How to stand out in the crowd of Boomer memoirs

A recent study of Baby Boomers revealed that the single thing they most want to do in retirement is write a book. The single biggest topic? Themselves.


So how do we differentiate our story from those tales of our peers?


In writing what we know are we merely voicing the same concerns?


I would argue that we are not, since everyone has a story, and that each of those stories is unique. To avoid sounding like everyone else, perhaps the key is to also avoid grand sweeping statements about our generation and instead look to the small moments of life to illuminate those grand themes.  


If you avoid making yourself the story, and instead think of yourself of the illustration of a universal theme, you'll succeed.


I'd invite some discussion of this here.

  • *chuckle* I rewrote my columns 5 or 6 times. I rewrote my above post. If rewriting is key then I'm golden. lol



  • Hi, Caryl.

    And it's attitudes like your that keep those good books coming along onto our booshelves. 

    Humor is a gorgeous thing to have in your toolbox, as is the discipline of having been a columnist for 7 years.

    But you are right on -- it's not the writing, it's the rewriting that is the key. I tell my students this, and they always look at me with that gauzy disbelief that suggests they think that they will never need to rewrite a thing. They're wrong. Even when I admit that it was version 45 that made it onto All Things Considered as an essay, or the third total rewrite that got the nod from my last book editor, I still get what I now call, "the look."

    You, however, will be fine: You know that the rewrite rules. You've got the hard part down.

    Write on.



  • "...the single thing they most want to do in retirement is write a book." Really?! Gah- I thought I was so unique. lol


    I'm hoping that one way to stand out is by actually doing it. Writing a book is hard work. Finishing it, going back and rewriting it, is no fun. Few people see it through to the end. 


    But I realize that's not what you're talking about here. My memoir is humorous and slightly absurd. I know I can be funny- I wrote a humorous column for seven years. I'm hoping that will make my story stand out. I have no illusions, I know it's long shot. But I'm writing it anyway.