There are a lot of interesting stories that each one of us has hidden deep within us. Some are fictional while others are personal. That’s not to say your fictional story isn’t personal, I am simply referring to a memoir. I was recently asked how to get started writing a memoir. I sent a link to the person asking from the site of Alan Rinzler. Her shared insight from an article written by Tamim Ansary. This article simplifies how writers can lay out their outline and write the memoir. Happy writing.
Writing a memoir is one of the most stimulating but difficult literary challenges an author can undertake. Nevertheless, it’s a hugely popular genre. Five of the top ten hardcover nonfiction books on the NY Times bestseller list this week are memoirs.
Aspiring memoir writers can find help in books and by searching online, but there’s nothing like a live workshop with a master teacher.
One highly recommended instructor is Tamim Ansary, the Afghan-American author of the critically acclaimed literary memoir West of Kabul, East of New York (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). This spring, Ansary will be conducting a six-week memoir workshop in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I jumped at the opportunity to ask him about his views on writing and teaching this subject.
What is a memoir and how is it different from a personal journal or novel based on your life?