All About You – How to write a memoir?






SR writing researchBy Aga Lesiewicz, Author and co-creator of The Creative Writing and Pilates Retreat

Everyone has a book in them but, as Martin Amis observed, it’s usually “not a novel but a memoir”.

Whether we try to record family history, tell of our experiences, or simply make sense of our lives, the reasons for writing a memoir can be varied but are always compelling.

The important question we all have to answer at the very beginning of the process is – how do I do it?




SR Writer at deskFirst of all you have to face the fact that it’s going to be all about you – a tempting prospect, or a scary one, depending on how uninhibited you are about your most intimate thoughts and privacy. Famously, George Bernard Shaw wrote in Sixteen Self Sketches that ‘all autobiographies are lies. […] No man is bad enough to tell the truth about himself during his lifetime, involving, as it must, the truth about his family and his friends and colleagues’.

  Self-censorship is the first hurdle. You can’t be honest and worry about what other people will think of you: you have to give yourself permission to be frank. Be bold and expect bruised egos and offended in-laws: they are necessary collateral damage. Having said that, memory is subjective and not always reliable, but this is precisely what makes your story unique.

SR Stories MatterYou don’t have to be famous to write a memoir, but you do have to have a story to tell that will resonate with your readers.

Remember – you are the narrator as well as the main character of the story, so the spotlight is on you.

Pick your point of view and find the right voice. Choose the beginning of your memoir carefully: you have to draw your readers in from the word go.

Use the same literary techniques you’d use in fiction: be aware of the structure, the plot, the time and the characters. And most importantly: be authentic.

Aga Lesiewicz - Author and Creative Writing Teacher on Retreat.

Aga has now added a module covering Memoir on  The Creative Writing and Pilates Retreat, for Writers who want to focus on writing a Memoir.

During our workshops we’ll look into both emotional and practical sides of writing a memoir. We’ll explore the structural and language techniques that are most suitable for the genre, learn how to plan and be selective, and how to engage the readers.

As always, spaces are limited to 6 - 8 people, so get in touch to ensure your spot on this life changing experience.