When you set out to write your memoir, you may find that you are stumped for ideas. True, you are writing about your life, but what parts of your life? Writing prompts can help you overcome that block and get you writing. They can also help you find new writing topics. Explore these ten writing prompts and see if they don't inspire you to write. They may even bring back a fond or funny memory. Who knows, they may even make you smile.
Maybe you have a favorite photograph that calls to mind a fond memory. Maybe it is of your little brother on a tricycle and you remember when he was four and you pushed him down the hill on his trike, the pedals spinning and his eyes were as large as saucers. Maybe your favorite photo belongs to a friend or family member. A photograph could also remind you of a characteristic that someone had and you can write about that. Let your photos inspire you.
Who doesn't have at least one embarrassing moment that others will find hilarious? Think about a time that you felt embarrassed or bashful. Sharing that moment with others requires a raw vulnerability in some cases, but it can pay off when your readers respond positively.
Of 14 or 20...it doesn't matter. Think about a time in your life, a year, an age, a grade in school and see what pops into your mind. When you think of high school, what comes to mind? Do you think about the hairstyles or fashions of that time? Maybe you think about your high school sweetheart and how you were crushed when they broke up or moved to another city. Pinpoint a specific time and jot down what comes into your mind - don’t think about it, just make notes. When you review you may be surprised to see that you have some good ideas for writing.
Fear can be used to evoke emotion or for humor so access instances where you were scared so that you can capitalize on those advantages. Maybe you recall a high school trip to the World Trade Center and you looked from one of the upper floors down into the atrium and nearly passed out because you were afraid of heights. There is a certain nostalgia there, but humor as well. Use scary experiences to engage your reader. Expressing your fears to your readers will also make you more human to them.
When was a time that you were happiest? Maybe you went on a special fishing trip with your dad and that is a time that stands out in your mind as being the happiest. Perhaps your happiest moment was when you had your child or when you got married. Whatever, great stories surround happy moments. Find yours and use them well.
What is a great day that stands out in your memory? Just about everyone has at least one day that really stands out as their best day. It could be something as simple as making snow angels with your brother on a snow day when you were kids or something as momentous as giving birth or graduating from college.
What is a memory that makes you smile? Think about that memory, remember the details and be descriptive. Let your reader see, smell, taste and feel everything about your favorite memory. Go ahead, share.
While this may seem odd, it is actually a very good prompt. People connect smells to experiences like remembering your mother's cologne, or the way her clothing smelled on the sachet that she kept in her drawer. Think of smells that you like and then think of why you like them. You may just get a story out of it.
What is something special that you recall about your mother, father, sister or brother? Actually, you can insert anyone in that slot and run with it. Maybe you remember your mother's laugh or your father's strong hands as he held you up when you were learning to ride a bike. Memories can come from some surprising places and create a wonderful story.
Who was your best friend in grade school, high school, college? Talk about your relationship with them, your adventures. Share snippets of your life and anecdotes, particularly if they hold a truism or teach a lesson. The most important thing is that you are not afraid to share.