Value Your Life Story: Write it Now

Reading
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Best-selling authors don’t come along often, even less so with a memoir or life story. Most people who write about their lives do so for personal satisfaction and to leave a legacy for children and grandchildren to “know it like it was.”

It’s common for a memoir or life story to be less than one hundred pages, photocopied and bound at a quick-print shop, and hand delivered to family and friends.  Whether you do your story that way or have it professionally formatted, designed, and bound to look like a traditionally published book, now is the time to start. Today. Don’t put it off.

You are a part of history, your history that influenced and grew and changed your life and the lives of others. Your life story is important and needs to be shared. Decide now to preserve your precious memories in writing.

Introductory offer
Take the first steps to permanently capture your memories; start writing your memoir, life story, or family history while loved ones are around to enjoy and share. Unpredictable events arise all too quickly.

I’m offering to first-time clients a special package at a reduced price to introduce you to my services. This special offer may be used by you, a family member or other loved one, or a friend you recommend.

Why am I doing this? So you may:
  • See the benefits of starting now to write your memoir, life story, or family history.
  • Have a clearer understanding of my services as a personal historian. 
  • Recommend me to others. 
  • Consider continuing with a larger project.

The offer
  1. Free 30-minute consultation to learn your desires and focus of your story.
  2. Four recorded interviews up to 45 minutes each. These can be by telephone once a week or several times a week. 
  3. A polished manuscript up to 30 pages double-spaced, emailed to you or sent by postal mail. 
  4. Does not include photos or images, genealogical searches, book formatting, book production, or CD. 
  5. Total fee of $495 plus postage. Family members may wish to participate in the cost. One-third is due when we agree to do your project, one-third upon finishing the interviews, and one-third when you receive your manuscript. 
  6. If you decide to continue with a larger project, all of your fee will be applied to the larger project when started within one year.
  7. Your satisfaction is guaranteed. 
  8. EZ-pay with PayPal.
Get started now
Send me an email or telephone 417-883-4532 to schedule your free consultation. There is no charge or obligation and I would be happy to respond to your questions. Today would be fine.

See all my writing and editing services.

Photo: Reading, oil on canvas by Ivan Kramskoy (1837-1887)

Brock Heasley: What is a Memoir? (And Why I Wrote One)

Brock Heasley
Guest article by Brock Heasley

Whenever I tell people I’ve written a memoir (not something I do with great regularity–it’s usually my wife who does the telling), I often get the question, “What is a Memoir?” I usually begin my response by saying that it’s an autobiography that isn’t an autobiography, but that only confuses them more. So let’s unpack this properly.

A memoir is a person’s written, first-person account of their own life, or, more typically, a portion of their life. A memoir’s focus is usually narrow. Maybe it’s a coming-of-age story that focuses on the author’s youth like The Glass Castle or Growing Up Amish. Maybe it’s an account of the Mormon dating scene in New York or the author’s experiences working undercover for the ATF. Or, as in my case, it’s about dealing with the dual tragedies of death and growing up. Memoir usually picks a theme or a certain perspective and sticks to it. It’s not trying to tell the whole story of a life, only one of its more interesting stories.

The root word
To really understand what a memoir is, you’ve got look at that root word, “memory.” A memoir doesn’t report the facts. That’s not to say that a memoir is full of lies, but a memoir is not about what happened so much as how it happened. To the author.

A memoir’s only priority is to share the author’s perspective. Nothing else matters. No research required. Only digging deep and pulling out thoughts and feelings from the deep recesses of the brain.

And because of that a memoir may not be all true. Think about it. Are your memories factually accurate? Of course not. Chances are, your mother and father and brothers and sisters have different takes on some of the great stories of your life. For a memoirist, it is no different. The only thing a memoir can report on accurately is the memory of the author. What actually happened is known only to God and video cameras.

This is why you’ll sometimes hear memoir described as a cross between fiction and nonfiction. In fact, even though memoir is filed under nonfiction, it’s pretty much sold and written as fiction. Why? Because, like a novel, a good memoir will have a strong and propulsive narrative with an emphasis on character and plot. An autobiography can get away with presenting a life as a series of events and facts and figures. A memoir has to tell a story.

Memory can be troublesome
Of course, there are pitfalls to this. The temptation to exaggerate or even fabricate is great for the memoirist. That’s how you get guys like James Frey who fooled a great many people (including Oprah) with his is-it-true-or-is-it-not memoir, A Million Little Pieces. There’s remembering things a certain way and then there’s saying you served 87 days in jail when you did not.

Having now written a memoir myself, I get why this happens. A memoirist has two equally important priorities: tell the truth and tell a good story. They can occasionally butt heads. Only a very skilled and principled writer can navigate the battle successfully.

So why go there? Why write a memoir? Is it vanity? Lack of imagination?

For me, no. I don’t lack for imagination. I actually find fiction to be quite a bit easier than memoir. I wrote my book for two simple reasons: I knew it was a good story and I was compelled to tell it. Before I even knew if I was capable of writing a book, I knew this was something I had to do. And when you get promptings like that, I think you have to follow them. It usually means there’s somebody out there you can reach or help. I see the writing of my story as a sacred responsibility. One I could not ignore.

I imagine many memoirists probably feel the same way.

What are your reasons for writing your memoir? Do you feel the same or different than Brock Heasley?
 
Brock Heasley originally posted this article January 24, 2012 on his blog, brockheasley.com. His unpublished memoir, Raised by a Dead Man, a coming-of-age story, is represented by Bonnie Solow of Solow Literary. After graduating from California State University Fresno with a degree in Graphic Design, he launched the online comic The SuperFogeys. In 2010 he co-created the online comic Monsterplex, no longer published, which won DC Comics’ Zuda competition. 

Photo courtesy Brock Heasley.