Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Chronology vs. Topic Grouping

You make lots of decisions as you’re writing your memoir about when and how to introduce the topics you want to cover. You may choose to present a chronological account of your life, from birth to present day, because it seems logical and probably the easiest option. But you’re likely to find that it’s not as straightforward as you anticipated.

Let’s say that you’re writing about a favorite aunt and uncle. Perhaps as a child you spent a week with them every summer or have special memories of welcoming them to your home at Christmastime. They were a significant presence during your childhood, but then maybe they moved far away or you just grew up and didn’t see them very much. Or maybe you continued seeing them at holidays, but you’re not chronicling every holiday in your memoir. Really, the next mention you want to make is to note their death and honor their memory by saying you miss them. Where should you say that?

You can wait until you write a chapter that occurs around the time your aunt and uncle died, assuming they died within a few years of each other. You can mention various things affecting you at that time and include your trip to attend a funeral or just your sadness at their passing. Or you can just finish out their story in the earlier passages that focus on them. After explaining their importance in your life, you can write something such as: “I saw my aunt and uncle less frequently as I got older, but I’ll always have fond memories of both of them. They died in the 1990s after living long, happy lives.” Even if you write your life story in chronological order, be flexible enough in respecting the chronology to allow yourself the creative license to keep a topic together if that seems to be easier for the reader to follow.

Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help you recall people and events in your life.

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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!