Putting out a memoir is no easy feat and even more so when you're sharing sensitive or personal information. Helen Hart, an author and publishing guru, has some advice for those seeking to write their own books and memoirs.
Writing your memoir can be a truly cathartic experience, where an author will give meaning to specific parts of their life.
Books are a fantastic tool for research and can help ensure that mistakes in history are not repeated. You might have some wonderful experiences that need to be shared, and the lessons you have learned could help others who are new to similar roles.
In the case of business leaders, it can be incredibly beneficial for them to share their own memories, as they can help spread a personal perspective on the professional world. By informing others of what it is really like behind closed doors, any memoir from a business leader would be a beneficial resource.
A book is a fantastic legacy for many authors to leave their loved ones and the younger generation. So, what options are available when writing a book if you need to protect the privacy of the people you've worked alongside?
Writing a Memoir as a Business Leader
We often speak to budding writers who are unable to share their past due to their prior careers. When you've had a lengthy career in a sector like public service, you're under the obligation to protect your colleagues and peers by keeping silent, even after you've left office. Tensions are particularly heightened within a business environment, as a lot more is riding upon your maintaining your professional credentials. This can make writing your memoirs seem like an impossible task. However, we believe there are ways to bring your memoirs to life intriguingly and unexpectedly.
It is advised to focus on one or two key themes from your experiences rather than listing your entire autobiography. Even if you tell a true-to-life story, it pays to think like a fiction writer and draw the reader in from the opening word.
Sometimes the best stories can still be told after enough time has passed to protect those involved. You can write your book or draft a series of journal entries to work with an editor, as long as you hold off on publishing your memoirs until the appropriate time. The lives of business leaders are luckily ever-changing, so an issue that was the talk of the town one moment might not be relevant another. By waiting out the immediate repercussions, you can ensure that you will not expose the behind the scenes of too many professionals. If the parties involved are still in the public eye, you may want to wait as much as ten years before telling your story.
Creating a Work of Fiction
Another way of protecting those who from your career experiences is to write your memoirs as a work of fiction.
Johnny Tudor had personal experience writing the biography of Welsh singer and performer Dorothy Squires, the former wife of Roger Moore. From working on that book, he understood how personal memories could cause pain and suffering to the people involved. Using his varied experiences, Johnny reached a point where he wanted to write his memoirs but turned to fiction to free up his creativity. The book's setting remains a true reflection of the Welsh valleys; however, he amalgamated his own experiences with those of his childhood friends, creating dynamic characters for his book Peg's Boys.
For a business leader, you may want to set your novel within a completely different area or exaggerate certain events so that they stray from reality. By utilising your creative licensing, you can retell your memoirs without risking them becoming too much of a parallel to reality.
Fictionalising your memoir also gives you the room to develop more than one book, in which you can alter the timings of events and create even more vibrant characters. If you write a straightforward memoir, your book will only appeal to homeland readers interested in your former career. Writing about your professional career can create a gripping story with global appeal as your audience stands to become much wider.
Protecting Your Privacy
Provided that you put the time and effort into promoting your book, you have a choice on how open you want to be.
Using a pseudonym for your book to remain completely anonymous creates an author brand to promote and sell the books without revealing your identity. In a business environment, and particularly for leaders of those in positions of power, you might not want to risk exposing your identity because of the implications. Reputation is everything, so by using a pseudonym, you will maintain your professionalism within the workplace, but you will also be able to retell your story, protected by the safety of your own anonymity.
Leave A Beautiful Legacy
Writing a memoir will leave you with a beautiful legacy for future generations. It can be a way of educating others, becoming a warning and a self-help book, speaking from experience to advise the masses. By eliminating the line between business and professional lives, readers can understand what it is really like to live within a professional environment. Absolutely everyone can become an author, and everyone has their own story to tell, regardless of if the story is retelling your childhood or adult life. Let your imagination flow and grab a pen and speak your truth.
Helen Hart has been a published author since 1999. Working in an array of business environments, Helen holds an abundance of experience to suitably assist writers requiring their raw manuscripts to be transformed into polished self-published books.
Starting as a Freelance Features Writer to working for sBooks as a Commissioning Editor and Publisher later on in life - Helen Harts intelligence, creativity and ability to think on her feet has assisted her over the years to be the brilliant publishing director you see today.