Writing Your Memoir: Here Are 8 Prompts To Get You Started

StoryOne of the hardest parts of writing is starting. It doesn't make any difference if you're writing in your journal, a memoir, or a novel; getting the inspiration to write can be hard. Well, here are eight prompts to give you a boost in starting.

Do you need some help to start your memoir? Here are 8 prompts designed to spark your imagination to help you get started! Click To Tweet

1. Your Childhood Best Friend

Can you recall the best friend you had as a child? Think of what you used to do together or the places you'd go. How about how you used your imaginations to do things. I remember playing “combat” in the fields around our homes. We would also ride our bikes to a nearby lake to go “fishing.” (We never caught anything in that lake, but we tried!)

2. Important Buildings and Places

Did you have a spooky house in your neighborhood? Or maybe there was something special about the house you grew up in, the school or church you attended. Maybe there was a special park or playground you went to. I remember a park we used to play at. They had put up a “world-war-2 cannon” that was always fun to climb on and play around. Or, next to one of the open fields, there was a drive-in theater, and we would sit next to the fence and watch the movies. If someone saw us, they might turn a speaker up so we could hear it too.

3. Family Traditions

Did you have a family tradition growing up? Is it still being practiced today? My mom always had a big Christmas party. The aunt, uncles, and cousins would all come over and we would exchange gifts and have a big meal. I would always eat so much I would get sick. This doesn't go on anymore; the family got too big and spread out. Still, the kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids will try and make it to my parents' house either on Christmas Eve or Day. Some of us live too far away to always make it, but we try.

4. Do You Have A Turning Point In Your Life?

Most, if not all, of us, have had at least one major turning point in our life. Use this point as a basis for a memoir; explore the events that led up to it and what the change has meant in your life. I've had many turning points, from realizing that computers where my future to accepting that I suffered from depression. One such event was discovering the Life Mastery Institute and their training. Before I went to my first Dream Builder session, I knew that I had a desire to help others but had no idea how to do it.

5. Which of your relatives are you most like?

Do you take after your mother or father more? Or maybe it's a sibling, maybe an aunt or uncle. For me, I take after different people depending on what part you're talking about. In a lot of ways, I take after my grandfather; my hair, eyes, and thumbs are all his. But, in other ways, I take after my mother. My dad is in there with my desire to learn new things and embracing technology. You can pick one, and describe how you think you're the same and then dig a little deeper to find out how you're different.

6. Did you have a conversation or seminar that inspired you?

I've heard many talks that inspired me, and I've had a lot of conversations that have changed my life. The key to using this is to let your imagination work and return to the time of that experience. For me, a conversation I would use would be one I had with an English/Creative Writing teacher. She read a story I had written and said it was a great start. She praised my writing and my imagination by creating the world in which the story took place. This conversation has always inspired me to keep writing and making up stories.

7. How about a song from the past?

Music has the ability to release old feelings and strong memories! You may not have the ability to playback the song, but you can probably find a version to listen to. Search for the title or artist and look for other versions. I remember the first time I heard the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Sonny and Cher! I remember songs that were included in books. I also remember plucking at a guitar, playing some of those songs; I choose to learn “American Standards” to play and those songs have stayed with me. They all bring back memories, some good and some pretty deep. Try and find a song or two that really digs up a memory for you and write about it. Why do you remember it; what memories does it evoke.

8. Choose something that is important to you.

This one is pretty wide-open! It could be a cherished relationship or a special souvenir you brought home from a special trip. Begin by writing about that thing, and then let your thoughts flow naturally. With a wide-open prompt such as this, I find it hard to find an example. It could be the bottle of rum we brought home from our honeymoon or maybe the bottle of wine my wife brought to her first dinner at my house. (Yes, we still have both!)

What Strikes You?

I've listed eight things that can get thinking about a story. Did any of these strike a chord with you? I tried to give examples of how they each provided me with a story I could write about. Maybe you don't think your story is worth telling, but unless you start, you'll never know!

Do you need help with starting a memoir? Ask questions in the comments, and I will get back to you!

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