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"When we go, the stories go too, unless we've passed them on."
Brian Byrne, author of Mariseo's House and Other Stories


Taking up the challenge of composing a memoir

Putting together a memoir can be a wonderful means of leaving a personal legacy. The benefits of the challenge, however, begin as soon as you start in on the task. Memoir writing is an opportunity for you to reflect on your own life and piece together events, places, personalities, and your own responses to happenings during your lifetime. People often find the effort validating and therapeutic.

You may want to focus on key lessons you've learned in life that you now want to communicate to others, or perhaps you view your life as a pilgrimage and you want to write a spiritual memoir, or your life has been a challenge in which you have prevailed over adversity in ways others will find inspirational. Maybe you just want to write about the good times, taking the best you've experienced in life - your meaningful friendships, your greatest adventures, your most romantic moments, your most rewarding achievements - and put them all together in a book that will let people know you've enjoyed life and made the most of it. There are a lot of ways to put together a memoir.

Using a Personal Historian to assist you in writing your memoir

If you are better at talking about your life than writing about it, you can leave the writing part of a memoir or autobiography project to an experienced writer. As a personal historian I specializes in assisting people in recording their life stories. Five to six hours of recorded interviews will capture the essentials of your life stories. A more thorough telling of a life story often takes fifteen to eighteen hours. I can take the project from there, seeking your feedback in the process of crafting a finished book.

How a Personal Historian can help

The goal is to present your life as a compelling story, not merely as documentation of what happened through the course of your years. I can prompt you to remember further details about scenes and characters in order to fill out the story and make it more readable, capturing the atmosphere of places and the nature of people's personalities. You will also be prompted to reflect on your current understanding of how and why events in your life unfolded as they did. And I can help bring to the task the reader's point of view, developing the story of your life in a way that keeps the story moving along, holding the reader's attention. As an experienced writer I can help you develop your life story using these and other features of good writing. Starting with recorded interviews, or a draft manuscript you have written, I can help you put together a life story you will be proud to offer to others to read. Read excerpts from memoirs I've helped others write by following this link. Learn more about what goes into a good memoir by following this link.

Selecting a project that fits your budget

You pay for what fits your budget, with a writing project progressing from interviewing and transcription services, to editing work, then to the careful organizing and rewriting needed to produce a well crafted memoir. Details of these expenses can be found on the Frequently Asked Questions page.

By following these links, you can learn more about Jack Nelson, a personal historian living in Charlotte, N.C., and the writing services he offers. You can also read lengthy passages from some of the completed memoirs Jack has helped others write.

Jack E Nelson
Personal Historian
(704) 243-4447


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