Welcome to All Write's guest blog for May 2021, by incredible local memoir expert Leeza Baric!
Leeza is an author, writing mentor and creator of WobblyWomanTV. Her latest memoir is Wobbly Woman Memoirs 1: Looking for Love. She is passionate about life stories; reading them, writing them, and helping others share their stories.
Here's 5 Reasons to Write a Memoir at any Age:
Writing a memoir can be life changing, and you don’t have to wait until the greys appear. Some people think you have to be a celebrity or past a certain age to write about your life, but that’s not true. Author Elizabeth Gilbert wrote the insanely successful memoir, Eat, Pray Love, in her thirties when she was an unknown freelance writer.
An autobiography is writing about your whole life and usually written in chronological order, whereas a memoir focuses on one aspect or theme of your life. In Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir with the sub-title, One woman’s search for everything, the focus or theme was about “finding herself” after a messy divorce. She didn’t go into the nitty-gritty about every part of her life, but rather how travelling helped her move through the pain of a broken relationship and find happiness again.
Here are five reasons to write a memoir which could change your life now:
1. Writing to Heal
If you’re someone who likes to journal, then you know how therapeutic it is to get your feelings down on paper. If you don’t give it a try. Writing about challenges can be cathartic and offers new understanding and perspectives.
Freewriting is a beautiful technique where you write without self-censoring. Let the pen take you. Use a journal to remember and reflect and get those feelings out.
However, a good memoir should never read like a journal. A good memoir is still crafted into a story (with a beginning, middle and end), which takes the reader on your journey of healing.
2. Writing a memoir to promote your business
The world is your oyster! There’s no limit to what you can do or create, especially with self-publishing and print-on-demand. If you have or are starting a small business, consider writing an e-book and/or a print book, sharing your story and tips to inform, inspire or entertain your customers or ideal clients.
You could create a simple PDF and share it on your website for free to attract customers or sell it through Kindle Direct Publishing or IngramSpark. The goal of the book is to let customers get to know you and build trust so they will buy your products or services.
Your book becomes your business card and can help to increase your revenue.
3. Writing to inspire others and create awareness
The self-help industry is massive because let’s face it—we can all use help at some point in our lives. A growing trend is to combine memoir with self-help. That is, to share your story and provide information for the reader to apply it into their lives.
When you’ve experienced challenges or positives in your life, it’s natural to want to help and inspire others. Many authors say, “If I can just help one person, then sharing my story has been worth it.” There are no limits to what you could write about. Think about your experiences and how you can help others through what you’ve learnt.
4. Writing for fun
Some of us writers take writing so seriously. Write for fun. Write for enjoyment and to lose yourself in the moment. You don’t have to publish everything you write. Experiment and play.
There are so many creative ways that you can write about your life. Consider books you like to read; deconstruct them and apply what makes them enjoyable for you into the way you could write your book.
If you are considering writing a humorous memoir, use your authentic voice. Be you. Use the words and phrases that are natural to you. Don’t try to imitate others. Don’t worry about what others think. If you swear, swear. If you have an unusual perspective or metaphor, use it. Be bold and be creative.
Readers love something a little different and can relate to vulnerability and authenticity.
5. Leaving a legacy
Many people write their life story towards the end of their life, but who says there’s a right time to leave a legacy? You never know when your time is up. (Sorry, I don’t mean to be dismal).
If you have a story that’s been at the back of your mind for some time, that’s the “universe” giving you a nudge to write it. It’s always good to leave some time from events or experiences so you can process it and write with reflection and hindsight, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait for years. Only you know when you’re ready.
My point here is that we can leave a legacy at any age. Look at the legacy that Greta Thunberg is leaving in regards to climate change. Your legacy may be to create social change or it may be to document your story for your descendants, regardless of your age now. The question to ask yourself is, what is my contribution to this amazing life I have lived so far?
There are many reasons why people write life stories. Delve deep and think about your why and how your experiences can be turned into an inspiring, informative and/or entertaining book.
Here are some memoirs and memoir/self-help books written by younger people:
The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
Her Father’s Daughter by Alice Pung
Smashed: A story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas
#GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso
The Liars Club by Mary Karr
Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
Growing up Disabled in Australia edited by Carly Findlay (Anthology of Stories)
If you’d like more information on how to write and publish your life story, please download your free guide and checklist from https://leezabaric.com