How many memoirs do people have in them?

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gettingby

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I know some memoirist write more than one book, but how many is too many? Maybe there is no limit. I don't know. I have started three memoirs. One I had to abandon for reason's outside of my control. Things happen. I could perhaps go back to it someday, but I would have to take a different approach. It's not something I will go back to anytime soon.

A few months back, I started a different memoir. It's going okay. I think it will be a good story... if I can actually finish it. It makes me a little nervous when things are good. I've got around 100 pages or so. I knew where I wanted to start this memoir, but now I'm not sure where to end it. Being around the halfway mark. I've started to think about this.

So, I started another memoir about my childhood. This is more like a practice memoir. That might sound silly, but I want to write it through just to see how I might be able to handle things with the memoir I am more serious about. That being said, the memoir about my childhood is really fun to write and is coming out better than expected. I think I will finish it pretty quickly like in a few months. But I am not sure I will try to publish this one. I rather publish the one I am more serious about but a little stuck on.

How many memoirs do you think you have in you? How many have you written or tried to write? Do you ever feel stuck writing memoir? I mean we all know how how memoir turns out, but do any of you struggle with where things should end? And has anyone done a memoir just for practice so you might be able to write a better memoir after it?
 

Jamesaritchie

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Someone once said you should write one memoir every ten years. This always made sense to me.

But, honestly, I think very few people have even one memoir in them that many would want to read, and I know very darned few can write well enough to make a memoir interesting, even if they've lead a fascinating life.

Let me ask you this. How many memoirs have you read that weren't about famous people, or people who somehow lead a far, far out of the ordinary life?
 

gettingby

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Someone once said you should write one memoir every ten years. This always made sense to me.

But, honestly, I think very few people have even one memoir in them that many would want to read, and I know very darned few can write well enough to make a memoir interesting, even if they've lead a fascinating life.

Let me ask you this. How many memoirs have you read that weren't about famous people, or people who somehow lead a far, far out of the ordinary life?

That ten year point is interesting. I can see how that makes some sense. I have read too many memoirs to count. I really enjoy them. And only a handful have been by famous people if that. I read the Patti Smith memoir and Carla Del Ponte's memoir, but I can't really think of other famous people memoirs I have read even though I'm sure there are a few more. But I'm not really looking to read only famous people memoirs. This is an area where I read widely.
 

Scriptissima

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I think it really only depends on the individual person's life. Some people might lead interesting, unique, or exemplary lives that lend themselves to five or eight memoirs, other people might lead lives that don't pique anybody's interest at all (outside of their own family maybe). Also, travel memoirs are memoirs of sorts, so if you look at, say, Bill Bryson, a single person can apparently crank out 15 or more memoirs, if choosing small enough chunks of the respective person's life journey.

I have been trying to get my mom to let me put some of her life into writing; I think her life could easily make for two, possibly three highly interesting memoirs; particularly her childhood in a war-torn country as well as her coming-of-age time in post-war Europe.

If you have stories to tell that will fill a book and that people will want to hear, I don't really think that there is a limit. Three memoirs, like you have been working on, seems like a reasonable and credible number to me, provided that the happenings and findings you will disclose in each of those memoirs support an entire book.
 

mayaone

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I was just thinking about this question as I am finishing my second memoir. I am 65 years old and have had an unusual life. I think the answer is to ask yourself if you have more to say a reader might find useful or thrilling. Of course if you are famous none of these requirements apply.
 

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