Story of Your Life: How to Start a Memoir
January 8, 2013
What’s the one thing you know the most about? Yourself. You know yourself, your memories, and your interpretations of those better than anyone else. Though others might recall slight differences, your life story is uniquely yours, and the emotions and sensory details you associate with individual experiences can never be recreated by anyone except you. But when you can welcome someone else into your world by sharing some experience, you might find that others think you’re as fascinating as you think you are. And then it hits you: you want to write a memoir. The story of your life started long ago, but the behind-the-scenes story starts now with these tips on how to create your own memoir.
You think you’re sooooo interesting, don’t you? Huh?? Well, maybe you’re right. An interesting story need not be one that includes worldwide travels, curing diseases, or any extraordinary feats. But there at least needs to be some story to tell. The My Life Story Journal from Suck UK can get you started with some memories worth telling or that hold a lot of significance for you with a whopping 1080 pages! Jot down that funny thing that happened today, spill your guts about a bad breakup, or add a photo or other item that can transport you back to that moment when ____. The best thing about this life journal is the sheer amount of possibility: blank pages, lined pages, maps, an “about me” page, an “awards and achievements” page…
Once you’ve got some stories down, devise a timeline to decide what memories will get a part in your life story. While largely chronological, this timeline will be mostly based around your purpose. Regardless, it’s important to also attach anything that would engage a reader with your experience, including details and emotions.
Getting Started… But Really Getting Started
Staring at a blank page can be extremely daunting, and even as a writer, I still struggle with how to begin a writing project. Luckily, Writer’s Digest has provided some advice on composing the beginning of your life story, summarized below for you:
- Gain momentum quickly to capture your reader’s attention and curiosity. This may mean starting with a hook, an emotionally charged experience, or even a blatant expression of how beneficial reading your memoir would be.
- Be confident in your writing, and it will shine through. When your reader picks up on it, s/he will also be confident that you know what you’re doing.
- Be aware of what you’re writing and let it act as a guide for the style you should proceed with. Is it significant within itself or is it a stepping stone for something you’re working towards?
- Establish facts early on– remember that your readers aren’t mind readers, so you need to provide them with what they need to make sense of your life story.
- Be excited about it! You’re writing about yourself– what’s not to love? Let it show, and readers will dig it.
Your life story is just that: yours. Make it compelling, controversial, or comedic. But most of all, make it your own!