Your readers are waiting
Our stories matter. They are what connects us. How we tell our stories really matters. When you set out to write your memoir, remember you aren’t doing this for you. Yes, it will be a cathartic and meaningful process, but you are writing for the people who need to read your story. That calling you have to write your story is actually coming from your readers.
When we experience writer’s block, it is often because we haven’t clearly established why we are writing, who we are writing for or how how our stories want to be told. To understand this more deeply, watch this quick video to help you get unstuck and start writing.
How does your story want to be told?
Many authors think their story has to be told from beginning to end, in its entirety. Let me go on record and say nobody needs to hear about the type of toothpaste you buy, unless it is somehow key to a major life lesson or milestone in your life. This is your story and you get to decide how it’s told. Actually, I should say, your story has a funny way of deciding how it wants to be told. If you are stuck, you might want to consider another approach.
It’s as easy as 1…2…3
#1 Tell your story chronologically
It is absolutely valid and often a great approach to tell your story from beginning to end. Having said that you get to decide what is the beginning and what is the end. To get started, write all the key milestones in your life and identify a few great stories associated with each. Voila… you’ve got the beginning of your chapter outline. Start writing, what are you waiting for?
#2 Organize your story around 1 or 2 main themes
If you are stuck in the timeline of your life, maybe your story wants to be told in another way. Consider identifying one or two key themes that emerge from your life and identify 7 to 10 stories that support that theme. You may still end of writing your story in a linear fashion, or maybe not. With this approach it is less about a beginning, middle and end than it is a throughline that relates to a major theme.
#3 Share your story through a series of life lessons
Perhaps, you have a number of life lessons that you want to share with your readers. If so, this is a great approach. Identify the major lessons you’ve learned and want to share and identify the corresponding stories. Again, this approach can overlap with a certain chronology but you can absolutely free yourself from writing from the beginning to end. Start writing the lesson that is the loudest in your head and get it down on paper!