65 Memoir Quotes On Success In Life

These memoir quotes will inspire you. A memoir is any nonfiction narrative writing based on the author’s personal memories.

Below you will find a collection of motivating, happy, and encouraging memoir quotes, memoir sayings, and memoir proverbs.

Best Memoir Quotes

  1. “When you put down the good things you ought to have done, and leave out the bad ones you did do well, that’s Memoirs.” ~ Will Rogers
  2. “I love all insider memoirs. It doesn’t matter whether it’s truck-drivers or doctors. I think everybody likes to go backstage, find out what people think and what they talk about and what specialised job they have.” ~ David Mamet
  3. “I’ve given my memoirs far more thought than any of my marriages. You can’t divorce a book.” ~ Gloria Swanson
  4. “People write memoirs because they lack the imagination to make things up.” ~ Tom Robbins

  5. “There ain’t nothing that breaks up homes, country and nations like somebody publishing their memoirs” ~ Will Rogers
  6. “I have more freedom when I write fiction, but my memoirs have had a much stronger impact on my readers. Somehow the ‘message,’ even if I am not even aware that there is one, is conveyed better in this form.” ~ Isabel Allende
  7. “It’s always painful when you’re writing memoirs because you’ve got to go through the dark places, but it gives you a chance to find out the person you really are, not the person you thought you were.” ~ Neil Simon
  8. “True memoir is written, like all literature, in an attempt to find not only a self but a world” ~ Patricia Hampl

  9. “Here I come to one of the memoir writer’s difficulties — one of the reasons why, though I read so many, so many are failures. They leave out the person to whom things happened. The reason is that it is so difficult to describe any human being. So they say: ‘This is what happened’; but they do not say what the person was like to whom it happened. And the events mean very little unless we know first to whom they happened.” ~ Virginia Woolf , Reading memoir quotes
  10. “A serious life, by definition, is a life one reflects on, a life one tries to make sense of and bear witness to. Truth in a memoir is achieved not through a recital of actual events; it is achieved when the reader comes to believe that the writer is working hard to engage with the experience at hand. What happened to the writer is not what matters; what matters is the large sense that the writer is able to make of what happened.” ~ Vivian Gornick
  11. “One of the things I learned about writing a memoir is you can’t drag the reader through everything. Every human life is worth 20 memoirs.” ~ Andre Dubus
  12. “Memoir is not an act of history but an act of memory, which is innately corrupt.” ~ Mary Karr

  13. “To write a good memoir you must become the editor of your own life, imposing on an untidy sprawl of half-remembered events a narrative shape and an organizing idea. Memoir is the art of inventing the truth.” ~ William Zinsser
  14. “A memoir forces me to stop and remember carefully. It is an exercise in truth. In a memoir, I look at myself, my life, and the people I love the most in the mirror of the blank screen. In a memoir, feelings are more important than facts, and to write honestly, I have to confront my demons.” ~ Isabel Allende
  15. “Oh, my God. What if you wake up some day, and you’re 65 or 75, and you never got your novel or memoir written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools or oceans because your thighs were jiggly or you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.” ~ Anne Lamott
  16. “Let no family go into eternity without having left their memoirs for their children, their grandchildren, and their posterity.” ~ Spencer W. Kimball

  17. “Memoir isn’t the summary of a life; it’s a window into a life, very much like a photograph in its selective composition. It may look like a casual and even random calling up of bygone events. It’s not; it’s a deliberate construction.” ~ William Zinsser , Memoir quotes about life
  18. “Moments fly, memories remain; and then memories fly, only memoirs remain and finally memoirs disappear, nothing remains!” ~ Mehmet Murat Ildan
  19. “In the olden days, a memoir was something written by Churchill and people like that, because they had a grand experience and considered it useful for future generations. And then it became what it became – a public purging in which other people have the chance to judge you and then forgive you, perhaps learning something from your sorry example.” ~ Aleksandar Hemon
  20. “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” ~ William Faulkner

