From journaling to memoir writing

memoir writing
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Ever wonder if you have it in you to write a memoir?

Maybe you’re familiar with journaling and enjoy writing, but a memoir feels like a stretch.  

You might think you need to have had certain types of experiences.  Or be at a particular age where you can look back on your life and see a more complete picture.

Thing is, a memoir is simply a story from your life.  

Anyone can write a memoir.  

You can be any age, whether that’s your 20’s or your 80’s. 

Whether it feels like you haven’t had a lot of experiences or too many to recount!

Every person has stories in their life.  This means you can write multiple memoirs on various life stories.  You’re not limited to any single story.

Who you are, whatever has happened in your life, whatever choices you’ve made or haven’t made… you have enough to write a memoir.  

The subject can range widely, like a memorable road trip, coming of age, starting a new job, discovering a passion.

The richness of the story doesn’t come only from the events itself, but how you tell it in your unique voice and how it impacted you.  

Though it can be intimidating, it’s not a huge stretch from journaling or fiction.

The difference between journaling and memoir

Journaling is the processing of a raw experience in writing.  It’s raw, unstructured, first-level content.  

Your journal isn’t necessarily shared with anyone.  Its value lies in making a connection with yourself.  

Memoirs use a story structure to tell one story from your life.  

A memoir allows you to connect with an audience.

In both, you’re writing about yourself, things that have happened to you, and how you felt about it. 

Yet a memoir is an intentionally structured story while journaling is more free-flowing.

Going from journaling to memoir

Once you’ve sifted through your uncensored feelings and thoughts through journaling, then you can focus on the story itself.  

The act of connecting with yourself, being with yourself, and honoring the fullness of your experience through journaling supports the stories you tell.  As well as the connection you can make with your readers.

Similar to journaling, the first draft of your memoir is for you to get your words out.  To get the experience written.  To be with whatever comes up for you, whether it’s grief, anger you hadn’t yet honored, or newfound flavors of joy and appreciation.  

A tool for personal growth, creativity, and connection  

Memoir writing allows you to make sense of your past in a conscious way. And bring your lessons forward to the future.  

If you hear a quiet inner voice telling you to write your story, I encourage you to listen for the story that wants to be told.  

I hope this article takes some of the intimidation out of the memoir and helps you know that it’s possible.  

Do you have questions about writing a memoir? I’d love to hear from you. Comment on this post and let me know.  

P.S. I invite you to explore your story in my upcoming Story Journeying writing class.

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