Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

A Commonplace Book Can Help You Write Your Memoirs

Keep a commonplace book as a way to ease into writing your memoir.

Ever hear of a commonplace book? It’s been credited as an early seed for the modern blog. Instead of a journal or diary of your own thoughts, it’s a record of ideas—articles, artwork and anything, really—that strike you as interesting. You also can jot down your own thoughts, but a commonplace book is for common topics, or “commonplaces,” and not meant to chronicle your life’s experiences. Artistotle was the first known commonplace book keeper; Thomas Jefferson was another fan of the genre.

You can create a commonplace book just as they did, or you can put a modern twist on it by starting a commonplace book file on your computer. Instead of bookmarking an article or a website, do a copy-and-paste and throw the whole piece into the computer file. If you clip an article from a real newspaper, if your child presents you with a drawing or if you have movie, concert or sports event tickets you’d like to save, capture any of those by scanning and saving the image to your commonplace book file. You also can add photographs.

When you sit down with your memoir, these ideas and images will jog your memory and inspire your writing. You even can craft an entire memoir around the commonplace book—just add a thread of text to explain it all. If you’d like to write a memoir but want to take your time and don’t know where to start, try keeping a commonplace book first and let your memoir project grow from there.

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Then just set up a chapter and start writing your memoir. Don’t worry about rules. There are no rules to writing your memoir; there are only trends. These trends are based on techniques and features identified in current top-selling memoirs. At best, they’re the flavor of the month. If you’re capturing your life in print for your family, for your own gratification or to inspire readers, rather than aiming to set off Hollywood screenplay bidding wars, these trends don’t even apply to you. You’ll write the memoir that suits you best, and it will be timeless, not trend-driven.There are no rules, but there are four steps:

1. Theme/framework
2. Writing
3. Editing/polishing
4. Self-publishing

You’ve researched this, too, and you’ve been shocked at the price for getting help with any one of those steps, much less all four. That’s because most memoir sites promise to commercialize your work. They’ll follow a formula based on current memoir trends, because they want to convince you that they can turn your memoir into a best-seller. These sites overwhelm you with unnecessary information not to help you, the memoir author, but to address Search Engine Optimization (SEO) algorithms so they can sell more.

That’s not what we do at Write My Memoirs. Our small community of coaches, writers and editors are every bit as skilled as any you’ll find, and we charge appropriately for their expertise and the time they’ll spend helping you craft a compelling, enjoyable read. But you won’t pay an upcharge for other websites’ commercialization, the marketing that follows, and the pages of intimidating “advice.” You can sell your book if you like—we have ISBNs available for you—but our organic process of capturing your story takes a noncommercial path.

If you want help with any or all of the four steps above, choose from our services or save money by selecting one of our packages. If you’d like to talk about what’s right for you, schedule a call. One year from now, you can be holding your published memoir in your hand. And at that point, it will be a big deal!