Are you ready to start your memoir and feeling a tad lost? You are not alone. However, wherever you are, this post will help you get started or restart you.

Over the last few weeks, I have been rewriting and rerecording my memoir course, and that inspired me to get my memoir Rude Awakenings and apply the new teachings to it. So I think it makes sense to walk my talk.

This does, of course, mean a rewrite, but that excites me, and I wanted to do it alongside a new novel loosely based on aspects of my life.

Writing a memoir is a transformative and deeply personal journey.

It allows you to reflect on your life experiences, capture significant moments, and share your unique story in your way. However, getting started can often feel overwhelming. Where do you begin? How do you organise your memories?

In this article, I will share some practical tips to help you with your memoir writing journey. From finding your narrative focus to structuring your story, these tips will provide the foundation you need to get started on this fulfilling and cathartic endeavour.

Identify Your Narrative Focus (Theme)

Before diving into your memoir, it’s important to identify your narrative focus or central theme. What is the core message you want to convey? Consider the experiences, lessons, or transformations that have impacted your life most. Reflect on the stories that align with your values and resonate with your intended audience and ideal reader. Finding your narrative focus will provide a guiding light throughout your writing journey, ensuring coherence and purpose in your memoir.

I wrote a long stream of consciousness for my story list on the weekend. I did not look back at the original story. And then, after reflection, I looked at what the theme or themes might be. I have an idea (of course, I do) of the overall theme, but I am looking at it with fresh eyes, and I think the idea of a theme per chapter.

Start With Memoir Prompts And Freewriting

To unleash the floodgates of your memories, start with memory prompts and freewriting. Use prompts like childhood memories, significant milestones, or life-changing events to spark your creativity. Set a timer and write continuously without judgment or self-editing. Allow your thoughts to flow freely, capturing vivid details, emotions, and reflections. Freewriting helps you tap into your subconscious and unearths memories you may have long forgotten.

And as if by magic, there are 30 prompts at the bottom of the article.

Create A Story List

I’ve already mentioned the story list. Once you have generated a wealth of memories, create a story list. Jot down key events, experiences, and moments that stand out. These can be both small and significant, mundane or extraordinary. Don’t worry about organisation or structure at this stage; the goal is to get your memories out of your head and onto paper. A story list provides a solid foundation to expand and shape your memoir.

This is quite revealing; if you have old journals, go and grab those. I feel lucky that I have so much already recorded.

Determine Your Audience Or Ideal Reader

Consider who your intended audience is. Are you writing primarily for family and friends, or do you aim to reach a wider readership? Understanding your audience will help you tailor your writing style, tone, and level of detail. Consider what insights, lessons, or entertainment value your memoir can offer your readers. Keep their interests and expectations in mind as you craft your narrative.

Grab a sheet of paper, draw a matchstick person and scribble. You’ll be surprised by what you learn about who you are writing for.

Embrace Vulnerability And Authenticity

Oooo, this can be tough bearing your soul. But memoirs thrive on vulnerability and authenticity. Be willing to get down and dirty with your emotions and share the raw, honest truth of your experiences. Allow yourself to be vulnerable on the page because it is through vulnerability that readers connect with your story. Embrace your unique voice and perspective. This is what sets your memoir apart from others. Don’t shy away from sharing your flaws, failures, struggles, and personal growth. These moments of authenticity will resonate deeply with your readers.

Ok, a word from the wise. Sometimes when you do this, stuff comes up. If it does, journal through it, talk about it or speak with your therapist. For example, writing about a man who bullied me brought some stuff up, and I knew I needed to talk with a lovely EMDR therapist I work with.

Craft A Compelling Opening

The opening of your memoir sets the tone and hooks your readers. Start with a captivating scene, a thought-provoking question, or a powerful statement that grabs attention. Engage your audience from the first page and make them eager to dive deeper into your story. A strong opening will ensure that readers are invested in your memoir from the start.

Mine starts with what I discover opening my then husbands computer… I’ll leave it to your imagination.

Experiment With Structure

Memoirs can be structured in various ways, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Consider a chronological approach, organising your story from childhood to the present day. Alternatively, you could structure your memoir thematically, grouping related stories and memories together. You may also choose to incorporate flashbacks or utilise a non-linear structure. What about houses you have lived in or shoes you have worn?

