Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Writing About Love: A Valentine’s Day Memoir

Rose on book pages

While many memoirs focus on a traumatic time in the author’s life, there’s no rule saying a memoir must be dark. If you have a great love in your life—romantic or otherwise—you may want to document that in your memoir or even use it as the main focus.

Just Kids comes to mind. Musician Patti Smith’s memoir about her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe ranges from the initial romance to an enduring, passionate friendship after Mapplethorpe confronts his true sexuality. And it certainly has its dark edges with Mapplethorpe’s death from AIDS. But it’s the love between two people, especially creative people whose emotions stay right on the surface—the rawness of love with no boundaries, no limits, no qualifications—that captures the reader.

Include This, Don’t Include That

Focusing on the relationship doesn’t mean you can’t chronicle other parts of your life. You can provide the setting by telling the reader a bit about yourself before meeting the person, and you can wrap up loose ends by providing a bit of an epilogue to the relationship. You can flesh out other aspects of your life taking place as the relationship progresses, plateaus and either wanes or proves permanent.

As with any memoir theme, though, you have to rein in any impulse to go completely off-topic. Writing a memoir is a constant exercise in editing yourself. Resist the urge to include that important incident in your life that has absolutely nothing to do with the main theme. You can try to contrive a connection between this romance you’re writing about and your harrowing experience the time your car broke down in a strange country—but, if it doesn’t work, just let it go. You can always write a second memoir with a theme that accommodates all of the other episodes you’d like to share.

The opposite is true as well. There may be minor incidents in your life that you’d omit in a comprehensive autobiography but, since they relate in some direct way to the love relationship you’re describing, you should include them in this type of memoir. Perhaps a forgettable previous relationship teaches you something about yourself that makes the focused relationship richer than it might have been. Or maybe you’re particularly open to someone new because of a temporary loneliness you wouldn’t have bothered mentioning. You might need to educate the reader on the geography or history of the city in which the two of you met, something you certainly wouldn’t devote pages to if the relationship weren’t the focus of the book.

Paint the Picture

Always remember the “show, don’t tell” rule. In a memoir of romance, you’ll be tempted to share with the reader every feeling—every heartbeat, butterfly in the stomach, lightness of step. Instead, take your writer’s eye way above you and look down at yourself. Are tears rolling down your face? Beads of sweat dotting your forehead? Are you skipping down the street or laughing nervously or rubbing cheeks that are sore from smiling? When you truly let the reader see you inside and outside, you don’t have to articulate how you’re feeling. Readers w

ill already know, because they’ll be feeling the same way right along with you.

Can the love in a memoir be your love for a pet, a culture/city/country, a hobby or sport, a profession, a son/daughter/sibling/parent? Sure. We love lots of things. Just make it compelling and stick to the focus.

Whom do we love here at Write My Memoirs? We love our authors! Happy Valentine’s Day from Write My Memoirs. Keep writing!


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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!