Writing a Memoir that No One Will Read

Today I read an article by Theo Pauline Nestor answering the question “Why Writing a Memoir Might Actually Make You Happier“, and found myself agreeing with her completely.  However, writing a memoir is something that is done by most as a hobby and is usually never intended to be read by millions.

I have written a daily journal for years, but I would never publish the thing.  It’s full of personal information that would only be understood by people very close to me and in some cases would be utter nonsense.  Memoirs that are meant to be read by others are interesting and usually teach us something about the human condition through commentary on true events.

Three of my favorite memoirs intended for public reading are Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt, On Writing by Stephen King and Born Standing Up by Steve Martin.  All three of these memoirs are interesting and powerful.  I love McCourt for his brutally honest portrayal of growing up poor in Ireland.  I love King’s confessional about his writing process and how he rose to fame while remaining humble.  I love Martin’s wonderful retrospective on his stand up career and his love of philosophy which leads him to a desire to make people laugh.  All three of these are excellent modern examples of how memoirs can be readable and enjoyable.

I mainly write my own memoir for personal reflection and to cause my writing juices to flow.  I personally do not feel that my life is worth the time someone would take to read about it.  Quite frankly, they would be extremely bored.  One should only try to publish their memoir if they are famous, have a unique story that people can learn from, or if they overcame some horrible tragedy that could help others overcome their own.

This is why I have a memoir that no one will read.  It is personal, and I will keep it that way.  If I become world renown, then possibly…but probably not.

Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

3 thoughts on “Writing a Memoir that No One Will Read

  1. I bet, as clever as you are, you could write something interesting about your life, despite proclaiming you are “boring.” For example, I enjoy your posts about teaching. You could write a memoir about your favorite lessons, favorite students and the lessons you learned by teaching. Would it be a best seller? Maybe so, maybe not, but a lot of teachers/students/blog fans might find it interesting.

    1. Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate your comments and have often thought of writing a memoir one day about teaching experiences. I guess my life (to me) sometimes seems so humdrum I wouldn’t ever consider it to be something someone would want to read.

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