Life is hardly ever a blank page. When you’re sitting down to write your memoirs, however, it is not uncommon to have a blank page staring back at you. How do you begin writing down the story of your life? What are some good memoir topics to include?
Finding the necessary focus to create a tight narrative around the events of your life is never easy. Often the best narrative topics tend to be some of the key moments in life that changed who you are. This means including life events such as a marriage, a divorce, a key friendship, or a friend deciding to cut off contact can help readers be able to identify with you and then begin to understand the key points you’re trying to make.
Then there are these additional memoir topics which can be good to include as well.
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#1. Important places.
There are certain places that hold a special meaning to you. It might be a restaurant, like The Flying Weenie in Cedar Rapids, IA where you first met the love of your life. Or it could be waking up in your bedroom each morning covered in Pop Tarts because the kids got up an hour earlier and were hungry. Find your important places, describe them with accuracy, and let them naturally drive the reader forward in the story of your life.
#2. Elements of age.
We all learn certain lessons while growing up that can also be important to include as a memoir. Some kids grew up in two-parent homes were there was rarely a fight. Others grew up in single-parent homes. Some kids had parents suffering from a mental illness, from alcoholism, or drug abuse. The fact is that we all have different elements of age that have become important to who we are today. Sharing them will help readers understand your personal perspective with more accuracy.
#3. Good vs. Evil.
Most stories have some concept of good vs. evil happening within them. In a memoir, this element is also present, but in the form of a personal hardship and the recovery period that happened afterward. This is where it is necessary for the hardship and recovery to follow the overall theme of the book. If you’re writing about how difficult it was to obtain your MBA and the story is about your life as a parent, it will be difficult for the reader to follow your narrative. If it was difficult to obtain an MBA and you eventually started your own Fortune 500 business – that’s a memoir which would make more sense.
#4. Moments frozen in time.
We also have perfect moments that have been experienced. These perfect moments deserve to be shared if there is a special meaning behind them. Like going to the grocery store with your mother when you were young to get a free cookie. You had your wallet with you, maybe a dollar or two in there if you were lucky, and it was the first time you really remember feeling like being trusted with responsibility while also feeling loved. These perfect moments are often a good lead-in toward the lesson being discussed.
#5. Specific lessons learned.
Humanity can be broken into three basic sections of life: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Each section of life offers certain lessons that are important. If a pan is hot, you learn not to touch it because it causes physical pain. We are connected to family and friends by emotional bonds. We feel fulfilled by how spirituality is approached, whether that means a deity is involved, science is involved, or there’s a combination of the two – or neither. Each specific learned is a memoir that could be perfect to share.
#6. Periods of life.
Just as there are different sections of life, there are different periods of life. The person you were in high school is often different than the college student years. You’re different in your 50’s than you were in your 30’s. The different periods of life often offer us new lessons to be learned because our circumstances change. Discussing these various lessons can definitely be a good memoir topic.
#7. What did you fight for in life?
We all fight for something. Sometimes the fight is to earn a fair paycheck. For others, it is the fight to raise responsible and ethical children. People fight for the homeless, for the socioeconomically disadvantaged, for good schools – the list is endless. Including your fight can be a great memoir topic – and it could even be the overall theme of your memoirs as a whole.
Finding good memoir topics can seem difficult at first, but once you step forward, the journey becomes one you’ll want to complete. Use the ideas to start crafting your memories into a meaningful story and one day you will have fantastic memoirs to share with others.