How To Write A Good Memoir | The Pro Tips

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how to write a good memoirYou’ve got life experience already. You’ve probably been toying with the idea for quite a long time. Now you have to answer the question of how to write a good memoir. 

You can set out with the mission of simply writing a book. Many authors do. The authors that end up successful, and by that I mean, write good books that reach their audience, are those who aspire to write a good one. Quality does not come accidentally. 

I won’t bore you with words of caution you’ve probably heard before. Writing is difficult though. Even for professionals, the so-called experts, writing a good memoir or book presents a challenge. 

Over the course of my career, I have written dozens of books and screenplays. Every single one of them, without fail, has presented its own challenge, either in the character, setting or situation. I have found that the key difference between a professional and someone starting out comes down to the reality that the pros simply have a few more tricks in their arsenal. 

If you’ve been wondering how to write a good memoir, here are a few easy-to-understand tips that can help you get where you want to go.  

Tips For How To Write A Good Memoir

how to write a good memoirThe first advice I give anyone looking to get into writing is be prepared. You can decide to sit down one morning and just start writing, but that might not be the best path.

Do your homework on the subject, however familiar, before you sit down and write. There is a great deal of debate in the writing world between plotting and pantsing. Plotters map out a story in detail, in advance, in order to get clear direction; a pantser flies by the seat of theirs, making it up as they go.

I’m not going to come down on one side or another (at least in this particular blog). I do believe that it is very important to spend at least some time early on in reflection. If you’re writing a personal memoir, look at pictures, read letters, talk to other people involved in the story.

The next piece of advice I give is to really feel your creative freedom. The blank page can be very intimidating to new writers (and experienced ones, too) and the best way to beat that is to start writing. 

I had a writing coach once tell me: “Go wherever the muse takes you.” Over the years, I have taken that advice to mean, let go and just write the story. See where that impulse takes you. However much plotting you do beforehand, give yourself room to experience the magic of creative writing. 

Another thing I tell new writers is to avoid seeking outside feedback; at least too early on in the process. Attaboys from family or friends are good to get you started. They help when you’re struggling with doubt. Remember that those people want to encourage and support you. It’s nice to hear those positive things (believe me, you want positivity)  but so much positivity  can stunt growth. 

Early on, I encourage you to write and focus your attention on getting that story down on the page. Those early scenes, chapters and drafts are definitely going to be raw and in need of refinement. Once you’ve gotten the story down and feel like you’ve reached a good place, find a writing group or a critique partner. Hire a memoir writing coach. 

Why do I advise going to these people over friends? While the people close to us want us to succeed, rarely do they have the skills to make us successful. 

Last, but certainly not least, be open minded to where this new creative journey goes. Even the most meticulous plotters among us deviate from their outlines. The best characters change in their journey onto the page, sometimes quite mysteriously. Sometimes when we start, what we think the story is about is different from what it ends up being.

Creating a story is a dynamic process. Give into that reality. 

Where You Go From Here

Good writing comes as a part of a process. I believe that anyone can do it. 

If you apply these tips to writing your first book, I assure you that it will come a little easier. If you continue to apply them to another, your second book, the process will come a little easier still. Then with your third, or your fourth… well, you get the general idea.

Every writer is a little different. When you start writing, you’ll add to that 

I believe the tools for how to write a good memoir are about acceptance and a particular mindset. It’s about understanding how the writing process works for you.

I hope this blog addressed some of your questions about how to write a good memoir. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. 

memoir writing promptsHave you always wanted to write your life story? Do you ever sit down to write but find you get lost? Do you struggle to get the story down the right way? If you answered yes to either of these questions, memoir ghostwriting may be the best solution for you. 

I believe every one of us has a book in us. If you’re trying to write a memoir, or considering it, now is a great time (actually, it may be the best time). I have written a book, Memoir Writing: The Nine Things You Need To Know to help you get off the ground. 

Don’t wait. Get your free eBook Memoir Writing: The Nine Things You Need To Know by clicking here to download today.

I created this volume to be a short and easy to read. The goal is to help you understand everything you need to know, from getting started to all the reasons why now is a great time to write a book.

Contact For Ghostwriter Services

erick mertz, ghostwriting services, screenplay ghostwritersIf you are serious about hiring a professional ghostwriter for your book, screenplay, or non-fiction story, or you need help with editing or self-publishing your manuscript, please contact me via email, or call.

Every new contact receives a free 30-minute 1:1 consultation about their ghostwriting project or manuscript consultation.

Additionally, I offer all independent and self-publishing authors a 10% discount on my already affordable services.

