David Archuleta has thrown his literary hat into the ring. And rumor has it that Lindsay Lohan is penning her story. If each of us has a story to tell, should each of us write a memoir?
There is a lot to think about when considering telling your life story, or even a portion of it. We all have significant things that happen to us--surviving an accident or deadly disease, adopting a child, recovering from addiction or dealing with a difficult childhood. Many of us also have had interesting lives--growing up during the Depression, living in an exotic country, having an unusual job or being married to a well-known person.
At some point in your life, you've probably heard these words: "You ought to write a book about what you've been through". The question is, should you really?
That doesn't mean you shouldn't write your story down. Just the act of recording and reading our own thoughts on personal experiences is valuable for working through the emotions involved and allowing the lessons to sink in. If appropriate, your written record can be shared with family members, or anyone who might benefit from the experiences you went through.
However, it is very difficult to convince publishers that your particular story might have a following among the masses. This doesn't mean you have no chance, just that you should be aware that it will take quite a bit of convincing.
Of course, if you're a celebrity, like Lohan, or have been highlighted in the news, you have a better chance. But don't give up completely.
Write your story, first for yourself. In the process, work through the emotions that telling your story evokes. Some have written their memoir too soon, when the emotions are too raw. They are too close to the pain (or whatever strong emotions it evokes), and dont have the perspective of looking back and realizing how they've been affected.
Share it, or parts of it with others. Whether through a blog, a newsletter, or even making a small number of copies for your family, you can "publish" your story and get feedback through others' reactions.
Join a critique group. No one's writing is fantastic with the first draft. Get together with other writers who can help you fine-tune your tale. They can help you explain more clearly, fill in holes you weren't aware of, and cheer for you as it comes together.
Below are some links to articles about memoir. I hope you find what you need to tell your story.
You may want to join the National Association of Memoir Writers, to find forums, articles, and other resources.
Memoir Do's and Dont's
Why it's difficult to find an agent for a memoir.
Frequently asked questions on Memoir.
Memoir writing for everyone.
Writing your memoir during retirement.