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Tag: self-help

memoir notebook beside stack of memoirs

Why Memoir and Self-Help Need to Be Separate Books

If you’re writing a memoir to share your story with readers and are considering incorporating elements of self-help into it to teach your reader about what you yourself learned from your experiences, resist the urge. Memoir and self-help books need to be separate books because they operate uniquely and develop in opposite directions as works of literature. Where a self-help book’s purpose is to instruct and guide the writer and can (and should) infuse aspects of memoir into it to illustrate its points, a memoir is a personal journey shared through an immersive narrative that is ultimately resonant because it brings the reader into the story. that incorporates self-help undermines its own literary purpose as an immersive narrative. The good news for memoirists is that the learning a reader derives from going through your story is experiential and in many ways that much more meaningful and lasting than any overt instruction ever could be.

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