Erick MertzHow To Write A Good Memoir | The Pro Tips
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Hiring A Memoir Writing Coach

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memoir writing coach

Finding the right person can be a real challenge, regardless of the job. This applies to mechanics, contractors, and a memoir writing coach. The right fit matters a lot. 

I live in an old house. For the last ten years, in my basement, I’ve had an old bathroom and utility room. They’re next door to my office and for a very long time I have wanted to renovate them. 

It wasn’t until I found the right person for the job that I ended up going through with it. 

Many of the projects we undertake require us to look outside of our own skills and abilities to accomplish them. We all want to work with the right people. It’s quite natural, I think, to build partnerships more based on the feel of being around a person than their so-called expertise.

Although this notion has been around for a long time, I don’t think this is old fashioned thinking. This isn’t quaint. We need to feel a rapport with the person we’re entrusting with our work.

What Does A Memoir Writing Coach Do?

When it comes to writing, whether the project is a feature length screenplay or a novel, you want the writer you choose to understand you. You want them to really get what you’re looking for.

When it comes to a memoir writing coach, the need is similar. 

Think of a memoir writing coach like a consultant. You’re hiring a high level professional to help direct you to the finish. We take your memoir in whatever its current form, whether that means a finished first draft or still in scattered notes, and develop that idea into a publishable manuscript. We help you find new directions when you feel stuck. A writing good coach digs into the memoir’s core story and character conflicts and helps you come up with ways to improve them.

What Are The Three Keys?

What goes into making that kind of professional, creative relationship work? When I work with an editor or consultant, I look at three things:

  1. The ability to listen. A memoir writing coach needs to understand what you’re looking for out of your book. Are you looking to break in with a traditional publisher? Or is the intended audience family and friends? To understand that, they need to be a receptive listener.
  2. An expertise in storytelling. All the listening in the world isn’t going to matter unless that person is able to transform the product on the page.
  3. The ability to communicate solutions. In my mind, this is the most important element of all. The best memoir writing coach will understand what you’re looking for, apply their expertise to your work, and then come back with a creative solution. 

By now what I’m describing should be clear. I’m talking about rapport. I’ve worked with some fantastically talented editors and coaches. The ones I go back to, however, are the ones that understand me. They understand my work and where I want to take it.

Ask Your Memoir Writing Coach For A Sample

If you’re in the market for a memoir writing coach then take this bit of advice. Interview a few before making your final decision. Pay attention to how well they listen to you. Ask about their work enough that you get a sense of their story expertise. These are keys.

As a last important step, I recommend requesting a sample consultation. Ask some of your final choices to look at a chapter before hiring them. A sample edit, while imperfect, affords you the chance to receive their feedback. If you can take their feedback and constructive criticism and feel energized then you have the right person on your team.  

I hope this blog addressed some of your questions about hiring a memoir writing coach. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. 

memoir writing promptsHave you always wanted to write your life story? Do you ever sit down to write but find you get lost? Do you struggle to get the story down the right way? If you answered yes to either of these questions, memoir ghostwriting may be the best solution for you. 

I believe every one of us has a book in us. If you’re trying to write a memoir, or considering it, now is a great time (actually, it may be the best time). I have written a book, Memoir Writing: The Nine Things You Need To Know to help you get off the ground. 

Don’t wait. Get your free eBook Memoir Writing: The Nine Things You Need To Know by clicking here to download today.

I created this volume to be a short and easy to read. The goal is to help you understand everything you need to know, from getting started to all the reasons why now is a great time to write a book.

Contact For Ghostwriter Services

erick mertz, ghostwriting services, screenplay ghostwritersIf you are serious about hiring a professional ghostwriter for your book, screenplay, or non-fiction story, or you need help with editing or self-publishing your manuscript, please contact me via email, or call.

Every new contact receives a free 30-minute 1:1 consultation about their ghostwriting project or manuscript consultation.

Additionally, I offer all independent and self-publishing authors a 10% discount on my already affordable services.

Erick MertzHiring A Memoir Writing Coach
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Memoir Writing Prompts

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memoir writing prompts, erick mertzAre you stuck in your writing? Have you started writing your memoir but now find you aren’t exactly sure how to get the best version of your story out on the page? This is a place familiar to many writers and a reason why memoir writing prompts can be such useful tools.

A memoir isn’t just a whimsical collection of anecdotes from a person’s life. If you want to reach your potential readers then you need to affect them in profound ways.

You need to change how they think about their lives. 

How do successful memoir writers create memorable works? The answer is simple: they get deep. They don’t simply relay a story from the subject’s life. They reconstruct crucial moments by creating vivid, memorable scenes drawn out of memory. 

