Write a Memoir, Leave a Legacy

Should you write a memoir? It's definitely a hot genre and people seem to enjoy reading them. But should you write one?

What is a memoir?

Simply put, a memoir is a collection of memories or events from a person's life, usually written by that person. 

It differs from an autobiography in that it doesn't necessarily span the person's entire life. Rather, a good memoir focuses on a specific time or a collection of moments from a life. 

Biographies and autobiographies strive to tell the whole life story of a person. A memoir tries to draw the reader into the select memories the writer wants to share.

Why should I write a memoir?

While this is a question only you can answer, there are a few key reasons people choose this form of nonfiction writing. 

old photos hold old memories

Some write a memoir to preserve something from their past.

Perhaps they want to capture what it was like to live in a certain place or a certain time so that future readers can have a first-person, immediate understanding of the experience.

Others will write in order to work through events that have haunted them. For instance, many will write the stories of the abuses they suffered at the hands of another.

Or they will want to share the heartbreak of a loss. In some cases, doing so allows them to heal while also letting others know they are not alone.

Finally, there are those that write a memoir to leave a personal legacy.

In this case, they may write it only for family members to read. Something that can be passed down to children and grandchildren to connect them with their past.

Who should write memoirs?

It may seem that only those with exciting lives or extraordinarily hard lives have written memoirs. But that's not the case at all. 

emotion happy sad angry feelingsEvoke Emotion

Much magic can be found in the simple moments of life. In the mundane or the common. 

The key to making those moments worth writing about is how you approach it.

You can make a simple act like walking a child to school something powerful and compelling if you evoke emotion. And if you include the key details, including other people who were there. 

Basically, anyone can write a memoir. All you have to do is find those moments that you can share with others. 

Here are a few memoirs by people with ordinary lives:

Child of the Holocaust

Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family

A Piece of Cake: A Memoir

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