Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Why People Start Writing Their Memoir at Age 70

Older man writing on a computer.

There’s no correct time to write your memoir. You can be young and still have lived through enough trauma or unusual circumstances to write a compelling tale. Both Tara Westover and Jennette McCurdy were still in their 20s when their respective memoirs, Educated and I’m Glad My Mom Died, hit the best-seller charts.

But for most of us, it takes years before we sit down and write about our lives even if the episode we write about happened decades earlier. A genealogist friend of mine told me that a lot of people who contact her for help in tracing their ancestral line are right around that magic 70-year mark. Similarly, age 70 seems to be a common point for non-celebrities to look back and write down the significant events of their lives.

Multiple Reasons for 70-year-olds

From what we hear at Write My Memoirs, this seems to have multiple reasons. If you’re 70 and thinking about writing your memoir it might be because:

  • You finally have time. By age 70, you’re most likely either retired or working part-time. Even if you’re not exactly desperate for something to do, you probably can budget in writing hours.
  • You have grandchildren. Not every 70-year-old is a grandparent, of course, but those who are frequently want to write down the facts of their lives so that the next generations have the information.
  • You feel mortal. This is when we all start thinking about how much time is left to accomplish our goals. If you don’t write your memoir now, when will you do it? Unfortunately, time is running out for you to be able to count on good mental and physical health.
  • You’ve had a lot of experiences. Maybe at 40 you thought that your life was ordinary and not worth chronicling. You may not have ever kept a diary. Now that you’re older, though, you’ve lived more and can see that everyone’s life is unique. You did have some unusual experiences after all—maybe recently.
  • You’re feeling nostalgic. Studies show that older people like walking back through their lives. You may enjoy recalling your childhood, thinking about your teen years, reliving your romances and feeling proud of your professional achievements. You’re nostalgic for your own life. Writing about it becomes pleasurable.
  • You want to share your opinions. Perhaps your memoir is less about your life and more about how your experiences inform your politics, child-rearing advice or other opinions.
  • You’ve always wanted to author a book. If you never came up with a plot for a novel or did the research for a nonfiction, informational book, you still can write your memoir. It’s the one topic you know very well with little research, and you don’t need imagination to invent a plot, because it all happened to you.

You certainly don’t have to wait until you’re 70 to begin writing your memoir. But if you’re approaching that age or beyond it, now is a great time to get that book into motion.

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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!