It’s Your Life – writing and editing your memoir

I have edited many kinds of texts over the years, including theses and essays covering a wide range of topics, non-fiction books and novels. I’ve even cast my eyes over a couple of screenplays. But some of my favourite projects have been editing memoirs and autobiographies.

I’ve loved reading the life stories of my clients, each one fascinating and inspiring in their own way. All of them have been in their sixties or older and have wanted to record their lives and even some of their ancestry for their children, grandchildren and generations to come.

Having researched some of my own ancestry, I can only gain an inkling of who those people were, what kind of world they lived in. I have some very old photos of my ancestors on my father’s side. I would give anything to read even a letter written by them. No matter if they were cabinetmakers, cleaners or business owners, a snapshot of their life would be so fascinating. Gifting our life story is an important legacy.

A pile of old faded books on dusty attic floor. Pixabay Markusspiske

Back in the day, crafting a book meant navigating typed manuscripts and limited printing options. The best we could hope for was a collection of journals or letters. Why then, with computers, digital printing and countless programmes to ease the way, are there not more people recording their life?

There are many reasons, but perhaps the most defining is that our culture doesn’t value the handing down of stories and histories. The world is future-focussed and fast. It seems that youth is adored, and crusty old boomers are ignored or, at worst, abhorred.

But there are other factors. There’s often a veil of shame or hidden secrets, with stories of long-hidden siblings or unknown parentages surfacing in the eleventh hour.

Add to the mix the challenge of finding a receptive audience. Children and teenagers seldom grasp the concept of their parents or grandparents as vibrant individuals with lives predating their own. Often, by the time they are matured and curious, the elders have passed on and the stories lost.

Old man’s hands writing with a black pen. Unsplash Shraga Kopstein.
And let’s not forget the effort involved. Crafting words is one thing, but turning a manuscript into a book is beyond most older generations’ knowledge base, navigating the maze of technology. Unless you’re handing it off to a rare publisher, it demands a grasp of tech intricacies and a learning curve that can be daunting.

This is what brings me joy – being the bridge from the words to the finished product, helping you write and edit your memoir. Armed with my skills as an editor, self-publisher, a touch of design software knowhow, coupled with endless patience, I make the perfect memoir or autobiography editor. I’m not quite a boomer, but I’m young enough to enjoy using the suite of software and platforms available to make a book.

So, if it’s your dream to write your life story and you need help in any way, please drop me a line and I’d love to chat.