How Long Does it Take to Write a Memoir?

Filed in Writing Tips by on August 11, 2023 0 Comments

woman's hands typing on a laptop keyboard with reading glasses and a vase of flowers in foreground; how long does it take to write a memoir

Every writer works a little different and has individual time commitments, but here are some general time guidelines to help you estimate how long it may take you to write a memoir.

On average, it takes six to 18 months to write the first draft of a memoir. This timeline, however, can vary based on how much time you devote to your project, the length of your story, and your writing skills.

In this article we’re also discussing five helpful tips to write your memoir and how to revise your work before sending it to an editor.

5 Steps to Write a Memoir

Writing a memoir is a process that requires organization and planning. Here are five steps to help you get started:

  1. Determine the focus of your memoir. What is the main story you want to tell? What themes or messages do you want to convey?
  2. Create an outline. A memoir outline is a helpful tool that can keep you organized and focused. It can also help you identify any gaps in your story.
  3. Write the first draft. Let your ideas flow and focus on getting your ideas down on paper.
  4. Revise and edit. Once you’ve completed your first draft, you’ll want to take the time to revise and self-edit your own work. This is your chance to refine your storytelling, improve your pacing, and ensure that your story has a smooth flow to it.
  5. Get feedback. It’s always a good idea to get feedback from others. We recommend joining a writing group and sharing your work with beta readers to get constructive criticism that you can use to do another round of revisions.

How to Revise a Memoir

Revising your memoir is an important step in the writing process, and you don’t want to rush it. When revising your work, take a careful look at the structure, style, and overall content of your manuscript. We know revisions can feel monotonous at times, but when you take the time to revise your memoir results in a more polished and engaging book.

Plan for your revision process to take anywhere from three to six months, and this is before you send your manuscript to test readers and an editor.

Your revision timeline will vary based on your personal situation. For instance, if you need to do extensive revisions, it may take you a bit longer to complete the process. If you can regularly work on your revisions, you may be able to complete the process in less time than outlined above.

Your writing skills are another important factor to consider. If you are an experienced writer with strong revising and editing abilities, it may take you less time to finish your first round of revisions and rewrites. If you are new to the writing process, however, it may take you a little longer to revise your memoir.

Remember: Take your time and approach your revision process with a critical eye.

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About the Author ()

Erika Bennett is the Content Manager for Xulon Press. She has worked in the publishing industry for more than a decade and her passion is to make sure great books find their way into readers' hands. You can also find her writing on

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