Write Your Memoir (With a Little Help from a Ghost)

Write Your Memoir (With a Little Help from a Ghost)

Guest post by Tom Seligson

Tom Seligson is a widely published author, journalist, ghostwriter, and Emmy-winning writer/producer for television. He has been published in The New York Times, The Village Voice, Glamour, Self, Mademoiselle, Redbook, American Health, and the L.A. Times and was a contributing editor to Parade.

 

You don’t have to be a Hollywood celebrity, decorated war hero, or even a notorious criminal to think your life story belongs in a book. Memoirs are more popular than ever. More than a third of the non-fiction books on The New York Times bestseller list are memoirs.  Who knows how many self-published books fit that description.

 Why Should I Write a Memoir?

  • Your book can celebrate your family and your life.
  • People today are fascinated by their ancestry.
  • Your book will be a treasured part of your legacy, a valuable family heirloom.
  • Your book is the ultimate personal gift.

 But My Life Isn’t Fascinating Enough.

  • You don’t have to have climbed Mt. Everest or worked in the White House to have something interesting to say.
  • It’s been said that everyone has a story in them.
  • You just have to find yours.

How Do I Find My Story?

  • Think back on the varied experiences you’ve had – from childhood all through your career.
  • You’re bound to find some worth sharing.

What Are Some Examples?

  • I came from a very abusive family. I ran away when I was in high school, and was homeless for a year. I’ve never revealed this before.
  • I was the youngest associate in my law firm. The older lawyers resented me, hoping I would fail. I learned the secrets of office politics, which helped me to succeed.
  • These experiences could easily be the basis for a book.

What if I Need Help?

  • Here’s where a ghostwriter comes in.
  • A ghostwriter can be your sounding board, someone you can bounce ideas off of.
  • A ghostwriter is a professional storyteller. The more he gets to know you and your life, the more he’ll be able to guide you into identifying your story.

Who Would Want to Read My Book?

  • Friends, family, colleagues are the obvious ones.
  • Depending on the topics you write about, you can potentially appeal to many readers.

Writing is Too Hard. I’ll Never Finish.

  • Writing can be challenge. But remember, you’re not in a race. Bestselling author Gay Talese writes one sentence a day. Those sentences eventually add up to a book.
  • You’re not a professional, so no reason to be hard on yourself. Writing your memoir is a great way to recall some of the major moments in your life.

Why a Ghostwriter?

Whether you want someone else to write every word, or have someone to simply fall back on during the process, a good ghostwriter can be a valuable partner to creating your memoir, something that can live on for generations to come.

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