But recently, I’ve come to realize that the second most difficult part of writing a memoir is ... knowing when to stop!
It’s easy to get carried away and write about the minutiae that was memorable for us but others wouldn’t find interesting. But it's important to consider what's really relevant to your life overall. For instance, rather than write about all of your childhood friends from school, just write about the one or two that you were closest to, especially those who remained friends into adulthood.
At some point, you have to look at the body of work, ask yourself, “Does this cover the most important aspects of my life? Does it give a complete picture of who I am as a person? Does it explain areas of my life that others may not understand?” Those are the criteria you should be thinking about when deciding what to include … and what to leave out.
I've talked before about making a list of everything you remember about your life, and then prioritizing each item. Determine what you really want your readers to know, and what you think they will be most interested in and enjoy reading. Write those things. Give it to someone outside the family to read, and ask “Does it leave you wanting more, or is it too much?” You may find that you don’t even need to write about the topics that were prioritized lowest on your list.
When you feel confident that you have presented a fair and complete overview of your life … stop. If you later want to add more, you can start volume two.