What type of memoir are you writing?

What type of memoir are you writing?

Memoir has become a popular way to discuss the lessons learned over the course of a life, and it continues to be one of the most popular non-fiction genre's to reach into the best sellers lists globally. 

It is a wonderful way of sharing a story and the lessons learned while retaining the beauty of being swept up in the story of another person,

Before beginning, there are some important decisions to make. One of those is the type of memoir to write.

So which is the right type of memoir for you?

Confessional Memoirs

You may have seen books with the title, 'Confessions of a......'

Not surprisingly, many of these titles are confessional memoirs! 

This type of account shares the writers regrets, negative experiences or secrets. It may be written under a pseudonym, and often the personal details of other people in the memoir have been de-identified. This both protects their identity, particularly if they appear in a bad light, and also protect the writer from potential legal action!

While these are one of the more sensational types of memoir, they most often have an uplifting ending, with the writer sharing how they and others in their story have changed and grown from their experiences. 

Personal Memoirs

This is the most popular type of memoir. 

Some can cover a number of years, but a successful memoirs cover a specific time, experience or event. This might be a fertility journey or coming of age journey or spiritual event. Many of these memoirs are also be called transformation memoirs, as they share what the writer learned at the end of the journey they take you on. 

These memoirs are designed to inspire change in the readers. They are usually written in a way that emphasizes the universality of the lived human experience - because while our circumstances might be vastly different, we have all known fear, disappointment, love and loss. The writer of these stories shares their journey with the hope that what they have learned can be adapted and applied in the readers life. 

Professional Memoirs

This type of memoir is written with a focus on the writer’s professional life. These are often written with the help of ghostwriters for people in the public eye, such as judges, sports people and politicians. 

Many of these dip their toes into the confessional memoir space, sharing previously unknown tidbits about themselves or their profession. This has been a growing trend with publishers, and some are almost entirely confessional! However the traditional professional account are instructional accounts of how the writer progressed and succeeded in their chosen field, providing a road map for aspiring professionals to follow. 

While many accounts are interesting to people across all fields and professions, on the whole they tend toward being slightly dry and esoteric for those without industry knowledge, though are important documents on their own. 

What memoir is right for you?

These are simply a few of the types of memoir you might choose to write. 

Traditionally there has been a greater adherence to staying within the 'type' of memoir being written, however the lines between the sub genres of memoir have become more and more blurred. 

However, when starting to create your memoir, it is extremely helpful to choose one a of the major types to assist with focus, and creating clarity around your message. 

So whatever type of memoir you choose, there is an ever seeking audience ready to engage with your story and the learning you have to share.  


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