don’t think I can give a better definition of memoir than that. But if you need more motivation, here are five reasons you to write your memoir:
- Writing your memoir helps you to identify the threads and themes in your life and make sense of what you’ve lived.
- Writing about your life is a healing and transformative journey.
- Your memoir contributes to recorded history and is your legacy to family, friends, and the world.
- It provides a way to share your experiences, world view, life lessons, and wisdom with others.
- It connects you with others who have experienced the same or similar situations, providing encouragement, comfort, and inspiration. It helps others understand they are not alone in their experiences.
The world is waiting for your story. Will you write it?
Writers Digest article: “Great Tips on How to Write Your Memoir”