Write Your Memoir in 8 Simple Steps


Writing a memoir can be a daunting task for many aspiring writers, but it doesn’t have to be. With these few tips and tricks, Synova shows you how to break the task down to a manageable size.


#1. Gather Ideas

Don’t start randomly writing and expect to complete a book. Instead, take your time to gather all the ideas into a notebook or word file on your computer. Inevitably ideas seem to hit me at 2 am when I’m supposed to be sleeping. Collect the stories whether you think they will fit or not. Then you can edit out the unnecessary ones later. 

#2 Discover Your Purpose:

Narrow your focus and discover why you want to write a book in the first place. Do you want to share your experiences with your grandkids, or are you looking to help an audience of trauma victims? Determine your purpose before you begin, and you’ll find this will guide you through the writing, editing, and eventually marketing processes. 

#3 What Is the Growth Experience?

Memoirs need to convey your growth experience, not just tell a story. The reader expects to see a change in you throughout the book. What have you learned from this life experience? How did you arrive at this new place of growth and maturity? How will it help the reader? Is it relatable?

#4 Narrow the Focus

A memoir is not an autobiography that tells a person’s entire life story. Instead, a memoir is about a specific life event or journey. Don’t write it in chronological order. You still need to hook your reader with a compelling first chapter. Sometimes it’s best to start at the lowest point in the hero’s journey and then cut back to the beginning. 

#5 Show Don’t Tell

As with any good writing, make sure you paint a picture in the reader’s mind with your words. Don’t merely tell them event by event in a sequential order like a textbook. Use descriptive words that relate to the person’s five senses. Express the emotions you felt during the journey. 

#6 Be Honest

Don’t embellish a story to make it more interesting. If you feel it needs embellishing, then perhaps it isn’t pertinent to the story and needs to be cut out entirely. Be honest with yourself during the planning process. You have to be brutally honest some times when writing in this genre. Are you ready to open yourself up to the critique of millions? This question you must answer when writing a memoir.

#7 Write the 1st Draft

Planning is essential, but at some point, you have to sit down and write. I encourage my authors to write in “topics.” Instead of worrying about what to write next, pick out twenty topics you want to include, and write about each topic. Then you can go back and arrange them in a logical order. For more information on this type of writing, check out my video on the subject here.

Some people find it easier to write using the “interview method.” To accomplish this, you interview yourself as a journalist would. This concept helps some writers focus and get the information down. Use whichever technique that works best for you. The important thing is to get the first draft written. You can edit and revise later. 

#8 Traditional vs. Indie Publishing

Decide how you would like to publish your book BEFORE you complete the manuscript. You will need to do different things, depending on your decision. For example, if you publish traditionally, you must follow their guidelines on word counts, topics, and publishing schedules. If you choose indie publishing, then the word counts are up to you. 

After working through these eight tips, the important thing to remember is to enjoy the journey. Don’t stress over the process. Get your message down on paper, or on a word file on your computer. You can always hire editors to spruce up your work. Remember, don’t be preachy when it comes to the “moral of the story.” Humans learn best when they come to their own conclusions. Also, remember to consider others when writing about the people in your life’s journey. They may not want to be included in such a personal story. If this is the case, you might change their name, or omit them entirely. Whatever the case may be, remember that if you feel compelled to write your story, then there’s someone out there who needs to read it. 


Recommended Reading:

We either think our lives are so special that everyone should be interested in what’s happened to us, or so ordinary that we can’t imagine anyone would care. The truth lies somewhere in between: yes, we are all special, and no, people will notcare—unless we write with them in mind.Joanne Fedler, a beloved writing teacher and mentor, has written Your Story to help all people, even those who don’t necessarily identify as “writers,” value their life stories and write them in such a way that they transcend the personal and speak into a universal story. This book shows how to write from your life, but for the benefit of others. Each human life is unique, and the meaning we each make from our joys and suffering can, if written with a reader in mind, be an act of generosity and sharing. Filled with practical wisdom and tools, the book tackles: •mindset issues that prevent us from writing •ways to develop trust (in yourself, the process, the mystery) •triggers or prompts to elicit our own stories •Joanne’s original techniques for “lifewriting” developed over a decade of teaching and mentoring •and much more”Joanne understands the writer’s loneliness,” says one such writer whose life she’s touched, the award-winning Israeli author Nava Semel. “In this book she has created a menu of encouraging possibilities on how to overcome our fears and dig deep into our souls, so that our true voice can emerge.”


This book emphasizes the process of creating your memoirs. This can help you turn writing and thinking about your life into an experience that has a new purpose. It is designed so you can write about one aspect of your life at a time, thus reducing the complexity and removing the stress of trying to create one long continuous story.You will find answers to question you never knew to ask. It is about your family history, social history, to share with your descendants and the world.Babette Jenny, PsyD says this, “As a clinical psychologist, I find this book very helpful for clients who seek a clearer sense of who they are and their personal life journey. It is very flexible and user friendly. This book can be approached from a variety of perspectives, whether it be photos and artwork, narratives, lists, or documents. It allows the user to work at their own pace, dipping in and out of memories, periods of time, events and emotion, gradually assembling a coherent whole that is the story of their life.” By Wendy Comstock, “…In addition to being a wonderful way for people to refelect on their past, this workbook is also an outstanding roadmap for younger people just starting their careers and families, reminding us that creating meaningful memoirs and recording them, in emotionally relevant ways is a wonderful way for people to connect across generations.. I envision lingering over this workbook for some time to come, reflecting, remembering, bridging significant memories, and making deeper meaning from the experiences in my life.” Wendy Comstock, MD This book is divided into 100 topic with hundreds of questions, 26 A-Z tool sheets to ask about the factual info of your life and then a life calendar you fill


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