Thursday, October 20, 2016

Seven questions to answer as you write your memoir

Today we welcome Dwight Clough as our guest blogger. 
He’s a Christian editor, publishing consultant, ghostwriter, 
Dwight custom designs his services 
to meet his clients’ needs, budget, and schedule.

Seven questions you must answer as you write your memoir

(1) How do you define success for this project?
Do you simply want a beautiful book you can share with family and friends? Or do you want to inspire a new generation to embrace your faith? Or do you want to use your book to gain clients or ministry partners? Or do you need to sell a certain number of copies and make a certain amount of money? These are radically different goals and they require different strategies.

(2) Who is your reader?
If you’re writing your memoir for yourself, then you can write it almost any way you want. But if you’re writing it for someone else, then you need to get inside that person’s head and figure out how they think. What do they know? What don’t they know? What interests them? What bores them? How do you need to explain your message in way that will resonate with them?

(3) What is your message?
What exactly do you want to get across? The more focused you can be on this, the easier it will be to determine what fits, what doesn’t, and whether or not your book is complete.

(4) Why will your reader want to own and read your book?
What does your memoir do for your reader, and why does your reader care? Your story matters. Your message will make a difference in the lives of other people. But your message will have a greater impact if you prayerfully ponder this question. What are the benefits of your book? Be clear on that as you write, so you can add value to every chapter.

(5) How do you want your reader to respond?
Do you want your reader to embrace a certain set of practices? To support a ministry? To respond with awe and worship of God, the Maker of your story?

(6) How will you get your book into the hands of your reader?
How will you reach the readers you want to reach? How will you package and distribute your book so it gets into the hands of the people you want to reach?

(7) How will you achieve your goals?
How will you organize your time so this moves from fantasy to reality? What strengths and weaknesses do you bring into this project? What kind of help do you need, and where will you get that help?

I hope these questions will help you bring focus to your writing and add value to the memoir you are creating. I would love to look at what you’re writing.

Dwight co-authored and published a memoir 
by my friend and former coworker, Forrest Zander, 

For more information on the many services 
Dwight offers memoir authors, visit 


  1. Some excellent advice here. Thank you, Dwight. And thank you, Linda.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Mick, and leaving your comment. I, too, enjoyed Dwight's post. We writers need reminders of what we've learned in the past and always welcome new pointers, too.