Why Use Memoir Writing Prompts?

erick mertz, memoir promptsYou’ve probably read that writing can be quite a difficult pursuit. That sentiment rings true even for the most seasoned and successful professionals. When we think about writing our own stories (those where the events take place in our lives) the process can seem deceptively easy. 

If it happened to you, it should come to us intuitively, right?

In a few rare instances, using our own lives as source material makes for easy writing. In a majority of situations however, I have found that personal connection to the source material provides more of a challenge. 

Things get in the way. Time blurs the image. Perspectives change. Trauma resonates. 

As a professional writer, I think it’s important to have a few tricks and tools up your sleeve. When I’m working with a memoir client, I use writing prompts. They provide a neutral place where we can start from.

The List Of My 31 Favorite Prompts

Memoir writing prompts help shake the memory free. Ask yourself a few of these questions to start exploring your memories and feelings about the past. These can help you take a big step forward in getting your story down.

  1. What is your earliest memory?
  2. Was there anything strange or unusual about your birth?
  3. Do you have any siblings? What are their names?
  4. Describe your home town to someone that has never been there before.
  5. Were you close with your parents?
  6. When you were young, what did your parents do for a living? 
  7. What do you remember about your parent’s relationship? Were they together? 
  8. What is your happiest childhood memory?
  9. Did you have pets growing up? 
  10. What did you remember wanting to be when you grew up?
  11. Who were your childhood heroes?
  12. What was your early relationship to religion? Has that relationship changed over the years?
  13. Who was your best friend growing up? Tell the story of how you became friends?
  14. Describe your grade school experience.
  15. What social groups did you fit into while you were in school?
  16. What was your favorite subject while in school?
  17. Describe your first “crush”.
  18. What were your adolescent challenges?
  19. Who was your first love? 
  20. When did you finally leave your parent’s home?
  21. Have you had the opportunity to travel?
  22. What was your first paying job? What do you remember most about it?
  23. How did you spend your money as a kid? 
  24. Looking back, what “normal” thing now seems a little messed up?
  25. Do you have children of your own? 
  26. Talk about a time you felt alone. Talk about a time you felt particularly loved. 
  27. Do you have a “lost love”? If so, talk about your relationship and what caused you to separate.
  28. What has been the greatest challenge in your life so far?
  29. Talk about a person from your past, alive or dead, that you would love to see again.
  30. What is unique about your family? 
  31. What is something you learned later in life that you wish you knew as a young person?

Those are just a few of many! There are so many more prompts you could use to get started. If your personal exploration leads you to new memoir writing prompts, start building your own list. 

Memoir Writing Prompts: What Now?

Writing prompts are a great way to get your next session started. If you’re writing a memoir, and you find yourself stuck with where to go, pick one of these prompts and start writing out the answer.  

Choose whichever question you think will get you started. If you’re working on a memoir about your childhood, it may help to do some exploratory writing about early heroes. Even if your memoir isn’t about your heroes, the act of thinking creatively in those terms will almost certainly move your process along.

Remember that there is no right way to answer these prompts. You’re not necessarily writing for your memoir. The writing you do here is more like thinking on the page, or journaling, an exercise that gets your process started.

Writing memoir is all about exploring the past in a creative way. Memory can be very tricky. Look at your story in a unique light by using these prompts to bring it to the surface. 

I hope this blog addressed some of your needs with these memoir writing prompts. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. 

erick mertz, memoir writing promptsHave you always wanted to write your life story? Do you ever sit down to write but find you get lost? Do you struggle to get the story down the right way? If you answered yes to either of these questions, memoir ghostwriting may be the best solution for you. 

I believe every one of us has a book in us. If you’re trying to write a memoir, or considering it, now is a great time (actually, it may be the best time). I have written a book, Memoir Writing: The Nine Things You Need To Know to help you get off the ground. 

Don’t wait. Get your free eBook Memoir Writing: The Nine Things You Need To Know by clicking here to download today.

I created this volume to be short and easy to read. The goal is to help you understand everything you need to know, from getting started to all the reasons why now is a great time to write a book.

Contact For Ghostwriter Services

erick mertz, ghostwriting services, screenplay ghostwritersIf you are serious about hiring a professional ghostwriter for your book, screenplay, or non-fiction story, or you need help with editing or self-publishing your manuscript, please contact me via email, or call.

Every new contact receives a free 30-minute 1:1 consultation about their ghostwriting project or manuscript consultation.

Additionally, I offer all independent and self-publishing authors a 10% discount on my already affordable services.

Erick MertzMemoir Writing Prompts
KEEP READING!