Writing the stories of our lives is one of the most valuable things we can do. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Set aside a time and place, and write freely for half an hour a day.
- Use props to jog your memory: keepsakes, photos, even articles of clothing. Why do you keep it? What emotions does it bring forth in you?
- Make lists of historical events that happened in your lifetime, people you've loved, addresses where you've lived, places you've visited, hobbies or jobs you have held. Then write a page about each one.
- Make a chart of your life in decades. Under each decade, list the turning points or times of transition. Then write a brief story about each turning point.
- Use an index card for each important person in your life and write a few words on the card about what you want them to remember about you. Then write that person a letter about why these things are important to you.
- Write down the names of your favorite recipes. Who gave them to you? When do you make these foods?
- Stop writing and stare into space! After you have a rough draft, ask yourself: Why am I telling this story? What does this episode remind me of in my current life?
Try one of these tips with your own memoir writing. And send me your own ideas as well! I’ll post my favorites on my website with your name attached. Happy writing and reminiscing!
Email Linda: firstname.lastname@example.org
Linda C. Wisniewski is the author of Off Kilter: A Women's Journey to Peace with Scoliosis, Her Mother, & Her Polish Heritage. She writes for the Bucks County Herald and teaches memoir classes for Bucks County Community College. A graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo, she holds a master's degree from Villanova University and a certificate of advanced study from Drexel University. She is regional representative of the International Women's Writing Guild and a board member of the Story Circle Network. Linda is a contributing editor for the Story Circle Journal and is co-editor of Story Circle Book Reviews. Find out more about Linda by visiting her website: http://www.lindawis.com
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure success. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal." Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com and AuthorsCoalition.blogspot.com, a blog that helps writers and publishers turn a ho-hum book fair booth into a sizzler.