• Judy Cohen

3 Competencies of Storytelling for Memoir

People often ask, "What do I need to be a good storyteller?" While that's a complex question, I've always believed that storytelling is simple. It comes to us naturally as humans, and that's why I believe that great storytelling has just three main ingredients.

While speaking prowess, writing ability, and personality can make your story shine brighter, you don't need them to craft a fantastic story about your life.

Cultivate these three competencies to not only become a better writer to your readers but also to tell better stories.

3 Competencies of Storytelling for Memoir

Factual knowledge

Memoirs use facts; otherwise, it's a fantasy. And while that's great for many fiction books, it's not okay for memoirs. Make sure you have your dates, numbers, and facts crystal clear in the story; if not, be sure to add a disclaimer at the beginning of the book.


As a memoir writer, it's tempting to only talk about the good things in your life. But that doesn't make for a compelling story. While positive experiences are meaningful, they shouldn't be the sole focus of your story.

Remember, people like to read memoirs because they're looking for real stories from real people. Often your readers want to hear from someone who's been through similar struggles.

That's why authenticity is a critical core competency. It helps your readers see that you're human, just like them.

Get honest with your story and show vulnerability. Are you glossing over any parts that are hurtful or embarrassing? If you revealed these things, would they endear you more to those reading your story?

The right amount of self-disclosure can boost your audience's emotional response to the story.


Here's the thing about confidence: it's the purest form of yourself. We lose confidence when other people's opinions or expectations weigh us down. You already have confidence inside you. It's about unburdening yourself of the things that hold you back.

When you embrace your confidence, people listen to you. It's as simple as that. Confident people are more engaging, trustworthy, and fun in storytelling.

The next time you tell a story, see if it fits into these three core competencies. If it doesn't, that's okay! By nature, stories adjust as we change as people. Find your authentic story to attract the best possible readers for your memoir.

And be sure to sign up to learn when my debut memoir will be ready to pre-order. I can't wait to share it with you!

Your story… to be continued

Judy xo

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