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You Don't Have to Be Famous

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You Don't Have to Be Famous

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You Don't Have to Be Famous
How to Write Your Life Story

By Steve Zousmer
Writer's Digest Books, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-58297-438-5

Reviewed by Angela Evans - Posted August 14, 2012

Have you ever thought about writing your own autobiography or in recording personal or family events to pass down to generations to come? If so, you'll want to peruse You Don't Have to Be Famous: How to Write Your Life Story, by Steve Zousmer. This engaging book not only helps with the mechanics of writing, but it also provides the inspiration and encouragement to get you started writing - and to help you complete the task you've set for yourself.

In You Don't Have to Be Famous, Zousmer offers step-by-step guidance on how to write your memoir or autobiography. He begins at the beginning, offering tips on deciding what you want to write about, and proceeds to briefly looking at publishing options. In the middle, he covers organizing your material, deciding what type of book or article you want to write, the mechanics of writing, how to keep focused on your projected story, storytelling tips, rewriting your book, and dealing with criticism.

As a whole, You Don't Have to Be Famous is an excellent guide to the art and craft of writing a memoir. Most important, this book is geared toward non-professional writers who have a story or history that they want to document - either for their own personal satisfaction or as a historical document. This is also an ideal book for anyone looking for a new hobby or creative outlet. No matter what your age - you can begin to document your life.

Best of all, Zousmer explains why you don't have to be famous to write a memoir - or to find readers for it. Everyone has something interesting to tell about their life and the events they have experienced. You just might need a little nudge in the right direction to get you thinking about the story you want or need to tell, and how to transform this burgeoning idea into a polished document that you can be proud to share with the world, or simply put it away, destined for readers (or the odd grandchild) yet to be born.

I found this book to be easy to follow, and Zousmer's advice is coherent and just what I need to help me sort my life's story into manageable bits. He also offers some very sage advice about the pitfalls that you may face, such as the dangers posed by writing a 'true life confessional' type book. What I like best about this book is that Zousmer makes it clear that anyone can write a memoir, and he provides you with the encouragement and the skills needed to get you writing. I for one, have taken his advice to heart and have already begun working on my own memoir and I'm sure you will too after reading this book!

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