Writing A Memoir — The Power Of A Story That Takes Readers On An Unforgettable Journey

Posted: January 14, 2018

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Many of us have stories to tell from our own lives. But writing a memoir is difficult to master! How to write a powerful self story? Find out with #WomenOnTheMove.

Memoir — an odd mixture of biography, storytelling, personal essay, and even a novel — a genre that looks easy on the outside, after all it is a re-telling of your own life’s story. Yet it is extremely difficult to master. The nature of a memoir is a deep personal story of the author; hence, you tend to get carried away by strong emotions, making it difficult to approach with the same level of professionalism as other genres.

Another challenge, when writing a memoir, is to hold and keep the reader’s attention. Writing a memoir also gets tricky because although you are telling your own story, you cannot write in a snarky manner or with a bitter tone. The storytelling needs to be honest and genuine, invite the reader to look at things from your perspective, yet give them enough space to draw their own conclusions.

Have you ever wondered — why writing a memoir is difficult and different from writing other genres?

Last week, on our weekly #WomenOnTheMove chat on Twitter, author of ‘If I had To Tell It Again‘ (http://bit.ly/ifIhadtotellitagain), Gayathri Prabhu joined us and shared what inspired her to write her memoir, how difficult/easy the journey was and did it bother her anytime to share her life’s deepest and most unpleasant experiences. Gayathri Prabhu also shared some writers tips with us.

Why write a memoir?

What makes a good and powerful memoir?

An inspiring story

A memoir is a life’s experience where the author stood against the odds, fought it and emerged victorious. A memoir usually is a story of resilience from which others can draw immense inspiration from.

An honest story

It is difficult to re-tell an unpleasant experience in our lives. More so because you run the risk of being judged by people who know nothing about you or what you had to go through.

A story that reveals the human side

Your mistakes, your experiences, your grief, your happiness — these what makes you human. If the reader sees this human side, they connect with the story and they connect with you. The story resonates with them and more often than not they feel that somewhere, someone is telling their own story. That’s the power of storytelling.

The ‘realness’ of the story

Why is writing a memoir so difficult?

Personal life lays threadbare

When you write a memoir, you invite people to look at your life that might be entirely different from the one they have known so far, and this might upset many.

It takes a lot of courage to share our vulnerabilities

No one likes to relive a traumatic past/experience

Although our experiences — good or bad — shape our lives, no one really likes to remember and relive the unpleasant ones. It is but human to completely block out those bad memories and lock them up in the deepest corners of our minds.

Criticism and judgement

Yes, you often run the risk of being criticized and judged for the events, you had little control over. Many fail to understand  and empathize with you. But, it is important to remember — this is a story of your life and you did what you thought was best in that situation.

Some tips from Gayathri for aspiring writers

Don’t let negative critisism bother you

People will judge you for all they can, but it is your story and you need to stand by it.

It is your life’s story, stand by it

Acknowledge the positive criticism that will help you get better, and flush out the negative ones that pull you down.

Expand the scope of your reading

Image: Pixabay

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