When you write your memoir, avoid a “holier than thou” mind-set.
You know what it’s like when someone corners you with this attitude: “Too bad you can’t be like me.”
I’ll always remember a social event in which a man preached me all the way down a hall and against a dining room wall with statements like (I’m not making this up): “Presbyterians are going to hell!” (Yes, he knew I attended a Presbyterian church.)
Did his rant make me change denominations? No. It only made me avoid him in the future.
I agree with Oswald Chambers: “The people who influence us most are not those who buttonhole us….” (My Utmost for His Highest)
If you want people to read your memoir, avoid a know-it-all manner.
An “I’ve arrived” attitude is a turn-off.
Instead of preaching at readers, humbly tell your story.
Rather than drawing attention to yourself, point readers to God.
Lloyd Ogilvie prayed it well:
“May I share what I’ve learned from You without pious superiority
and the lessons of life without arrogance….
I want to point away from myself to You—the Author of my life story.”
Lloyd John Ogilvie
Since I’m flailing my arms up here in my pulpit:
Avoid “Christianese.” Steer clear of jargon your readers might not understand, phrases like:
- I’ve been washed in the blood of the Lamb
- living in darkness
- redeemed from a dark past
- decide to follow the Lord
- cast your burden
- bear fruit that lasts
- climb the mountain
- walk through the valleys
- ruled by the flesh
- washed in the blood of Jesus
- the enemy
- slave to sin
- wash as white as snow
- nothing but the blood of Jesus
- walk of faith
Instead, use everyday language to explain exactly what such phrases mean. Even words like “repent” should be thoroughly explained for your readers.
Keep working on your WIPs (works in progress—rough drafts). Write in such a way that your readers discover your deepest message: that God is your story’s hero.