Why write a memoir, because every book is a memoir and here’s why!

I am almost always reading or rereading a writing fundamentals book to keep my skills sharp and fresh as a book writing coach. I’m currently reading – “Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within” by Natalie Goldberg. This book was originally published in 1986, it became a bestselling writing handbook over the years and was rereleased in 2005 and then again in 2016.

(Hear more from Natalie’s book on this episode of my daily podcast for authors.)

Here’s one of my favorite parts: “I don’t think everyone wants to create the great American novel, but we all have a dream of telling our stories – of realizing what we think, feel, and see before we die. Writing is a path to meet ourselves and become intimate.”

This speaks brilliantly to two of my favorite points about writing memoirs:

1) I love helping authors write memoirs – part biography, part creative writing, part therapy.

2) Oh, and by the way… Every book is a memoir.

Because everything you write is written by you and therefore has you, your life, your stories, and your perspectives, on every single page.

This is true even if you’re writing a technical manual on how to build a lawn mower. As an author devoted to storytelling in every single thing you write, stories will inevitably creep into the manual. Maybe you will include stories about the first time you used a lawn mower, the smell of fresh cut grass in your childhood and memories that smell evokes to this day, the chore of raking up cut grass into piles with your siblings, or funny stories about your dad’s lawn mower mishaps.

I just now remembered my father’s meticulously organized file cabinet and his rather quirky sorting system. The manual for his rider lawn mower was filed under “R” – for rider mower. He clearly missed his calling as a librarian!

Why write a memoir?

The art of memoir is unavoidable, irresistible to readers, and has the power to build rapport in a way that few other art forms do.

As humans, we are walking memoirs. Writers just make the choice and commitment to put our stories in print for others to enjoy, relate to, and learn from.

By the way, my clients, memoir authors included, are doing some pretty impressive things lately, including watching as their books are being turned into movies! Read more here.

Need help finding the memoir aspect of your book? Start with these fun writing prompts to uncover the fascination in your life stories!


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