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CREATIVE WRITING INSIGHTS: “How Do I End My Memoir?” by Lorilyn Roberts

Last updated on January 3, 2023

I received this question in my email today from a reader and it’s a great question to consider, so I share it here for those who may find my advice helpful.

Hi, I am emailing you to ask for your help, please, as I have a huge respect for you and your work.
I am an artist who is trying to write a memoir, but struggling with the ending.
My story is obviously true, based on my losing my dad in the summer. He took his own life.
The whole event was like a film. It didn’t seem real, the build-up, the actual event, and the aftermath. 
I feel I also need to share this event as self-therapy more than anything as I am still struggling to come to terms with what happened.
I know how to start my memoir, the middle, but it’s just the end – how do I finish it? What’s the point to it? 
Do I finish it on the one-year anniversary, for example, when I will return to where it happened and finish up my feelings, and how I haven’t ended it all myself, which was going through my mind when I stood at the spot where it happened last June? 
I really don’t know, I am so stuck on how to end it and not make it a pointless book, but I just don’t know how.
I appreciate it. You are probably very busy yourself, but just a moment of your time and a reply would be so hugely appreciated. I can’t even begin to tell you how much.
Thank you very much and I look forward to hearing from you.
Here was my response:
Dear _____
The ending is the redemption — if you haven’t figured out how God used this event in your life to teach you more about your heavenly Father, then I would stop and spend some time in prayer. Here are some questions to ponder:
1. What have I learned about God’s sufficiency?
2. Am I closer to God because of this painful experience?
3. How has this impacted my life for the future?
4. How can I help others who might be faced with a similar situation?
5. Have I let go of my anger, my unforgiveness, my sin, my false expectations of my father, and given my heavenly Father first place in my life?
6. Do I love God more, enough to let go and move on with my life?
Think about these things. A memoir must first be written to you — to work out your own salvation, and then you can help others work out theirs — for God’s glory and your healing.
I will add here, that writing a memoir can be one of the most gut-wrenching undertakings you ever do and should be bathed in prayer. God can teach you much about grace and joy, even if you never publish your memoir. To read my award-winning piece on how to write a memoir in twelve easy steps, click here.
Published inCreative Writing

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Lorilyn Roberts