Why are more women writing their memoirs?

Posted July 2009


Have you ever wondered why so many women are writing memoirs? Take a look at an August 2009 Canadian Living article entitled “Writing the story of your life–Create a family heirloom for generations to cherish and enjoy.” Writer Lisa Bendall focuses her attention on why, how and when women turn to this genre to tell their stories.


The whys include the fact that writing a memoir is not as daunting a task as an autobiography. Writes Bendall: “Memoirs often focus on specific highlights or moments anywhere along your lifeline.” Memoir also allows for more creativity than, for example, journalling. “…Memoir writing contains elements of storytelling, such as setting and plot, and may offer interpretation or resolution.”


Bendall calls on Professor emeritus of English at the University of Calgary and memoir guru Dr. Helen Buss (my post-graduate supervisor) to comment on the memoir writing craze. Dr. Buss says it may be a little like the scrapbooking phase people went through: “The memoir is perhaps a more complex version of that desire to document, one which often yields not only a personal and family history, but also considerable personal growth and insight.” 


Bendall suggests that women of all ages are making their way to memoir in droves because they value the self-exploration that memoir provides. Women who have lived their lives as caregivers finally get a chance to indulge themselves.


According to the article more and more women are taking up memoir writing through workshops, writing groups, websites and retreats, as well as the type of how-to books I’ve listed on this blog’s FAQ page. Blogs are another popular avenue.

Bendall claims women often pick up the pen after a momentous experience such as losing a parent or a spouse.


The article goes on to provide five tips for would-be memoir writers that focus on timing, scope, resources, writing clubs/groups and family secrets, as well as some valuable links.


To read the entire article go to: http://www.canadianliving.com/relationships/friends_and_family/writing_the_story_of_your_life.php


If you're interested in dipping your toe into the memoir waters check out the Being You In Memoir course I'm offering at the Alexandra Writer's Centre starting Sept 17/19. Here's the link: https://www.alexandrawriters.org/courses/being-you-in-memoir/

or vote for the other memoir course in the Popup Poll here: https://www.lifesallwrite.com/available-workshop-survey

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