Writing your memoirs at 60

I have always thought I would like to write my memoirs when I got to 60 years old, but then I wonder who would actually be interested in reading it.

A memoir according is:

1. An account of the personal experiences of an author.

2. An autobiography. Often used in the plural.

3. A biography or biographical sketch.

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4. A report, especially on a scientific or scholarly topic.

5. The report of the proceedings of a learned society.

As we go on through life, it is amazing to realise how similar we all are. For example, most of us attend some sort of schooling, are brought up in a family environment, fall in love, get married ( some more than once),  some maintain health, and others get sick and die.

So what would make your memories worth reading? Is there something you have in your life that is different to others?

Writing down what has happened to you in the last 60 years might be painful or bring back sad memories. Some photos may trigger your memory and help you with dates of special occasions. You may want to discuss the hurt and anger you have experienced, or the more happy times of travel and experiences with family or friends. How you felt, what goals you set, what you learned from your experiences, and how that reflected through your life can add to the story and make it extremely interesting. Remember you can focus on a particular period of your life… it does not have to be the whole life story.

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I always go back to the initial overview when looking at writing a book. I find a chapter index to be the greatest help when it comes to how I want to move through the story. An index of chapters, broken down into topics in each chapter can give a pathway to follow. By listing the memories and working out which order you wish them to fall in can be of assistance when dealing with a number of life experiences. Whether you eventually stick to that pathway is not important, but it may give you a starting point and explain how you want to develop the stories. Look at each chapter as a linked story and then go ahead and write each section.

Constant revision of what you have written is important, along the way correct the grammar and make sure your sentences and paragraphs make sense. One of the things I learned when writing my PhD thesis was that each paragraph should be able to be under one heading, so that you do not divert from the topic being discussed and suddenly jump to something else. In each paragraph I worked from discussion on the bigger picture to the smaller more intrinsic information, looking at linking it to the next paragraph so that the story flowed.

Even when you are writing a chapter write a index for that chapter so you have some guide as to what you are writing. Take time to read your work out aloud, or put it away for a day or two and then go back over it.

When you feel you have finished, go and seek out a publisher. There are particular books available that list publishers in Australia, or failing that you could publish it on the internet.


Have you ever thought of writing or have you ever written a memoir?