How to Write Your Memoir (With or Without a Ghostwriter)
You don’t need to have worked in the White House, starred in movies, or entered a monastery to write a compelling memoir. You don’t even have to be old. All you need is a great story—perhaps an impressive accomplishment, a near-death experience, or an awe-inspiring adventure. People love a good story. They like to make emotional connections and feel inspired, and an eloquent memoir can achieve that.
A memoir needs an interesting subject, structure, and good writing. If you have the first one, a ghostwriter can handle the other two, telling your story professionally in your own voice. There are various aspects to consider when plotting out your memoir.
Discover your theme
People care about themes (rags to riches, redemption, justice) more than just your achievements. Ask yourself: What’s most important to you? What are your biggest life lessons? What events have shaken you to your core? Dig deep, and ask friends and relatives. You can try looking at these moments from other people’s points of view, which is useful for gaining new insights since your friends and family may have a different interpretation of the events in your life.
They shouldn’t all be happy memories—that would be dreadfully boring. If you’re willing to be vulnerable, to show all sides of yourself in your memoir, you’ll have a more captivating story that makes you more personable.
Outline your structure
Once you have your overarching ideas, you can create your outline. You’re writing from a place of truth, but it’s not a textbook—there’s an art to telling truthful accounts in an engaging way. A good guideline is to structure it like a story.
You’re probably familiar with the three-act structure from movies and novels. Find a compelling place to begin your story, like a crisis or a moment of reflection. What’s important is that it piques the audience’s interest and makes it want to keep reading. You can go back to the chronological beginning once your readers are invested. Ask yourself, “If I saw this on TV, would I keep watching?”
When you begin, the scenes need to flow. Try to find the connective tissue—people, places, and emotions—to keep your memoir from feeling disjointed. Making an outline first will help you connect the pieces. Some of the connections may still be rough, but that’s what the long process of revisions is for. Third-party input can be of great help here; once your rough draft is written, get friends or relatives to read through it and provide feedback on the cohesion of the narrative.
Channel your truth
How you felt on your journey is more relatable than what you saw. Stories are all about emotion. Speak from the heart, with sincerity. Don’t fear the bumpier parts. Times of fragility and dishonesty make you more human and likable. Utilizing your emotions is a great way to find your voice. Let your style and personality shine through for a unique, authentic memoir.
Lastly, don’t lie. The internet can disprove your whoppers, and you’d always know that the public image you’d built up was a shameful lie. You don’t need to anyway: People want someone relatable. An impactful memoir should strike a balance between your successes and failures.
These tips will help you start working on your memoir, but it’s still an arduous task. Fortunately, you have another option, one that still gives you all the glory of publishing a memoir without the excruciating time and effort that goes into actually writing one.
Hire a ghostwriter
You don’t need to tackle a full-length book alone. Consider outsourcing. In fact, ghostwriters pen the majority of well-known memoirs and autobiographies. It’s still your story, with your name displayed proudly on the cover, but they do the heavy lifting. There are a number of merits to hiring a ghostwriter for your memoir.
- Speed: What could take you years to complete might be wrapped up in months with a skilled ghostwriter who already has a structure and method in place. Also, it’s easy to put a book on the back burner. Your ghostwriter will focus on the project, guaranteeing that it does get completed.
- Craftsmanship: Professional writers have experience in a variety of genres. They know how to write and make your account even more fascinating. Unless you’re a professional writer yourself, a ghostwriter can almost certainly weave a better narrative than you could.
- Objectivity: You’re not (presumably) a Tibetan monk; unwavering self-honesty is hard. An impartial opinion can make you reevaluate your story, resulting in a more nuanced and interesting book. Your ghostwriter can also help you shape a more marketable narrative since they have a solid grasp of what readers want.
- Research: Your ghostwriter will extensively interview you about your life and story. Their pointed questions can bring to the surface details you may have forgotten. There’s also fact-checking and research—you might find out things you never knew.
A lot of work goes into crafting a memoir. You can certainly try it solo. However, working with a ghostwriter is often the better option, leading to a more professional and marketable memoir. To learn more, check out our ghostwriting services for memoirs. If you’re still in the middle of your adventure, you can also hire a ghostwriter for your business.