Writing Your Life Story- Struggle or Joy?
Everybody has a story to tell. But the question is: how? If you are on this page, chances are, you are looking for help to write your memoirs or thinking about writing your life story–possibly as memoirs. Writing your memoirs can seem like a daunting task if you are not a writer. And, you may need a memoir writing coach. Unfortunately, a lot of websites or books (written by writers!) on “how to write your memoirs” reinforce the obstacles, not the solutions. As an experienced writing coach who has perfected techniques to help you write your memoirs with joy and positive results, I know how to help you. I know that writing your life story can seem overwhelming and intimidating. To my dismay, other memoir writing coaches, or writing coaches, add to a sense of inadequacy for would-be writers through their clever language and perfunctory advice when they suggest things like: “Just begin” or “Show, don’t tell.”
The Fine Art of Coaching You in How to Write a Memoir
Oddly, some memoir coaches, expert writers themselves, relish in the fact that they know how to write but can’t necessarily explain it. They tell you what to do, but it is “their” way, not necessarily the best way for you. Such advice may discourage anyone who doesn’t have “the knack” for writing. Tragically, these coaches appeal to a sometimes snobbish, always mysterious je ne sais quoi of writing that can leave would-be writers with less experience at their mercy–believing the answer to writing well is inaccessible or feeling ashamed at what they *don’t* know (already). For instance, Mary Karr, Author of The Liar’s Club writes in her book on writing memoirs: “Asking me how to write a memoir is a little like saying, ‘I really want to have sex, where do I start’?” (The Art of Memoir).
I’m here to start by saying that I can help you to write well and be well in your writing. As an experienced writing coach and teacher of writing who has helped thousands of people–from novice to expert writers–to improve their writing and capture their voice: writing your memoirs doesn’t have to be hard. You don’t have to already know “how to start” to begin, and you don’t have to already be a writer to write your memoirs. Writing your memoirs does require a strong intent + action. And, because you’re here, reading this, you’ve already acted on your intention! Congratulations on beginning your memoirs!
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou
Biography versus Memoirs
When your idea won’t go away, when you feel you have a story to tell, it’s time to tell it. It helps to understand or clarify terms: biography, autobiography, and memoirs.
Biography and autobiography are a kind of writing that focuses on a person’s life and that comprehensive in scope. Biography is written about a person; an autobiography is written by the person (or by their ghost writer!). Usually, these are about or by “famous” people. A biography or an autobiography commonly follow a person’s experience of or depiction of events, typically weaving political, economic, or cultural facts as related to a person’s life into a published book. Biography or autobiography share an individual life and perspective in relation to historical events or others to offer readers an interpretation of a famous person’s life in relation to both private and public events. For this reason, autobiographies or biographies (usually) showcase someone who is well-known or famous. This “rant” from a literary agent explains how the publishing world views the difference between autobiography and a memoir.
The Multifaceted Memoir
Memoirs are a flexible and personal kind of writing that allows you to share from your life story, from your unique point of view, to select freely among experiences or events that you choose for your particular purposes or audiences. You can, of course, weave in public events, but memoirs offer you the freedom to write (and usually self-publish) a book based on your story.
In writing memoirs, you don’t necessarily need to adhere to a strict timeline of your life story, nor are you obliged to connect “what happened” to external historical facts. In writing your memoirs, you can enjoy greater freedom in sharing reflections or parts of your life story, based on what is meaningful or important to you, or centered on providing insight to your family, your friends, or whomever you choose to reach.
If you want to share your life with people who can benefit from what you have learned, writing your memoirs may be just the way to do it. Important insights that you have gained from your life experiences provide a solid foundation for compelling memoirs. More than likely, you have faced obstacles in your life, and overcome them. These are the raw material of memoirs. You may have undergone a series of hardships or had a difficult phase of life that it makes sense to write down in your story, peppered with today’s perspective or humor. What might compel you to share your wisdom with others?
Why do you want to write your memoirs?
Maybe you hope to leave your story for your children and grandchildren based on what you remember, and before you forget. Or, maybe you are one of the (growing number!) who feels a need to capture coherence from life’s random data points: to organize key facts and important faces from your files or Facebook photos: to share your meaning not Facebook’s algorithmic memories…
Some people write memoirs to come to terms with their past, and writing your memoirs can help you to put the past to rest and make sense of meaningful events in your life. Using therapeutic writing techniques and narrative therapy to access “forgotten” memories, I can guide you from where you are today to retrieve and to process your past through writing, and to then choose among the many stories you have lived, to find the best story about your life to tell your readers. In working with me, writing your memoirs and completing them will be an enjoyable process, rich with insights and durable meaning.
For whatever reason, if you feel a persistent desire to tell your story, you probably should and I would be happy to be your memoir writing coach to help you to manifest your dream.
My Role as Your Memoir Coach
I provide individually tailored attention in bringing your story to life, whether you are just beginning, lost in the middle, or struggling to complete your book.
I began offering my expertise as a memoir writing coach to bring the benefits of motivational guidance and personal wellness (narrative therapeutic methods), combined with clear and practical support to write well and FINISH what you start. If you are a professional writer you already know that even skilled writers can “fail” to complete their stories for a variety of reasons. I work with professional writers too!
Strong writers use their “natural” ear to decide what to write, but they may never have learned *how* to write. From my 15+ years helping all skill levels of writers by developing techniques and providing support, I understand the many pitfalls (psychological and practical) of writing and know how to overcome these. I bring practical skills to collaborate with each writer to guide them through their challenges, according to their need, skill set, and experience with writing. Working with me, you will benefit from personal guidance and individually tailored feedback.
As your writing guide and memoir coach, I can help you write your story. With my help, you will not “stall out” or fail in writing your story. You can publish your life story!