Mine is based on a series of rude awakenings. Find a structure that best serves your narrative and enhances the impact of your memoir. Remember that the structure should support the flow of your story and make it accessible to readers.

Develop Vivid Characters

This starts with you. You are the central character, and you need to bring yourself alive. Now that is easier said than done. I like to stand outside of myself and imagine meeting myself for the first time. Too scary!!!

Your memoir may feature other people, and we need to meet them. Develop these characters with depth and nuance, allowing readers to connect with them on an emotional level. Show their quirks, strengths, and flaws. Capture their unique voices and perspectives. However, and this is important be respectful and considerate of their privacy. It’s essential to balance portraying the truth and protecting the feelings and identities of those involved.

There is so much I’d like to say about the man in my opening chapter, but it is only a part of him that matters and that was the part that triggered my awakening and journey to now. I believe that respect is essential.

Use Sensory Details To Bring Memories To Life

Transport your readers to the time and place of your memories by adding sensory details. Describe the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures surrounding you during significant moments. Engaging the senses enhances the immersive experience for readers, making them feel like they are with you, reliving the events alongside you. This level of detail enriches your memoir and makes it come alive on the page. I’m not sure you would want to be at the grand opening of the computer in real life, but hey, I’ll do my best to bring it alive…

Get Feedback And Revise

Yes, this is scary, but once you have written a chunk of your memoir, get feedback from people you trust, such as writing groups, beta readers, or close friends and family. Their perspectives and insights can offer valuable suggestions for improvement. Consider their feedback with an open mind, but ultimately trust your own instincts as the author. Then, revise your memoir, tightening the narrative, refining the prose, and clarifying the message. This part is key. Keep reflecting and revising, and your memoir will glow.

Find Support And Accountability

Writing can be lonely, and writing a book can be hard without some kind of support. Who do you have? You can get an accountability partner, join a group, or get a book coach or mentor. You can buy into a package or dip in and out when you need help. Can you do it alone?

Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who understand the process can provide encouragement, motivation, and valuable insights. Share your progress and goals with trusted friends or writing partners who can hold you accountable and provide constructive feedback throughout your journey.


Start with this, grab your journal and dip into the prompts. This is an exciting time. It will be cathartic, creative and challenging. So, without further ado, pop your excuses in the bin and start today. Let your memoir unfold one beautifully crafted memory at a time.

30 Memoir Prompts

These memoir prompts are meant to inspire and evoke specific memories and emotions. Choose the ones that resonate with you the most, and allow yourself to delve deep into those memories as you craft your memoir.

  1. The first friend you remember making
  2. A memorable family vacation or road trip
  3. Your childhood home and the memories associated with it
  4. A favourite family tradition or ritual
  5. Your earliest school memory
  6. A memorable birthday celebration
  7. The most challenging obstacle you faced in your youth
  8. A significant teacher or mentor who influenced your life
  9. A childhood game or activity you loved
  10. The first time you travelled without your parents
  11. A special friendship that impacted your life
  12. Your experience of learning to drive
  13. A cultural or religious event that holds significance for you
  14. Your first job or work experience
  15. A moment of personal achievement or triumph
  16. A challenging decision you had to make
  17. Your experience of falling in love for the first time
  18. A mentor or role model who shaped your values or aspirations
  19. A time when you felt out of your comfort zone
  20. A cherished family recipe and the memories associated with it
  21. A childhood fear or phobia you overcame
  22. Your experience of moving to a new city or country
  23. A moment when you realised an important life lesson
  24. A life-changing trip or adventure
  25. A difficult goodbye or loss you experienced
  26. The impact of a particular book or piece of literature on your life
  27. Your experience of a cultural or historical event that shaped your perspective
  28. A significant moment that made you question your beliefs or values
  29. A time when you had to confront and overcome a personal fear
  30. The birth of a sibling or a new addition to your family

Ready to start your memoir? This course will help you to plan, write, edit and publish.

My mission is to encourage and empower you to step into the wisdom of your heart, and embrace self-love, self-worth and confidence so that you discover that all-important inner peace.