  21. “Memoir is a unique opportunity to revisit yourself. I don’t mean by memory. I mean in the revision process. You don’t just write a chapter and that’s it. You must constantly return to it. You must dote on it. And even if it’s saying something ugly about who you are, you have to find the poetry in it. You have to find the poetry in yourself.” ~ Joshua Mohr
  22. “In a sense, you’re always mythologizing your life; it’s always an effort to make yourself epic. At least in fiction you can lie and sort of justify your delusion about your “epicness.” But when you’re writing a memoir, you’re trying to make your life epic and it’s not – nobody’s life is.” ~ Sherman Alexie
  23. “History is written by the victors, but it’s victims who write the memoirs.” ~ Carol Tavris
  24. “I believe that the memoir is the novel of the 21st century; it’s an amazing form that we haven’t even begun to tap…we’re just getting started figuring out what the rules are.” ~ Susan Cheever
  25. “Anyone who believes you can’t change history has never tried to write his memoirs.” ~ David Ben-Gurion

  26. “The Canadian version of Julius Caesar’s memoirs? I came, I saw, I coped.” ~ Clive James
  27. “I keep thinking my father gave me Turgenev, and then I realize at some point, Oh, this is a false memory. I mean, that’s one of the things that interests me about memoir. It should be as much about how we remember, and that includes false memories, and the realization that one is having a false memory. That’s the kind of an interesting way of layering the whole experience of recollection.” ~ Marco Roth
  28. “Life Among the Savages is a disrespectful memoir of my children.” ~ Shirley Jackson
  29. “Some people think memoirs should be held to a perfect journalistic standard. Some people don’t. Obviously I don’t. My goal was never to create or to write a perfect journalistic standard of my life. It was always to be as literature.” ~ James Frey
  30. “Memoirs are the backstairs of history.” ~ George Meredith

  31. “I think that today’s books, in which every quote, every conversation, is taken from a memoir, an autobiography, an interview, or what-have-you, are much more convincing.” ~ Russell Freedman
  32. “For me, a memoir is nonfiction and nonfiction has to be absolutely true.” ~ Akhil Sharma
  33. “I did not set out to write another novel. One day I sat down with the thought of trying my hand at a piece of nonfiction, a personal memoir of youth, but over the next several weeks, without intending it, the work began evolving into what has become ‘Tomcat in Love.” ~ Tim O’Brien
  34. “I get kind of tired of the “But it’s your life!” attitude about memoir. I wrote. I engaged in artistic production. I made a piece of art. Why the preciousness or mystical unicorns around “memoir”? I’m curious how you feel about it just now.” ~ Lidia Yuknavitch
  35. “But who has time to write memoirs? I’m still living my memoirs.” ~ Rebecca Wells

  36. “What are you going to do with astronauts who first reach the surface of Mars and then turn around and rocket back home-ward? What are they going to do, write their memoirs? Would they go again? Having them repeat the voyage, in my view, is dim-witted. Why don’t they stay there on Mars?” ~ Buzz Aldrin
  37. “a lot of trouble has been caused by memoirs. Indiscreet revelations, that sort of thing. People who have been close as an oyster all their lives seem positively to relish causing trouble when they themselves shall be comfortably dead.” ~ Agatha Christie , Positive memoir quotes
  38. “But it’s hard for me to pinpoint where all my characters and dialogue come from – imagination or real life. My memoir, of course, was all about my past, and many of the short stories cleave very closely to my life, but the more stories I wrote in the collection, the more that seemed to be invented, but who knows… I think I’m writing about a young woman with acne who shoplifts, but I’m really writing about myself.” ~ Said Sayrafiezadeh
  39. “I could have written a misery memoir and instead I tried to make it funny. I never complained.” ~ Caitlin Moran

  40. “The most obvious difference between writing novels and memoirs is that my memoirs are true stories, and explore certain experiences I’ve lived, and thus operate within the boundaries of memory and fact.” ~ Danielle Trussoni
  41. “I think that’s the thing that memoir can do more than anything it does; it testifies and bears witness to the existence of people whose lives, pleasures and virtues would never have been testified to without my having done it. That makes me really glad.” ~ Richard Ford
  42. “This week Sarah Palin’s memoir became a bestseller. It’s not even out yet. It’s being translated into English.” ~ Bill Maher
  43. “I dislike modern memoirs. They are generally written by people who have either entirely lost their memories, or have never done anything worth remembering.” ~ Oscar Wilde

