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Readers Embrace Autobiographies That Capture How We Overcome Life’s Challenges

In my work as an autobiography ghostwriter and in my own reading, I’ve always loved books that tell a powerful story of how someone rose above some kind of challenge, loss or hardship in life. Those books can lift our spirits and remind us that no matter what struggles we may be wrestling with, there is hope. More than that, there are examples of those who have persevered and rose above what was holding them down.

I recently worked with someone who embodied this ability to overcome. Major General Alfred Flowers grew up in a family of sharecroppers, raised by his grandparents in rural eastern North Carolina. He lived in what many would call a shack, with a tin roof that allowed the rain to drip down on his head while he tried to sleep in bed. He was educated in segregated schools and could clearly see that most of the boys and girls around him seemed resigned to a life with little or no chance for success.

So he joined the Air Force, earned the trust and admiration of his superiors, and conquered long odds to become an officer long after the usual time frame. Eventually, he was promoted to Major General and managed the entire Air Force budget at the Pentagon. When he retired, he was honored as the longest-serving airman in U.S. Air Force history.

It was a pleasure and an honor to assist General Flowers in creating his inspirational autobiography, “Reflections of a Servant Leader: My Journey as the Longest Serving Airman in U.S. Air Force History.” I know that his story will encourage, support and inspire men and women of all ages and backgrounds.
– Kevin Quirk, memoir and autobiography ghostwriter.

Stories Shared at Christmas Family Gatherings Can Inspire Memoir & Autobiography Writers

Does this ever happen to you during Christmas or other holiday gatherings with your family?

You’re sitting around in a cozy space, soaking in the warm glow of delicious food and loving connections, when suddenly someone says, “Remember that time when…?” Then, before the person talking gets more than two sentences into their story, you find yourself nodding along, knowing exactly where the story is headed. And even if you would swear that the storyteller is not getting the details quite right, or you notice how he or she enjoys just a little bit of embellishing here and there, your attention remains riveted until the very end. As you look around, you see that you’re far from the only one comfortably entranced with the story that’s just been told.

There’s something special about shared memories. They have that power to connect and enthrall, whether they’re memories shared among family members or among fellow soldiers, current or former co-workers, attendees at a movie or concert, or anyone who was impacted by the same event or experience. Sometimes as writers of memoirs or autobiographies, we get caught up in the false belief that our stories must always be different, unique, something that no one has heard before, punctuated by a dramatic surprise ending. Sure, there is inherent value in telling something out of the ordinary, something that only happened to you. But there is also richness and broad appeal in being able to tell a story that others know quite well because they lived the same story. Others who read or hear our stories resonate with what we share, feel a deep sense of engagement, and appreciate the storyteller’s individual personality and perspective that guides their own unique expression of the familiar story.

So during this holiday season, pay extra attention to those moments when someone in your family or social circle begins to tell a story that others have shared in. Watch the magical connections that emerge. Then, consider what stories YOU may have to tell about common or shared moments and experiences in life. Those stories may be just what you need to jump-start your memoir or autobiography, or steer you toward enlisting the help of a memoir and autobiography ghostwriter to work with you on creating an unforgettable book about stories that are not yours alone and are waiting to be shared with an ever expanding circle.

– Kevin Quirk, Memoir & Autobiography Ghostwriter

Having a Cause or Mission Can Fuel Your Memoir

There are many good reasons to write a memoir or autobiography, and as a ghostwriter and book coach of personal life stories I consistently hear those diverse motivations for going public with something that happened. One common driving force is the desire to support an important mission or cause.

