I was originally going to write about how you could begin writing your own memoir. I may circle back and write some helpful tips in the future. However, it occurred to me that for most people, the hardest part is getting started.
While life gives all of us numerous events and moments that we can write about, for some it’s hard to pinpoint where to start. Harder still, is knowing how to connect the dots when you haven’t even figured that out for yourself. But that’s the thing about memoir writing. Sometimes it’s the process of putting ink to paper that helps us see how all the things we’ve been through, good and bad, led us to today.
Writing Prompts for Memoirists
So today I want to present you with a couple writing prompts, or topics, to help you begin writing. Use it as a tool to begin your own healing and self-discovery. You can use any, or all, of the prompts listed as a guide but don’t feel obligated to stick with just these questions. If something here brings up more memories or ideas, go with it. You never know where it will lead you.
10 Soul Searching Writing Prompts
- What’s your earliest memory? Think about your first memory. Was it a positive or negative one? Write about what circumstances caused this event to stick with you all these years.
- Was there an event during your childhood that you can’t let go? We all hold on to things in our past and this is especially true of the events in our childhood. Think back to this time and the people involved and ask yourself what it is about this moment that you’re still holding onto.
- Who was your first love? How old were you when you fell in “love” for the first time? Was it a high school romance, a star-crossed lover’s situation, or just that you met too early in life? Think about how this relationship has affected all your other relationships since.
- What was your greatest fear, or biggest challenge, as a teen/young adult? Remember that thing that you refused to do as a teenager. Maybe it was because you were afraid you would get in trouble with your parents or that you would be made fun of by friends. Did you conquer your fear and overcome this challenge? How?
- What has been the biggest challenge of your adult life? Challenges as an adult are an entirely different story. What challenges, or even fears, have you faced as an adult? Does your past play into how you attack each obstacle? Write down the ones that have had the greatest impact on your adult life.
- Who is one person you haven’t seen in a long time that you wish you could see again? We all have that one person, alive or dead, that we think about and miss all the time. If you could spend time with that person, just for a day, who would it be and what would you tell them? Think about why this person made such an impact on your life.
- Name one regret you wish you could change. This one is hard to face, let alone admit to. Did you ever do, or say, something that you wish you could take back? Maybe you didn’t do, or didn’t say, something that you think could have changed your life. Think of the “what ifs” (just this time, don’t dwell on these as it’s not healthy), and write down your regret and how you wish you could change it knowing what you know now.
- What were your life goals as a child versus to your life goals now? Do you still hold on to the same goals and dreams that you had as a child? If yes, are you still actively pursuing those dreams? If not, what changed? Why are you not following your dreams and goals? Think about what influences in your life may have swayed this decision.
- What is the best thing that ever happened to you? Was it a moment, a day, a whole year that made a lasting mark on you? Maybe it was something another person did for you or something you did for yourself. Whatever it is, think about why it was the best thing and who, or what, made it the best.
- If you could do it all again the same way, would you? Another deep question, but one that will open up your mind and heart to self-discovery. If you were given the opportunity to live your life, exactly as you have to this point, again would you do things the same? Maybe you would decide to take more/less risks. Love harder or not as hard. Be more open or less verbal. Would you do it again?
What Will You Write?
I know it looks like a lot to write, but as I mentioned earlier you don’t have to use all of these writing prompts at once. You may find that you don’t use any, but that the questions spark more thoughts and memories in your mind. Follow those ideas and get them all on paper. Begin your memoir writing journey today…you’ll be glad you did.
The ShoeBox Effect. It’s more than a memoir. It’s a movement.
What’s in YOUR shoebox?