Many have certainly toyed with the idea of writing their memoirs. In common usage, the memoirs are often equated with an autobiography and who wants to write his memoirs, means that he wants to tell his life story.
Formally, however, there are differences between a classic autobiography and the memoirs. The term memoir derives from the French word memoire for written memorandum and comes from the Latin memoria for memory or memory. Memoirs are thus memories of a life in writing.
Usually, memoirs are written in chronological order, reporting events that are of interest to a broad public. While in a classical autobiography, however, the person and their career is in the foreground, the focus of memoirs is on relationships, backgrounds and events.
This means that memoirs are more about the influences that have made a person what he is today. Stylistically, memoirs are usually written in a rather chatty manner and often tell little anecdotes. Since memoirs are a narrative form, the basic rules of narrative literature apply in principle, which the author can learn, for example, in the context of creative writing.
Instructions and tips for memoir writing
Now it is certainly not so easy to write his memoirs, because it is a great challenge to put a life on paper, completely or at least partially. In addition, there is no rigid guide on how an author can and should best write his memoirs, because after all, every life is unique and can only be partially classified in drawers.
But there are some tips and hints that the author can follow.
First, the author should be clear about what he wants to achieve with his memoirs. It is not possible to describe every single day of the previous life, so that the author inevitably has to omit some things and mention other things only marginally.
It is therefore important that the author determines what intentions he pursues with his memoirs and what message he wants to convey. These considerations form the basis for the author to assemble, select, sort and weight content accordingly. It can also be helpful to create a resume, similar to an application.
Such a tabular overview can serve as a guide and also prevent the author from confusing the chronological order and jumping back and forth in his memoirs in an arbitrary and confusing way. Successful memoirs are characterized by the fact that the author shows not only what he has learned, but also how he has learned it.
Frequently, professions are mentioned only briefly in memoirs and biographies, because they appear to the author rather unimportant or no longer up-to-date. However, the knowledge and skills that someone has learned may have influenced his other decisions, even if he may not always be aware of this. In addition, small anecdotes from, for example, the school and apprenticeship or the first attempts in certain activities make memoirs interesting, because they bring the reader to witness and bring the contents to life.
The author should exercise some caution in choosing the persons he would like to mention in his memoirs, although there are three things to keep in mind here. On the one hand, persons who are particularly close to the author and who have decisively shaped his path could be offended if they are not mentioned. On the other hand, it could be embarrassing to other people, if the author blabts certain details, especially when it comes to love affairs and the like.
Third, the author should be very careful with negative utterances that have the character of a statement. Not infrequently, writers in the heat of the moment have been carried away by statements that were later discussed in court.
The last, and perhaps the most important, tip is that the author should not write his memoirs only for himself, because after all, memoirs are not a diary. This means that the author should not forget that his readers usually neither know the personal environment of the author nor have experienced the events with him.
In this respect, the author should formulate the contents he describes so that they can understand and understand his readers.