If you’re beginning to explore the idea of writing a personal history or hiring someone to work with on a project like this, you’re bound to have questions about personal memoir. Why does it matter, and how does a person’s life story unfold as he or she collaborates work with a personal historian?
One telling question: What’s behind the uptick in the popularity of this genre? According to Nielsen BookScan, total sales in the categories of personal, childhood, and parental memoirs increased more than 400 percent between 2004 and 2008. Why?
I believe that sharing our personal stories—the good, the difficult, the revelatory and even the seemingly mundane—helps us better understand ourselves and invites others into our lives in a way that is richly satisfying, sometimes unexpected and often inspirational or educational. Most important, it instills a deeply rooted sense of connection, something most people are hungry for.