Millions of American women loved Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. Chances are you're one of them. And although I am not a fan, I am constantly amazed at how it's become more of an inspirational, self-help phenomenon than just a memoir about a woman who gets divorced, goes on vacation, and finds another boyfriend.

I work with people in the self-help industry-life coaches, spiritual healers, motivational speakers-and I spend a lot of time talking to people about the book they want to write. And ever since Eat, Pray, Love hit the best-seller list, I've found myself in some version of the following conversation on numerous occasions.

Me: "So tell me about your book."

Client: "Are you familiar with Eat, Pray, Love?"

Me: "Yes, actually I'm very familiar with it."

Client: "I want to write a book like that."

Through further questioning, the person reveals to me that she wants to use her personal life experiences as a model for transformation that will help others-a way to show people how to bravely and boldly live a better, more satisfying life. My feelings about Eat, Pray, Love aside, I think it's cool that so many people have embraced the narrative, memoir form as a way to help others work through their issues.

So how does it work? How can you weave your personal experiences into a story that inspires others? Here are a few tips.

1. Think about Your Lowest Point
One must hit bottom before they can climb back to the top, like Gilbert did when she cried about her marriage on the bathroom floor. So where were you when you hit bottom? What put you there? Was it a long-overdue breakdown? Or a sudden epiphany triggered by a random event? Try to put yourself back in that place and feel those raw and powerful emotions all over again. Then write about that.

2. Plot Out the Actions You Took to Change
When Gilbert wanted to overcome her problematic divorce, she negotiated a book deal and got a paid vacation. You probably won't have that luxury. But you most likely took some kind of bold action. Maybe you quit your job, or left your spouse, or sought spiritual guidance in some way. And that initial decision undoubtedly led to smaller realizations along the way. Look through your memory for these actions and realizations, and see if you can figure out how one thing led to another.

3. See the End
If you're writing about a transformation that happened in your life, then you are, hopefully, already transformed, which means that you have completely recovered from that terrible bottom place where you first realized something had to change. In other words, you have reached a place that allows you to look back and think, "Wow, I've come a long way." Use this perspective to think about the specifics of how your life has changed. What is different now? How do you see the world in a different way? Understanding the specifics of your transformation will allow you to write about them with clarity.

4. Understand the Narrative Arc
All stories are structured on a narrative arc, meaning, they all have a beginning, middle, and an end. Making your life transformation story successful means arranging the events along an arc, showing your starting point, your actions, and your challenges, and eventually rising to a big realization or dramatic climax. Then your story should level off and wrap up with a satisfying ending, which is where you're fully transformed. Understanding how the narrative arc works makes your story satisfying to read and meaningful to others.

Writing Your Transformation Story
I can't promise you'll sell a million copies of your book, and I can't promise Oprah will have you on her show. But I can promise that if you want to write about your life as a way to help others, you can use these tips to make your story inspirational!

Author's Bio: 

Melinda Copp helps aspiring self-help, business, and nonfiction authors write and publish books that establish expertise, achieve their goals, and share their message in a compelling way. Visit for a free copy of her Write Your Book Quick-Start Mini E-course.