Kim Moretto Niemeier believes that World War II stories still need to be told, and that it’s now up to the children of those who served to bring those stories to light. Her father, Fred Moretto, was a fighter pilot whose Thunderbolt was shot down over France six days after D-Day. Simple farmers and villagers who supported the French resistance risked their own lives to hide Fred from the Germans for more than two months, before the Allies liberated the country. Fred never forgot their heroism, and almost 50 years later, urged on by his daughter Kim, he returned to France and reunited with those who saved him . Kim was right there, tears in her eyes, to see the joyful and poignant reunion, and it inspired her to dig deeper into what happened to her dad. That quest continued even after his passing and resulted in her book, “In the Hands of Strangers: A World War II Story of Courage, Heroism and and Enduring Friendship”:

Do you have a mission or cause to support in a memoir or autobiography that you need to write?

– Kevin Quirk, Memoir Ghostwriter at Life Is a Book

Two Books with Timely and Inspiring Messages

Writing your life story can be a rewarding and effective way to inspire other people, either by providing an uplifting perspective about dealing with hardships and challenges in life or by demonstrating how to take action to create a positive difference in the world. Two recent books from my fraternity of clients, colleagues, and friends stand as excellent examples.

“10 and 90: The Tackle That Changed Everything” by Logan Seelye ( tells the story of a high school football star, with dreams of playing in the NFL, whose athletic future was wiped out by the tackle that left him with a spinal cord injury. But Logan Seelye did not stay down for long. With the love and support of his girlfriend, family, teammates, coach, and community, he stood up to the challenge of living with a debilitating injury and rebuilt his life with passion, commitment, and success. The philosophy that guides him is that life is only 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent what you do with it. His message is sending ripples through everyone he meets or speaks to.

“Education: The Great Equalizer” by George B. Thomas, Sr. ( chronicles the many achievements of a man who grew up in a family of sharecroppers in rural South Carolina. After serving as a teacher, principal, administrator, and college president, Dr. Thomas finds a new mission: launching and growing a Saturday School program to boost the academic progress and inspire needy public school students in Montgomery County, Maryland. His program serves as a model for any group of educators or parents who want to do something more, and something positive, for the school children in their midst.

Do you have a book that can inspire others? Maybe it’s time to get going on that project right now!

– Kevin Quirk, ghostwriter of memoirs and autobiographies and author of “Your Life Is a Book – And It’s Time to Write It!”

When You Are Writing Your Memoir or Autobiography, Remember That You Are Part of Your Audience

If you are writing a memoir or autobiography, at some point you will find yourself thinking about your intended audience. Who will read your book? Most likely, family, friends, and loved ones will be part of your readership. Perhaps it will extend to others in your community. You may be hoping to reach, encourage, or support others who have had a similar life experience as you. And maybe you have your eyes fixed on a wide audience, with your book going viral across mainstream and social media!

Getting clear about your audience will certainly help you establish your voice, tone, and direction for your memoir or autobiography. As I tell my students in my Writing Your Life Story classes, as well as those I assist as memoir or autobiography ghostwriter or book coach, sometimes it can help to imagine yourself sitting at your kitchen table telling your story to a friend over a cup of coffee. That’s how you bring your readership into focus and anticipate what will help them grasp and appreciate what you have to say.

However, as you zero in on that audience, make sure you don’t forget one very important target reader: YOU! That’s right, somehow or other you will need to be able to read your completed memoir or autobiography and feel engaged in the story and enriched by the experience of absorbing yourself in it. Ideally, you will find something new or unexpected in the story that you told, and how you wrote it. You may believe that you are writing your life story for the benefit of others, and that certainly is a vital part of your mission, but I have come to recognize that we as authors are also writing for the benefit of ourselves. Writing your life story is a special endeavor, and you will absolutely gain from the experience of doing it and then reading what you have created.

So when you ask yourself whether you are reaching your target audience, remember to include this question: “Will my audience, including ME, be engaged in this story, and if not, what adjustments do I need to make to change that?”

– Kevin Quirk helps women and men of all ages and backgrounds tell the most important stories of their life in his work as a personal historian and memoir and autobiography ghostwriter. He is co-author of “Brace for Impact: Miracle on the Hudson Survivors Share Their Stories of Near Death and Hope for New Life” and author of “Your Life Is a Book – And It’s Time to Write It!”