However, when I look at my blog, I do realize that there are indeed readers who love to read my memoirs. In between, when I was blogging less frequently, I received messages from my readers asking if everything was fine with me.
I love it when readers share my posts. But the thing that I love the most is reading ‘meaningful‘ comments from my readers. I hate when they just drop an one liner like ‘nice post’ or ‘nice article’. I love when they relate to my memoirs and narrate a similar incident from their lives. That is when I feel the true connection with my readers.
In 2018, I published my first book ‘Golden Rainbow’, I was apprehensive that nobody would be interested to read my 26 memoirs. However, after two years, I can safely say that there are indeed readers for my memoirs. The reviews on Amazon assure that my ‘labor of love’ did’t get wasted.
Writing memoir may seem easy but writing an ‘engaging’ memoir is difficult. Many writers think that writing memoir means simply narrating incidents or feelings from the past. However, that may become boring for the readers. No wonder, many biographies fail to catch the attentionTweet
I created this blog to primarily write memoirs and travelogues (Well, travelogues are also a kind of memoir). After writing for more than three years, I have observed few things about writing a good and engaging memoir. Let me share those with you.
- Write in first person
Ideally a memoir should be written in first person. As you are the narrator and one of the characters in the narrative, it is best to write in first person. However, there are memoirs written in second person and third person, e.g. Roland Barthes on Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes was a memoir written in third person.
- A Memoir should tell a Story
An engaging memoir is one that tells a story. People love to read stories and memoirs are a form of ‘true stories‘ and people love to read about the interesting things that happened in someone else’s life.
- Use Fiction Writing technique
A memoir should adopt the style of fiction writing. So use concepts like in medias res or other narrative style to capture the attention of your reader. Nobody likes to read a memoir that starts like ‘I woke up, brushed my teeth, had breakfast, went to office…’ It should have some story, suspense, humour, tragedy etc to make it interesting for the readers
- A Memoir is not a diary so focus on the incident
As mentioned in the earlier point, a memoir is not like a diary when you just jot down what you did. Well, there are diaries that are hugely popular because they tell a story. Famous example being Anne Frank’s Diary. Therefore, try to focus on incidents rather than on routine stuff.
- Be respectful to the people you are writing about in your memoir
Writing a memoir is tricky because unlike fiction you are dealing with real people. Therefore, try to be respectful to the people you mention in your memoir. Ideally, take their consent before writing. I personally change names of people to protect their identity. I may not like a person in real life but when I write about them I try to be respectful and not bash them through my writing.
- Be objective
When writing a memoir try to be objective. Do not indulge in self pity and turn yourself into a tragedy king or queen. Similarly, do not turn yourself into a ‘knight in shining armor’. Do not boast about yourself. Try to be as objective as possible. Be self deprecating. Trust me readers love when you can laugh at yourself. Most of my popular posts are those where I have been self deprecating.
- Exclude unnecessary details
It is important to be crisp in your writing and avoid unnecessary details. Your readers do not know you personally so they would like to get to the story fast. Unnecessary details and descriptions would bore them and they may skip reading your memoir.
- Connect with your readers
Last but not the least is your ability to connect to your audience. As I mentioned earlier in this post that I love when audience can connect with my story. That is when they read and come back for more. The readers love to find a slice of their lives in your memoir. If they can relate they would be able to laugh or cry. And that would bring them back to your post.