If you write about yourself,
is it memoir?
Yes. I say, “If it talks from your perspective, about you, then it is memoir.”
Memoir snobs, and in this current decade memoir is big, so authoritative opinions about what is, and is not memoir are everywhere. I suggest ignoring them.
Unless you think that your life is best-seller material, I say, “Don’t worry about it!”
It Is All Personal History
Yes, memoir differs from autobiography which differs from auto-ethnography, and all of these differ from journaling in that there is some sort of publication involved. Yes, blogging is a type of publication.
I think most of us who write about our personal history and life are memoirists. Memoir is not telling your life story story sequentially. That can be pretty ho-hum unless you are a truly gifted writer. Memoir has a unifying element, a theme.
Finding Your Niche, Theme, or Category
I did not realize until I began my memoir (still unpublished) about being an adult survivor of what was then called Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy that I really only wrote variations on a theme about five or so thematic elements when I told my own stories:
- Family problems in the generations above me.
- How all I missed while being isolated as a child set me up for distinct problems in each life stage beyond childhood.
- How Gaia mothered me more than Mom did.
- How all of my brothers ( I was the youngest of five and the only girl) suffered their own hardships from growing up in a less than perfect family.
- How material items and family heritage behind them became socially and culturally significant forces in my life.
As you notice the patterns of things you write about after you have several posts, you can can then group them as categories. These categories might evolve to be chapters or separate books.
Your focus area can be large or small, serious or comedic. If I was starting all my writing anew I would probably have one theme or category centered on Discarded Careers that, for me, might include:
- How living on an island with 500 monkeys taught me I did not want to be Jane Goodall
- Wankers in the Stacks and the downside of library work
- Never offer to create a website for someone
- At the Steroidal Gym with Small-balled Coworkers
See what people respond to, and find to be fascinating; then write more along the same line. You will discover themes to which you return time and again and that people enjoy. If you put these factors together you may find your own, well-received niche.
Turn what you write into a book – later. Just write your stories down now! Record your thoughts, reflections, and memories.
Turn a WordPress Blog into a Book
If you write your stories as posts in a blog that uses the WordPress platform (WordPress.org) on a self-hosted server, there are then several ways you can turn that blog into a manuscript you can work with, edit, and publish. I think there is an export function in free WordPress sites or sites actually hosted by WordPress.com.
- Export your blog through EXPORT under the TOOLS section of your WP dashboard. Or use a plugin like WP EXPORT by Soflyy to save your blog contents as CSV or XML file.
- Convert the file into a readable and editable format such as text, rich text, or pdf with a converter. One of many sites that converts files from XML is Free File Converter.
- Then import your text into a program like Scrivener , that is fairly inexpensive, that allows you to edit, convert into chapters, as well as do tons of other things, and then convert your edited document into a format accepted by publishers like CreateSpace.com.
So, if in doubt, DO IT. Write your memoir, or your autobiography, or your auto-ethnography, and use the blog format as a way to record and organize the different stories and types of memories you want to share. I will have more on autobiography and auto-ethnography in future posts.
Blogging Doesn’t Have to Cost a Bunch
It need not cost a fortune. There are free blogging options by Google and WordPress. This is actually a good choice for bloggers who want to have a blog that may well hang around after they are no longer around to pay the hosting company their monthly or annual fees. These particular hosts reserve the right to place ads which they profit from on your site in exchange for giving you the site for free. Your family can then access the site after you have departed this life for at least a while and maybe much longer.
There are many ways to use a blog as the platform for your memoir. If you have questions, just ask!