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The decision to write a memoir is a big choice. Sometimes a memoir is written to help others through similar problems that you’ve dealt with successfully, but more often, they’re written just to say, “I have some good stories to tell, they may or may not enlighten or entertain you.”

Any kind of writing journey can be a challenge to navigate alone, and a memoir can have particular challenges. Having another author guide you can make all the difference!

Should you decide to get started on your own, here are some basic tools to support you:

• Some writing ability (or a professional ghost writer – something that I can be for you)
• Patience

• Word processing software

• A copyright

• Good publishing software
(if you are publishing it yourself)

• Someone to proofread it and give her honest & constructive opinion

• Photos, letters or drawings to add to your book for extra interest

• A bevy of memories to recall

What’s helped many writers to jog their memory is to keep a small recorder or a pad of paper and pen with them at all times to record a flash from the past. Even a few words will work – no need to write the whole story at this time. Save it for your morning exercises (10” a day of writing, what I call the daily data dump).

As a memoir author, you can get ideas by listening to some of favorite music from your past. Look at old photographs, magazines, movies, newspapers, or other periodicals of those decades-in-time. Your local library may have access to these vehicles.

Don’t forget to ask family members, friends and other people involved in your life (at different times) what they remember about you.

If you’re a little worried about having your stories stolen, speak with a copyright attorney (I know several). Too, they can help you determine if there are any facts that may be considered libelous.

Be prepared to be honest about your actions, thoughts, feelings and anything that happened to you or within your family. Make sure your emotions come through in your memories. People identify with your vulnerability not your triumphal or teacherly/preacherly orientation (my early lessons in this regard can save you oodles of time).

My strongest recommendation for would-be memoirists, don’t hesitate to get started today. Give me a call and we can see what’s possible as a team. Too many people wait until it’s too late.

Know that I got into this kind of coaching when a 40-year-old friend of mine on her death-bed told me that her only regret was not writing a collection of life-lessons for her daughters. Don’t put this off. I can help you get it done this year!


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