If you have been thinking about writing a memoir but are unsure of how to get started, why not try blogging it. Blogging your memoir is an excellent way of connecting with and building up an audience as you tell your story. And, if you are an inexperienced writer, it is a great way of getting some regular writing practice.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
1 Decide what you want to include in your memoir
If you haven’t already got a clear idea of what you want to write about, start by creating a timeline of the period you want to focus on (it doesn’t matter how long or short this is) and write in the key events and any other significant memories or experiences you can remember. Once you have done this you can then choose what you want to include from your timeline when you start blogging your memoir. There will be some things that stand out and others which are not so important but nevertheless may be useful or relevant to your story, so don’t discard anything at this stage.
2 Identify the underlying theme of your memoir
If your memoir is inspired by a special memory, a specific experience, a significant life-changing event, then this will form the main theme (or themes) of your memoir. The overriding theme may be one of courage, ambition, hope, determination, endurance, tolerance, perseverance – whatever it is, this is what you want to convey to your readers.
3 Stick to the relevant bits
Don’t include details which aren’t relevant to your story or theme. Even you have a memory that stands out, if it is superfluous or irrelevant leave it out. You don’t want to lose you readers by recounting something that causes you to digress from your main story and theme.
4 A memoir is not a day-by-day or year-by-year account
Unlike an autobiography a memoir is not a chronological account of your life. A memoir focuses on events and experiences that relate to your subject or theme rather than the time frame or time scale in which they occurred. The time frame may span many years or just a few days or weeks but this doesn’t matter. When you are blogging your memoir simply focus on the events and memories which have inspired your story rather than the time or period in which they happened.
5 Who else will feature in your story?
Even though your memoir is essentially about you there will be other people in your story, so think about how they have affected or influenced you and how you will incorporate them into your story.
6 Divide your story into separate blog posts
Just as you would with a conventional book, organise all of the ideas you have for your memoir into scenes and chapters and decide how you want to start and finish. You can then treat each part as a separate blog post. Aim to write each blog as a stand-alone story but also try to create some continuity and flow between each post so as your readers engage with your complete story as it unfolds piece by piece, blog by blog. Although you want your readers to enjoy each blog you post, you also want them to be eagerly awaiting the next one to find out what happens next.
7 How long should your blog posts be?
There is no definitive answer to this other than as long as they have to be. Each blog post you write will vary in length but if you can say all you want to say in 500 words or less then that is fine. On the other hand if what you are writing about demands more words, then don’t feel you have to try and reduce the number of words by cutting and rewriting. There is a lot of talk about the short attention span of online readers but if what you write interests and engages them, they will keep reading whatever the length.
8 How often should you post a blog?
Blogging your memoir is a great way of getting the job done but how often should you write a blog? Once a day, once a week, once a month? It really is up to you. However, if you want to complete your memoir, then establishing a regular routine is the best way to achieve this. It can be difficult to produce a blog everyday and if you only write one a month you may lose the continuity and flow, but aiming for one a week is perfectly manageable for most people. If you have planned your content well and therefore know what you are going to write about, posting a weekly blog is not only the best way to keep on top of the job but also to keep your audience happy. If your readers are looking forward to your next post you don’t want to disappoint them (or lose their support) simply by failing to stick your schedule.