Writing a memoir can be a lot of fun, but it can also be quite the challenge. How do you know what memoirs are the best to write? Or what if you can’t think of something that you’d like to write about? These ideas for a memoir are designed to help you start thinking about what has happened in your life so you can begin to tell your stories in a meaningful way.
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#1. What is your first memory?
This idea helps you begin to start a series of memoirs. It can also help you begin to form the thesis of a point you may be trying to make while showing the reader what your childhood was like. You can include memories of your siblings, your pets, your favorite toy… anything that was meaningful to you and will help you eventually convey the key points you want to make.
#2. What happened to you as a child that has made you the adult you are?
Many adults can look back on their childhood and pick out some specific memories that defined them as a person. It could be that moment you finally stood up to a bully, how you scored a goal after getting kicked in the face, or got a perfect score on your SAT. Pick them out and talk about them with great detail.
#3. Who was your favorite teacher?
What’s great about this idea is that it can be grade school, high school, or even post-graduate learning. Your favorite teacher left a positive impression on you. Talk about what that impression is and how it has changed you.
#4. Who is/was your best friend?
Some best friends growing up become lifelong buddies. Others have their best friends move away and they haven’t talked to them since. These experiences will shape your memoir in a unique way, showing the reader how you can cope with loss or succeed with support.
#5. What was your first kiss like?
Did your first kiss occur behind a shed at school with no one looking? Was it at recess when everyone was looking? Were you young or were you 16 and super nervous? Maybe you treasure this memory or maybe it is quite appalling to you. Share that experience and it will make for a great memoir.
#6. What was your first job like?
Some folks get a job early on as a teenager, like a paper route or doing farm work. Others get a job later on during high school, like flipping burgers. Sometimes it’s in college, like a work study program or a part-time job to pay for tuition. It might not have been until after you got a degree. Talk about that job, what you learned from it, and why you’d go back to it – or would never do that job again.
#7. When was the moment you first felt loved?
Most children feel loved at some point in their lives. As an adult, however, life can sometimes be quite lonely. That first moment of love from another can feel like a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Talk about the moment you realized someone else loved you and what that caused you to do as an important part of your memoirs.
#8. What is your biggest regret?
Regrets can be difficult to talk about. If we can discuss them, however, the experiences learned can help others be able to avoid some of the same mistakes. Whether it’s a past relationship, a choice you’d like to take back, or words you wished you’d said [or maybe hadn’t said], discuss the experience and how it has affected you.
#9. What have you done that you never thought you’d do?
For Simon Chan, he never thought he’d be climbing mountains or helping people in poverty. Today he runs an award-winning blog, a successful non-profit called Trek For Hope, and it all started with one choice to do something he hadn’t done before. This happens to all of us at some point in our lives. Choose that moment when you stepped out on a limb and talk about what happened – even if it didn’t turn out to be so successful.
#10. What is it that you believe?
There are three aspects of life: physical, mental, and spiritual. We often focus on the first two at the expense of the third. Your spiritual beliefs are important. It might be an organized religion or it might be a faith of your own design. Share your testimony and how your faith has changed you and it can become an integral part of your memoir.
These ideas for a memoir are designed to help you get started with the writing process. Find some time, start writing some ideas down, and you will be able to share your story with grace and confidence.