Journey of Memoir: The Three Stages of Memoir Writing

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Hilarious, disturbing, and a page-turner, the controversial book drew accusations of betrayal and exaggeration from members of the adopted family.

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One of the most readable classics, it consists of two parts: A young Orwell slaves for subsistence wages in the bowels of a Paris restaurant, and then tramps around London among the most destitute. Following the death of her mother, the author hikes the PCT from Southern California to Oregon, grieving and working through her demons.

Likely few possess the skills, resourcefulness and endurance that allowed him to survive a day drift across the Atlantic. This is the story of the path that led her to recovery. Knapp makes it clear in this lucid account that she knows where she came from, she knows where untreated addiction leads, and, with the help of her step program, she knows where her sobriety can take her.

Eat, Pray, Love , by Elizabeth Gilbert After a difficult divorce and bout of depression, Elizabeth Gilbert embarks on a journey of soul-searching and self-discovery by traveling to three countries—Italy, India, and Indonesia.

What Qualifies as a Memoir?

She seeks pleasure, spirituality, and balance and finds a beautiful combination of all three and more in this inspirational read. When Breath Becomes Air , by Paul Kalanithi At 36 years old, just as Paul Kalanithi is about to complete his training as a neurosurgeon, he suddenly finds himself in the patient role, diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. This posthumously published memoir is both devastating and inspiring—a must-read for everyone. Upon reading the journal she kept for two years while her family was in hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam, it would seem that she did find that friend—her diary, the pages of which reveal the indestructible nature of the human spirit.

Her delivery is hilarious and insightful, making for an uplifting, laugh-out-loud read. The Memory Palace , by Mira Bartok Mira Bartok grew up with a very talented but very ill mother who suffered from schizophrenia, but after a incident in which her mother cuts her with broken glass, Bartok and her sister, Rachel, make the decision to flee.

After a year estrangement, Bartok is in an accident that causes memory loss, leading her to reconnect with a mother who is now homeless and dying of stomach cancer. The heartbreaking and moving story deals with forgiveness, physical and emotional healing, and the complexities of mother-daughter relationships. In , Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were taken from their home to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Three Stages of Memoir Writing

He lost his innocence and his entire family to pure evil and remained dedicated to bearing witness to the horror experienced by so many. My Misspent Youth , by Meghan Daum Mentions of things like America Online will certainly date this collection of personal essays by nonfiction writer extraordinaire Meghan Daum. But the sharp, ironic, and funny writing is timeless. Daum covers everything from her hatred of carpet to being a year-old working a low-paying job while trying to pay rent on the Upper East Side of New York.

You understand through experience what it means to flip through the memory banks, to confront your truths and memories. You understand the process of writing a memoir more than you did when you set out.

The Compelling Memoirs You Have To Read

The layers of your life and memories are clearer, and you probably have a glimpse of the later stages of the memoir. You have been learning how to write—the ways that language works, how sentences and paragraphs build into chapters.

You have been building your strengths and insights that will help you finish your memoir. About Linda Joy Myers. Watch the interview itty-bitty here, or better yet on a full screen on YouTube:.


  • Linda Joy Myers | National Association Memoir Writers.
  • The Compelling Memoirs You Have To Read!
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Return to top of page. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Last Name. Essentially, you can teach others how to get through what you did or even how to learn from their own journeys just as you have yours. Somehow, we find it too hard to put our own lives into words through a meaningful message.

The Power of Memoir: How to Write Your Healing Story by Linda Joy Myers

How do you really sum up an accumulation of years and years of experience in only a couple hundred pages? What sets memoirs apart from a simple retelling of your life is an overarching theme or message that others can take away from it — and that you personally learned from the stories you share. What will they learn or realize or gain from reading about your life?

You can ask yourself those very same questions about your life to find the answers. What have you learned throughout your life? Now that you know the overall theme and message of your memoir and what will set it apart, you have to connect the dots of your life to that core focus. Here are a few areas to think about specifically to help jog some of those memories in order to help you know how to write a memoir worth reading:. There are so many areas that have a direct influence over how you perceive life as a whole. You just have to do a little digging to spark some specific memories that can circle back to the overarching theme of your memoir.

Knowing how to write a memoir involves knowing when your message will be loudest. To get readers to relate, you might have to show them that many people experience the same thing. Others have gone through the same situations you have and came out with the same perspective.

You can even interview family or friends who might see an experience you share differently than you. One of the hardest parts about writing a memoir is the fact that we tend to be a wee bit biased with ourselves. In order to learn how to write a memoir that really touches people in deep, emotional ways, you have to learn to be honest. When it comes to creating intrigue with your writing — and trust me, you want to do this, especially for a memoir — you have to write by showing, not telling. Essentially, showing versus telling is the way in which you describe your experiences with an emphasis on emotion.


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Open yourself up to the truth behind who you are today. You have your focus, right? Having that overarching message is going to help you tie all of your memories together in a cohesive manner.


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Some experiences may have led you to moments of realization that then led you to other events that tie into the main message you want others to gain from reading your memoir. Usually, writing a memoir is about looking back on your life and determining how you made it to who you are today. Each chapter should bring your readers back to your present-day life and how each memory affected where you are today.

And that means I have to be real with you and tell you that people want to hear your personality! Learning how to write a memoir includes figuring out how to put more of you into the pages. How do you ensure others will like our memoir? Write it in a way that makes it an entertaining read for yourself! Even though this is a memoir, there should still be a climax to keep readers intrigued.