Any memoirist who is going to be honest must ultimately come to terms with some of the facts of life that have always been avoided. These could include the reasons relationships failed, or the fact that the author was at fault in some old matter. Those old facts may become apparent only when a memoir is being written.
Putting facts down frankly and openly also means confronting the possibility that somebody might actually read the truth as perceived by the author. This takes courage. It’s one thing to admit something to yourself; it’s quite another to make the admission public.
Hard facts are what distinguish some of the most effective memoirs from others. They lend an edge to what might otherwise be a bland book.
All links to this topic are included in the Telling stories category list. See right sidebar.
Interview Amy Friedman on shame, the power of memoir, and inner truths
A perceptive interview with a writer who has thought at length about the fear of facing the truth and the consequences of overcoming that fear, writing frankly, sharing that truth with the world.
Kevin Myers: Why I wrote about my adolescent homosexuality
Some of the hard truths we must face are not about the world outside us but about the person we were as we developed. They take a special kind of courage.
Self-publishing a memoir about my mental health was the scariest thing I’ve ever done
An intensely personal look at the hurdles that face an author who wants to describe personal difficulties in print, and at the implications of putting a personal story into the world.
How to: Write the tough stuff
Your memories are your own, and you must express them. How do you do it without offending others?
My husband wouldn’t read my memoir: “It’s just too painful”
Audience is a prime consideration for publishers, as it must be for writers as well. But the author’s direct audience includes first readers of a memoir. They are sometimes as familiar with the material as the author is, and less willing to engage emotionally.
How to turn those negative memories into positive ones
One of the hardest aspects of memoir writing is being honest with yourself. This gets complicated when your inner self wishes a different past than you actually lived.
The pen is mighty: How to be brave while writing your memoir: A guest post by Linda Wisniewski
Telling the truth is sometimes hard, but the truth might never be known if you do not tell it. Here are some helpful reminders.
How not to get sued for your memoir
Some practical advice from a man with experience at staring down the legal consequences of memoir writing.
How to mindfully transform a painful memory
In trying to retrieve the past, we can be sabotaged by pains that have limited and defined us for years. Facing down those pains can change our sense of who we are and effectively make us stronger as we move forward.
Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe learned a lot about discipline while writing memoir
To write honestly about the life you have lived, you must be willing to expose your inmost secrets to your public self. This kind of writing is not for the timid. You can’t make everything up as you go along, as in fiction.