To find a memoir to read, it will probably work better to look at some of the links below, rather than just googling. For your third blog post (finding a memoir online that connects to your chosen theme), you can use any of the memoirs listed below–except the student memoirs listed at bottom of page. I’ll try to add some more links shortly (1/26).
Here’s a favorite of mine, from a wonderful book-length memoir called Without a Map by Meredith Hall:
“Killing Chickens“ (this essay would fit the “family” theme)
As you read the essay, pay attention to Hall’s use of sharp images to convey powerful emotion. Think about what the essay is “about,” what universal issues are embedded in Hall’s personal experience. How can you connect to her experiences though you may be no chicken-murderer yourself?
Here’s one that would fit education: Heal McKnight’s “The Hard Part of Community College“
And here’s one that would fit health theme: Alissa Nuttig’s “An Appointment with Dread.” And another nice one from the New York Times: Dana Jennings’s “After Cancer, Everyday Miracles.”
You may find some inspiration, in the form of model essays connected to your theme, by browsing through the site This I Believe.
Here are links to some other sites/literary journals that publish memoirs:
The Sun Magazine
Orion Magazine (this would be a good one to look at for nature memoirs)
Bellevue Literary Magazine (focuses on health-related issues)
Sample student essays
Here’sa great essay that would fit the family theme.
Here’s one the fits a food theme, andhere’s one for sports.
A memoir essay refers to a recounting of your life story, based around a specific focus, or a particular event that occurred in your life. Usually, there is a certain theme to the memoir, such as a specific topic you wish to discuss, related to specific memories from your past. The memoir may be sad, happy or a bit of both. As you learn to In this article, we’ll look at how to write a memoir step by step. However, like all good essays, a memoir begins with some pre-writing tasks.
Before You Begin
While some memoirs are rambling affairs that have very little direction, you will probably want to do a little planning. Choose your focus before you begin yourmemoir. What point do you want to get across? Which of your memories are most relevant to this? An outline will help you write more efficiently and will ensure you actually make your point, rather than get lost in ramblings.
Once you know what point you want to share, sit down and write a list of events in your life that pertain to it. Choose one or a series of these memories and events to cover in your book.
Some memoirs cover an entire childhood. Others cover a single journey or event. The choice is yours. Take a look over a memoir example or two so you have a better idea of what it entails. Remember that a memoir is not an autobiography. It doesn’t cover your entire life, just certain parts of it.
Step One: Create a Memoir Outline
Having a basic memoir outline to work from will help you stay on track. Decide how you plan to structure your book and then go from there. You don’t have to build up a full outline, just note down what you want to write about in each section or chapter. A student memoir outline can serve as an example to get you started, or you can use one of our templates. For some people, using a memoir graphic organizer helps organize those elusive memories.
Staying on track can be difficult when you’re writing up your memories. It’s easy to follow the thread that leads to a less enlightening memory. For the sake of the article, stick to a specific focus and pare your recollections down to fit that focus. Stay on topic and you can make your point.
Step Two: Write the Memoir
Writing can be the most difficult part, especially since writing about your life can be an emotional experience. Getting the words down on paper is the most important part, so set a specific time each day to get writing and then do it.
The trick to writing out your first draft is to simply write, without judgment or editing. Get the words down and then you can fix any mistakes later.
Step Three: Revise and Edit
Once you have your first draft completed, leave the writing for a few days. This lets your brain refresh and you’ll be able to look at the memoir with new eyes. Read over it, editing for clarity and eliminated errors. This step will go faster than writing, but it can still take some serious time.
Step Four: Polish Your Memoir
Before you send your memoir out into the world, you should make sure it’s the best it can be. This means a final pass to find the last of the mistakes and to ensure the wording is just right. Grammatical and spelling errors should be sought out and fixed. Nothing looks less professional than using the wrong tense or verb in your writing.
Have someone else read over the memoir before you publish it for everyone to see. Often, someone else can see mistakes that you can’t find, thanks to being so close to the project. If you have a friend or professor who can check the document before it goes public, make use of them.
Step Five: Publish the Memoir
Now that you’re sure the memoir is as good as it can get, you’re ready to publish. This step is scary, but it is worth it to share your work. You have now polished and perfected the memoir and it’s ready to go out into the world.
How to Write a Memoir People Will Love
If you plan to publish your memoir, as most people do, you will want to follow a memoir format. The format ensures you end up with a professional result. It’s what you’ll get when you work with a memoir template.
Add some dialog. Memoirs can get a bit boring when you’re talking about yourself the entire time and dialog can break it up a bit. You don’t have to recall every word that was said, just use the general gist and write it up as dialog to make the story better.
Use vivid language to describe your scenes. A bland retelling of a memory won’t keep the reader interested, but if you make them feel like they were there, you’ll have a great chance of people continuing to read the whole article. Don’t use words like “very” when you can expound on the actual word. For example, use “enormous” instead of “very big.”
Finally, be sure to leave your readers feeling like they’ve learned something. Whether they laughed or cried, they should feel like there was a reason to read what you wrote. The better they feel about it, the more likely they are to share it. The trick to making a memoir memorable is to create emotion and build a lesson into it. When someone finishes the book, they should have knowledge of something new.
Once you’ve completed the memoir, look back and decide if it drives home the original point you decided to make. This is the real test of a good memoir. Did it accomplish its purpose? If so, you’ve done a great job.
Still not sure how to begin a memoir? Use our memoir template to get started with prompts to help you every step of the way.