Writing Your Memoir: How to Work with a Ghostwriter

Written by

Talia Raine

June 19, 2024

Everyone has a story to tell. You don’t have to be rich or famous to write a memoir; you just need to commit to the process. The most meaningful gift you can give to future generations is a book that preserves your memories, shares the people and experiences that shaped you and passes on your wisdom. While everyone has a story worth telling, not everyone has the time, patience, or literary flair to write it down. 

A professional ghostwriter can turn your life story into a book that captures the excitement and emotion of the important moments in your life. As masters of story structure and literary techniques, we can make your words flow on the page. Our job is to help your voice shine through so it feels as though you’re speaking directly to your reader.

In this article, we’ll demystify the process of working with a ghostwriter, ensuring your journey from idea to finished book is enjoyable and satisfying. When writing your memoir, collaboration is key as we mine your memories for your best anecdotes and life lessons, the people you love, and your trials and triumphs.

The Process of Writing Your Memoir

The first step is meeting with your ghostwriter, either over Zoom or in person. We will discuss your vision for the book and your audience. This will be a brainstorming session where you can ask as many questions as you would like about the process.

We’ll also discuss your contributions to the book, such as writing or audio recordings and supplying images. Many of our clients find the experience of collaborating on the memoir and reviewing photos to be incredibly moving and rewarding.

Create The Timeline

Your first assignment will be filling out a timeline template. The timeline will allow the reader and your ghostwriter to understand the important dates in your life. The timeline will serve as a roadmap for writing your memoir and it will later become a beautiful visual in your coffee table book.

Some memoir authors write every detail of their lives, no matter how exciting—or not—in an effort to tell a complete story. This can lead to overly long books that lag and do not make the reader want to turn the page.

We want your book to be a fascinating page-turner, and the timeline is key. It is an at-a-glance storytelling device that frees up the narrative for just the highlights and story gems. Your reader will be oriented by the year and the context of that period of your life. Readers want the greatest hits, not the boring bits.

Creating a timeline for a memoir involves listing significant events, milestones, and experiences that shaped your life. Here’s a list of important things to include:

1. Birth and Early Childhood

   - Date and place of birth

   - Parents, grandparents, siblings, and caregivers

   - Family background and heritage

   - Early memories and significant childhood experiences

   - Schools attended, friends, and early influences

2. Adolescence

   - Significant events during school years (middle and high school)

   - Academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and hobbies

   - Best friends, favorite teachers, mentors

   - Love interests

   - Challenges and turning points during teenage years 

3. Young Adulthood

   - Higher education and college experiences

   - First job and early career milestones

   - Relationships, friendships, and significant social experiences

4. Career and Professional Life

   - Major career changes, promotions, and achievements

   - Significant projects, collaborations, and professional accomplishments

   - Challenges and lessons learned in your professional journey

5. Personal Life and Relationships

   - Important romantic relationships and marriages

   - Births of children and parenting experiences

   - Friendships, social circles, and community involvement

 6. Life-Changing Events

   - Major health events or personal challenges

   - Moving, buying a house

   - Significant travel experiences

   - Personal losses, tragedies, and how you overcame them 

7. Achievements and Accomplishments

   - Awards, recognitions, and honors received

   - Contributions to the community, society, or industry

   - Creative projects, publications, or inventions 

8. Hobbies and Interests

   - Hobbies and passions that played a significant role in your life

   - Volunteer work and charitable activities

   - Personal development and lifelong learning pursuits

9. Reflections and Insights

   - Important life lessons and philosophies

   - Reflections on personal growth and changes over time

   - Hopes, dreams, and goals for the future

10. Epilogue

   - Hopes, dreams, and goals for the future

   - Summary of your life’s journey and overarching themes

   - Messages or advice for future generations

   - Reflections on the legacy you hope to leave behind

Feel free to add, remove, or adjust these categories to fit your unique life story.

Mining the Story for Gems

The timeline will help you to remember interesting anecdotes that bring your favorite people and important events to life. We will send you questions and prompts based on your timeline, to which you can respond either in writing or with audio files. Some people find it easier to speak than to write, and the stories flow more easily. We’re flexible! We want your best stories, so we will take them any way we can get them. 

While you remember your stories, try to include as much detail as possible. Who were the people involved, what were their names, how did they look and speak, what was their relationship to you, and what was the impact they may have had on your future life?

Add in any dialogue you may remember. Reading people’s words and their particular way of speaking makes a scene come to life!

Reflect on the event. Did you learn any lessons? How did you feel? Did you think differently about yourself or others after this happened? Did this story have an effect later in life?

Gather material such as images, letters, documents, diaries, or artifacts that can add depth and authenticity to your story. The more material you provide, the richer and more vivid your story will become.

The ghostwriter will send questions to fill in any details that are missing or to ask you to expound on any stories or characters that show promise for the final book.

Drafting the Manuscript

Armed with your stories and the outline, your ghostwriter will begin crafting the first draft of your manuscript. This is where your life starts to take shape on the page. Expect regular updates and drafts for your review. Your feedback is crucial in this phase—it ensures that your voice is accurately represented and that the narrative aligns with your vision.

Feedback and Revisions

Writing is rewriting, and this is where the magic happens. As you review the draft, you’ll provide feedback. Your ghostwriter will take this input and refine the manuscript, making necessary adjustments until everything clicks. This process continues until you are completely satisfied with the portrayal of your life story.

Editing and Polishing

The final step in the collaboration process is editing and polishing. Your copyeditor will fine-tune the manuscript, focusing on clarity, coherence, and style. This stage involves meticulous proofreading to catch any grammar errors or typos. By the end of this phase, your memoir will be a polished, professional piece, ready to share with the world.


Your book is now ready for layout by your designer. A coffee table book is a literary and visual delight for your family, friends, community, and customers—a photo album and a story in one.

While your ghostwriter has been working on the text, your designer has been creating different designs and color palettes to tie together your story. Choose the look that best fits your unique personality and life story. It can be fun and playful, artistic, elegant, or any theme that you feel best conveys your personality.


Your creative team will work with the printer to ensure that your book is beautiful and perfectly bound. Quality and care are a must when it comes to your book. This is a precious gift you will be proud to give.

Your Coffee Table Memoir

Working with a team to create your memoir is a collaborative process that requires trust, communication, and a shared vision. But with the right partnership, you can create a memoir that not only captures your life’s journey but also resonates with readers on a profound level.

It’s easy to get started. Contact us and we will set up an online meeting to discuss your vision for your book.


Photo by Valdemaras D.