  44. “It’s an ethical pact I’ve made with myself and with the reader – not to invent. And when I can’t remember, I say I can’t remember. I’m just appalled by the memoirs published by people who regurgitate dialogue, conversations from when they were small children, and they go on for three or four pages. I can’t even remember what we said to each other ten minutes ago! How can I remember what was said sixty years ago? It’s not possible.” ~ Paul Auster
  45. “The discipline of writing a memoir comes in the editing. This is where I cut, slash, and burn – where my creative mind is transformed into a ruthless one. No word escapes my scrutiny. It is here where I see what boundaries need to be set.” ~ Terry Tempest Williams
  46. “By definition, memoir demands a certain degree of introspection and self-disclosure: In order to fully engage a reader, the narrator has to make herself known, has to allow her own self-awareness to inform the events she describes.” ~ Caroline Knapp
  47. “One of the most challenging aspects of writing a memoir is finding your own voice, and you should be very careful about being influenced by someone else’s voice.” ~ Jeannette Walls

  48. “Memoir … satisfies our need for gossip and intimacy, for testimony and confessional, and in this world of spin, offers a truthful account of what it means to succeed or fail, to love and lose, to break your heart and mend it again.” ~ Jeanette Winterson
  49. “In a memoir, I think, the contract implies a certain degree of truth. I think you have to be as true to your memory and your experience as you possibly can.” ~ David Leavitt
  50. “I don’t feel any ethical dilemma when I write. In my memoir, I was able to write with candor about the two most difficult people in the world to write with candor about – mom and dad. Everything else is downhill from there.” ~ Said Sayrafiezadeh
  51. “A memoir takes some particular threads, some incidents, some experience from a person’s life and gives an account of it.” ~ Richard Hell

  52. “Everyone knows that a lot of memoirs have made-up scenes; it’s obvious. And everyone knows that half the time at least fictions contain literal autobiographical truths. So how do we decide what’s what, and does it even matter?” ~ Lauren Slater
  53. “I think the act of lying can be separated from the genre of memoir. Though often times, people are unaware of their own subjectivity.” ~ Rob Roberge
  54. “If you write memoir, it can’t be about blame or hurt; it has to be creative.” ~ Dani Shapiro
  55. “I would never write a memoir, because it would be too boring.” ~ Harlan Coben

  56. “I’m making a kind of a memoir of certain aspects and times in my life. Now that I’m older I can look back and analyze some things, and see the root of things.” ~ Lourdes Portillo
  57. “Gypsy [Rose Lee ] was a masterful storyteller, and her memoir and by extension, the musical weren’t only Gypsy’s monument; they were also her chance for monumental revisionism.” ~ Karen Abbott
  58. “When it was suggested that I write a memoir I said, ‘I’m not old enough. I’m not distinguished enough.’ But I went home and sat down to write, and the material for the book just came flooding into my hands.” ~ Julia Cameron
  59. “She had all the best things wrong with her—incest, insanity, drug addiction, bulimia, alopecia: you name it. All the perfect stuff for a memoir. She’s so lucky.” ~ Peter Cameron

  60. “There’s basically an element of fiction in everything you remember. Imagination and memory are almost the same brain processes. When I write fiction, I know that I’m using a bunch of lies that I’ve made up to create some form of truth. When I write a memoir, I’m using true elements to create something that will always be somehow fictionalized.” ~ Isabel Allende
  61. “A lot of folks just get it in their head that, for instance, like writing memoirs is just easy. You just write down what happened. It doesn’t quite work that way.” ~ Homer Hickam
  62. “There is no such thing as too ordinary to write about, whether that’s life or a scene in a novel. What’s interesting to people, whether it’s memoir or fiction, is the truth.” ~ Augusten Burroughs
  63. “I believe a good memoir should have all of the narrative elements of a novel: character development, dialogue, descriptive language, and metaphor.” ~ Danielle Trussoni

  64. “I’m writing this memoir from the perspective of somebody who’s prosperous and has means. Having said that, one of the things that I think I discovered about those additional years is that I don’t think they really are added to the end of life.” ~ Anna Quindlen
  65. “I have studied the enemy all my life. I have read the memoirs of his generals and his leaders. I have even read his philosophers and listened to his music. I have studied in detail the account of every damned one of his battles. I know exactly how he will react under any given set of circumstances. And he hasn’t the slightest idea of what I’m going to do. So when the time comes, I’m going to whip the hell out of him.” ~ George S. Patton

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