According to my memoir writing teacher, memoir is about turning our personal stories into art.
Art with meaning. Art with a message. Art that heals. Art written in service of others. Art people can relate to and resonate with. Art that provides the reader with a perspective that just might help them in their own life.
I suppose in some of those ways my past writing, which has focused on sharing my personal experiences in the hope others can learn from them, could be considered memoir-ish. But it’s not full-on memoir, not by a long shot.
My past writing doesn’t tell stories. And I’d be hard-pressed to call it art.
Yes, I believe my books and blog posts are well written. I did major in journalism in college after all. My sub-major was advertising and the focus was on written communication. But it was more about clear and persuasive communication than storytelling. Still, I honed my writing chops through that major, and in my subsequent years working in marketing. In fact, content marketing—articles, blog posts, podcasts, video, and live speaking—was my primary form of marketing for more than 20 years. I enjoyed sharing my expertise. I’ve never been a fan of trying to persuade or manipulate people into buying, so it was a welcome way to spread the word about my services.
I have much to learn when it comes to crafting stories that qualify as art.
That excites me. It’s a new challenge, one I’m ready for. I’m enjoying learning how to take something that happened and share my perspective by crafting a story complete with characters, dialogue, colorful details about the setting, and a meaningful takeaway.
While I’m proud of the four books I’ve written, I’m looking forward to honing my memoir writing skills and adding a new, more creative dimension to my writing. One I hope will serve others while also being entertaining, enjoyable to read, and thought provoking to walk away from.
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