Memoirs are one of my most popular requests that I get. People reach out to me with amazing experiences and life stories that they want to write down and share with the world. Whether using a ghostwriter or writing it on your own, here are some quick tips for how to write your memoir. 


1. Keep a diary:


I can't count how many times I had a great idea only to forget it when I sit down at my computer to type. Writing down the events of the day prevents memory lapse later while also being a good way to write down old memories that resurface unexpectedly.

2. Narrow your focus:

Don't fall into the trap of feeling like you have to write every event from your entire life. Think about the message you want people to gain from reading about your life. Do you simply want to share your hardships? Do you want people to learn from your choices? Have you come to some epiphany that you want others to experience? Regardless of your goals, use it to keep you focused while looking at the events of your life. What events are vital to getting that message across and which events would distract? Sometimes it is helpful to create a timeline, so you can visualize the various key events. 

4. Pull your reader in with the details:

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When I was a teacher, I used to tell my students to show not tell. It was a simple reminder that using sensory detail has significantly more impacts than simply telling the audience your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. When it is your own life, it is all too easy to forget the reader's perspective. Your reader doesn't know you. The details help the experiences become real. 

5. Write and write and write, but also read:

Writing is a skill that takes time and practice. The more you write, the more you will get a feel for your own style and voice. Good writers always read too. You would not expect to pick up a sport without first studying technique. While it may not explicitly teach things like grammar, punctuation, and syntax, you will instinctively get a sense of storytelling, flow and word choice as you read.

6. Get help:


So often authors who want to write their story, find that they are just too close to it to write it objectively. They will get bogged down in the emotional elements and struggle to see the big picture of their book. Don't be too hard on yourself, and don't let the setbacks keep you from realizing your dream of becoming an author. There is nothing wrong with getting help from either a ghostwriter or even an objective reader. 

If you are ready to get started with a ghostwriter, visit my CONTACT page and reach out to me today.

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Photo by Thinkstock/Stockbyte / Getty Images

Photo by Thinkstock/Stockbyte / Getty Images

So you have made the decision that hiring a ghostwriter is the right step for you and your project--now what? For someone who is new to the process, it can be very overwhelming.  After all this is someone you are trusting with your ideas, creativity, life's work or business.  Despite my obviously biased high praise for ghostwriters, it is important to note that not all ghostwriters are the right fit for every project.  Some ghostwriters are highly specialized in a small niche of writing such as memoirs or technical writing. Regardless of your individual needs or the specialization of the ghostwriter, there are a few key qualities you should look for.

Photo by Phil Ashley/Digital Vision / Getty Images

Photo by Phil Ashley/Digital Vision / Getty Images

1. Individual vs. Company:

This may be my own personal bias, but avoiding large companies is always your safest guarantee to knowing exactly who you are working with. With larger ghostwriting factories, your work is often shuffled from writer to writer and are often a front to make money. Many different individuals may be working on a single clients works and some of those "writers" are low payed college students. Your project is important to you and it should be equally important to whom ever you choose to work on it. 

2. Professional Associations:

While finding an independent ghostwriter is ideal, you also do not want someone who is not connected to other writers in anyway. Anyone can throw together a website and insist that they are a ghostwriter, being a member of a professional association demonstrates their commitment to their craft as well as their willingness to improve by being part of a community.

Photo by Michaela Stejskalovß/Hemera / Getty Images

Photo by Michaela Stejskalovß/Hemera / Getty Images

3. Samples:

Any ghostwriter worth their salt will have samples ready for you to browse. These are generally the pieces they are using with client permission or pieces they have written using their own byline. If a writer is stingy with samples, that should be a red flag. The caveat to this, however, is that ghostwriters work under strict confidentiality agreements, so don't expect a lengthy list of past clients. They can only divulge clients who have waived their confidentiality. 

4. Personal Connection:

This is probably the most important thing to look for in a ghostwriter.  A ghostwriter could be the most highly acclaimed writer ever to live, if you have misgivings about them for any reason, your project will probably be doomed.   Your relationship with your ghostwriter is an important one and despite what some companies want to convince you of, it is a very personal one. Speak to your potential writers on the phone.  A quick phone call will tell you if they share your enthusiasm for your ideas, if they have a style and personality that works well with your own, and if you are comfortable working with them. You will quickly be able to tell their level of professionalism from your conversation.


5. Reasonable Cost:

Ghostwriters are professional writers who have perfected their craft over many years of education and practice, and they expect to be compensated for using their skill for your gain without any acknowledgement. Be wary of a ghostwriter who will write an entire book for very little money. This typically means they are either inexperienced or have little skills. Writing is a highly skilled profession, so do not expect to pay your writer minimum wage or less. Although it is cliche, you always get what you pay for. 

Photo by aydinynr/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by aydinynr/iStock / Getty Images

If you front load all of your effort into finding the right ghostwriter, working with them should be not only easy, but rewarding as well. A trusted ghostwriter can help  the creative and technical process of writing run more smoothly and efficiently.  


AuthorAmber Cross

People have asked me; “Amber, why don't you write your own novel?" or "Why do you ghost write?" While these are reasonable and expected questions, the answer is self evident, at least to me anyway. I enjoy the comfort of other people's ideas. I take solace in the space and time to choose just the right word, to play with meanings and truly craft in a way that is not always available when the ideas are your own, and you are weighed down by your own personal baggage or bias to a piece.  I have come across many people who have aspirations of writing who struggle to get ideas down because they are so caught up in the end result that they cannot enjoy the process its self.


The craft of writing has become devalued in a time when anyone can string words together to create a thought. There was a time in the history of our culture when writing was highly valued. Few could read and even fewer could write. You did not waste paper by merely stringing words together to form a thought. The thought had to have meaning and the words had to have elegance and beauty. Ghostwriting for me likens back to a time when writing was valued. 


Hiring a ghostwriter shows a level of respect. You have these ideas and thoughts that you value, to the point, that a professional writer is required to lend credibility, value and sophistication in order to realize the full magnitude of the project. When clients come to me they are burning with passion to see their ideas realized. My own excitement for writing is renewed again every time I listen to a new client discuss their vision. 


In the Novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, he compares people to the cogs and inner workings of a clock saying that everyone has their place and purpose in making the world function.  Much like Hugo’s place was a magician my place is a ghostwriter. I get to have a different voice each time I take on a new client. I get to learn about topics and worlds that few others have the time or dedication to do.  I get to breath life into ideas that had lain dormant in someone else’s mind through. Being a ghostwriter is not for someone who enjoys the spotlight or desires recognition, but rather it is for someone who sees the weight and presence of a word well chosen. 


In my past life as a teacher, I used to develop lesson after lesson on choosing words wisely.  I would discuss connotation versus denotation and the importance of knowing both.  These were some of may favorite lessons because English speakers and writers are lucky enough to have a language that allows us room to interpret, play, infer, and mislead in a way that not all languages can boast.  I count myself extremely lucky to have the opportunity to play with words everyday. 


And that is why I ghost write.  The power and satisfaction of delivering someone’s ideas to the world, to be read and shared, is beyond measure. A colleague of mine used to say, “The purpose of writing is to get what is in my brain into yours.”  That is exactly what I try to do for my clients who do not have the time or ability to convey what is in their head accurately enough.

AuthorAmber Cross
Categorieswriting craft