21 June 2015

Day 21: Writing Memoir

NYWM21Non-fiction week is coming to an end! Thank you SO much for joining us this week! We’ve had a blast and I hope you’ve learned heaps and you’re even closer to achieving your National Young Writers’ Month goals.

Today, we’re talking memoirs. They’re a form of non-fiction that quite literally means ‘a collection of memories’. It is usually deeply personal writing, a recount of events in the author’s life that hold meaning and message.

The hesitancy that usually comes before the word ‘memoir’ is “but my life isn’t that interesting!” To that we say: not true! Everyone has a story to tell. We might not want to hear a day-by-day recount of what you had for breakfast, but everyone has an embarrassing or touching anecdotal story that can be used to teach a lesson. Your memoir doesn’t even have to have moral tellings attached – it can simply be open and honest.

If it’s the honesty part you’re struggling with, don’t be afraid to blur the lines between fact and fiction. Creative nonfiction, and even fictional recounts of real-life events, can be a great way to merge your personal experiences with your fiction writing skills and create a piece of truly extraordinary writing.

For Day 18 of the National Young Writers’ Month blog, we spoke about writing the personal. Those skills will come in handy when writing a memoir! Some other top reading on the subject is Daniel Mendelsohn on what the popularity of memoirs tells us about ourselves, published in The New Yorker.

But to finish up the week, it’s time for a writing challenge!

Try your hand at writing narrative non-fiction/personal creative fiction in a one hour writing sprint! Keep us up to date on your progress using #NYWM15.