If you want readers to make it to the end of your book, this is an important distinction…

Because when you DON’T see this distinction, it’s like you’re sending out a mass of content, information, details, maps to different destinations…
Your reader gets confused, overwhelmed, and sometimes, a headache!
Because there’s a HUGE different between information and a well-crafted story.

So this is the distinction every memoir writer needs to make, to achieve a readable, workable, compelling draft:

……..See what you needed to write to PROCESS and understand the story and experiences you lived….
and how that differs from what needs to be in the story that will compel and engage and connect with readers.

Sounds simple, right? You’d be amazed how many writers send out a mass of terrible (or unusual, or weird) experiences in the form of a ‘book’, but there is no narrative thread that simplifies and clarifies this selection of experiences.

Because that thread is what makes the story comprehensible and cohesive, to a reader. And this is the work of memoir – taking the content and information from what you lived and felt… and turning that into a relatable and contextual journey for a reader.

The difference between writing to process an event versus what goes into the story comes down to elevating your perspective, coming out of that messy writing process and stepping into the role of discerning ‘listener’. And from that point, you select and choose what gets to stay, and what gets to be removed, to clear the path to the truth of what you’re trying to say.

Because a story is a path, a journey, and we won’t follow that path without certain guideposts. It’s just a jungle that needs to be hacked through, and nobody wants to do that.

Clear the path for the reader, take out all you needed to get out of your unconscious to see the story in its full truth… and refine it so that it’s a clear (and page-turning) story from start to finish.

A metaphor with another art-form might be helpful, here:
A painter wouldn’t just invite the general public to view everything they’ve ever painted in one overwhelming assortment clumped together in one room.
That’s not an exhibition.

No, they organise, select, curate the works with a clear theme, symbols, patterns, there’s a narrative through-line… this work of organising the work for the viewer is what changes our perception of its quality and interest.

I recently saw the fascinating exhibition of the late Lee Miller’s life at Heide Museum of Modern Art, and her son had curated the exhibition from thousands of photographs he found after her death.


Yet this exhibition was the most compelling story I’ve ever viewed – i wasn’t overwhelmed so i didn’t leave after the first 50 photos…. Every room, every ‘chapter’ had a certain theme, and it all connected with the whole, so that by the end of the exhibition (I was there for two hours!), you felt you had come to the inevitable and satisfying finish to a fascinating and multi-layered story…
It was such an honourable way to showcase her career – this selection of what was and was not included, was just as important as the work itself.

It’s this work of crafting NARRATIVE cohesion that is the work of memoir, and the difference between a first draft and one that is submission standard.

And you do this through understanding certain unconscious guideposts that influence how a reader perceives / moves through a story, such as…
✍🏽Narrative arc / structure
✍🏽Archetypes and character functions in story, and how they overlap with and connect with the reader’s experience
✍🏽The psychology of the 12 stages of the hero’s journey (and how these growth stages are mimicked in narrative)
…..as well as key plot techniques such as a hook, a premise, a midpoint, universal themes, and other techniques I teach that are particular to memoir.

This is the work of Art:
Curation. Ensemble. Selection.

Being both painter writer AND curator published author requires two separate skillsets – the ability to paint write and the ability to assess what the public needs to see read, too.

This is what I teach, in depth, inside the Art of Memoir.

Because it’s not enough to get that first draft down, just as it’s not enough to paint one painting, or fifty. If you want to make this something the public views as Art, or Literature, you need to understand the subconscious patterns that influence our perception of stories in every form.

The Art of Memoir is more than just a course on writing the first draft. It will transform you and your understanding of your stories, your patterns, and many of the unconscious assumptions that have governed your inner narrative your entire life!

If you’re ready to transform an experience story into a book-length work of literature, my signature programme, The Art of Memoir, is open for enrolment.

To your story, your truth, and the ultimate work of Art that is life!