Memoir Writing

Memoir writing can be very therapeutic.

Many people have fascinating stories to tell, especially those who have experienced the most, and telling them can bring a sense of accomplishment, and peace.

As well as being the owner of The Beat Retreat Clinical Hypnotherapy, I am also a professional book editor and ghostwriter, and I help people from all over the world write their memoirs. To provide the same tools to even more people, I have designed a four week, eight hour, live, online group course, which costs just 50 GBP/USD in TOTAL. (You can attend live or receive seminar recordings).

Have you been meaning to write your memoirs? Have you been waiting for a push to get started? Here is that push.

If you can talk, you can write. Writing is just talking on paper! Memoir writing is about YOUR voice; YOUR vocabulary; YOUR vernacular. Just be you!

The next course starts on Monday March 20th 2023 at 8pm UK time (9pm Europe; 3pm New York). No payment due until after the first seminar. No obligation to continue. All texts, examples, tools etc provided.

There will be plenty of time for discussion and appraisal of ideas and writing from course participants, as well as group feedback if required/appreciated.

See the contents of the course below, and if you have any questions, or would like the link for the first session, please email

Week One 

Identifying Your Target Audience 

  • Why do you want to write your memoirs?
  • Who do you want to read it? Family/colleagues or a bestseller audience?  
  • Why do you want to write it now? Is it topical? What is your competition?
  • Identifying the message you wish to put across in your memoir.
  • Tailoring the contents to your audience – confessional, professional, transformational etc.
  • The pitfalls of memoir writing – the 10 most common mistakes.
  • Memoir versus autobiography.

How To Get Started

  • ‘Talking’ on paper – ‘Now I am going to write,’ is daunting. ‘Now I am going to talk,’ is not so daunting. 
  • Should you write or record? Pen or computer?
  • Creating your authentic voice.
  • How to test your story out on others first.

Where To Begin

  • Start from anywhere – worry about the real start later. 
  • Identifying the key moments.
  • Compiling a Memory List. 
  • Recognising a theme.
  • Plotting.
  • Chronology.

Organizing to write 

  • Finding a place to write. 
  • Identifying a time and method to write. 
  • Daily writing target – a fixed length of time or set number of pages. Advantages and disadvantages.  
  • Next day rewriting. Is it helpful?  
  • Overcoming procrastination.

Choosing Your Point of View 

  • First person.  
  • Third person limited.
  • Third person omniscient.

Choosing Your Tense 

  • Pick one. 
  • Don’t tense hop. 
  • Present tense or past tense. 
  • Examples where it doesn’t work.

Choosing Genre

  • Diary.
  • Anthology of short stories. 
  • Personal essay.

Choosing Title 

  • Don’t! Choose a working title. 
  • Your title is more likely to become obvious as the book progresses. 

Emphasis on grammar 

  • The need to be understood.  
  • Making grammar personal.  
  • Use of vocabulary.
  • Exploring the craft.
  • Use of a copy editor.
  • Use of a ghost writer.

First draft 

  • Expected length/word-count.
  • Forget perfectionism.  Ernest Hemingway said: “The first draft of anything is shit.” 

Week Two


  • Refreshing your memory. 
  • Studying the era.
  • Identifying props. 
  • Remembering music. 
  • Organisation of information.
  • Researching your genre.

Engage Your Audience 

  • Authenticity – making the reader care. 
  • Intimacy – inviting them in.
  • Avoiding alienation of the reader.
  • Effeactive use of bad language.  

Story telling

  • Characters and character arcs.
  • Action.
  • Suspense – cliffhangers.
  • Entertaining.
  • How to incorporate flashbacks.
  • Exploring Perspective.
  • Choosing the first chapter.

Grammatical Rhythm

  • Pacing.
  • Simple and complex sentences.
  • Speed and Cadence.
  • Parallelism.
  • Verbs – passive and active.
  • Use of adverbs.
  • Punctuation.

Narrative or Dialogue 

  • Finding the balance of communication.
  • Storytelling through dialogue.
  • Using description.
  • Inner speech and outer speech.
  • Mood – negative and positive.

Overcoming Writers Block

  • Scattergun writing.
  • Stream of consciousness.
  • Eliminating overthinking.
  • Best tips.

Writing with accents 

  • Making it realistic.
  • Making it intelligible.


  • Purple prose.
  • Excessive detail.
  • Scene streamlining.
  • Underwriting.

Week Three

Revising your draft 

  • Finish it, leave it, revisit it.
  • Read your writing out loud.
  • Spotting inconsistencies.

Dealing with Emotions

  • Memoirs as therapy.
  • Objective interpretations.  
  • Overcoming sorrow/regret.
  • Healing through writing.
  • Using journaling – writing as mindfulness.
  • Support network.

When to End 

  • Information overload.
  • Less is more.
  • The ‘perfect out’.
  • Tying up all ends/coming full circle/completing the theme.
  • Twist in the tale.
  • Epilogues.

After Effect

  • Lasting impression.
  • Memorable character/information.

Overcoming Self-Doubt 

  • The inner critic.
  • Seeing through the worry.
  • Avoiding comparisons.
  • ‘Imposter Syndrome’.

Family Opinions 

  • When to share your work.
  • Using other people to spot inconsistencies.

Legal considerations

  • Libel.
  • Invasion of privacy laws.
  • Assumption and opinion.
  • Truthfulness.
  • Changing identifying details.
  • Proving public interest.

Seminar Four

Final Edit 

  • Proof-reading – personal or professional?
  • Does it flow?
  • Is it ‘on message’?

Writing a Synopsis

  • Your succinct sales pitch.
  • Creating the basis of all your ‘marketing’ tools.
  • The ‘Story Hook’.
  • Distilling the key points of the challenges, the journey, the conclusion.
  • Effective use of the active voice in the third person.

E-Printing Templates 

  • The best e-publishing tools available.
  • Creating the right format file.
  • Use of visuals.
  • Optimising per device.


  • An overview of each platform.
  • Costs – DIY or assisted.
  • ISBN – Why you need one?
  • Making an audio book.
  • Cover design resources.
  • Pricing.

Print Publishing 

  • Publishers and agents.
  • Researching your market.
  • Self-publishing.
  • One-at-a-time print runs.
  • Traditional book sales.


  • Target markets
  • Inventory placing
  • Free publicity
  • Endorsements.
  • Marketing tools
  • Social media for authors

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