Memoir Tip: Don’t Forget To Connect!
It’s easy to think your memoir is “all about me.” Which it is, in a way. It’s your story, your life, your memories, after all. But for most memoirists, getting their story down on paper is also about inviting someone else to join in the dance. You want your reader to keep reading to the very last page. You want them to feel what you felt, to care about the experiences you’re sharing.
“Know thyself,” Socrates urged his followers. But as a writer, the real trick is to “know thy Reader.”
Some memoirists, of course, aren’t really looking for an audience; they’re happy to write for themselves alone. If you’re putting words on paper for only you to read – that’s a different gig entirely. It’s your own solo show.
But if you’re hoping to share your life story with others, try stepping back from time to time to actively consider your reader. It can help sharpen your writing – and give you a spurt of encouragement as well!
Tips for Keeping Your Reader in Mind:
Here are a few fun prompts that may help strengthen your reader-connection — and encourage you to keep going!
* Imagine your Perfect Reader in your mind. What’s drawing them to read your story? What do they hope to learn?
* Think about your Perfect Reader’s life experiences and limitations. Are they too young to remember what life was like in pre-ATM days? Will they need a little explanation to understand clamp-on roller skates, home movie reels, or Elvis?
* Write a short “Dear Reader” introduction (even just two sentences), welcoming them to your memoir. Tell them why you wrote it, and what you’re hoping they’ll take away.
* Create a one-line “Thank you” message for the very end of your memoir. What makes you feel good about your reader finishing your book? What connection do you hope you have made with them?
Hope these tips give you a fresh slant on your memoir writing – and encouragement to keep writing!