Memoir Writing Ideas & Themes
Are you staring at a blank piece of paper or computer screen, wondering how to begin your memoir writing? Ideas may flow more easily if you look at your life in a compartmentalized way. Selecting a tighter focus than your entire life makes it easier to picture your memoir; it's far easier to grasp a beginning, middle and end. Many consider such focus as the key definition of a memoir, as opposed to an autobiography that draws from an entire lifetime.
Think about how your life can be segmented into the following global themes:
- Key relationships
- Physical places
- Historic themes
- Personal hardship and recovery
- Personal achievement and development
To seed your thinking, below is a list of specific memoir writing ideas for each. As you consider these themes, think about whether a natural story emerges for you, with a clear start, a rising conflict, a resolution, and a fundamental change in you as a result. If you identify each of those elements within a theme, you have great potential for an interesting and motivating memoir.
|Time||Key Relationships||Physical Places|
|Childhood memoir||Marriage memoir||Your home(s)|
|Young adult||Adoption story||Your community or neighborhood|
|High school or college memories||Parenting memoir||Your church|
|Adult or career years||Mentor||Family farm|
|Golden years||Friends||Vacation place or home|
Personal Hardship & Recovery
|Personal Achievement & Development|
|World War II memoir||POW memoir||Business success memoir|
|Korean war||Prison||Weight loss & fitness|
|Vietnam war||Disability or injury||Adventure & sports|
|Iraqi war||Addiction & recovery||Holidays & traditions|
|Life as soldier||Abuse||Activism & service|
|Civil rights||Loss of child or spouse||Cooking & food|
|Equal rights||Suicide||Hobby memoir|
All of these specific memoir writing ideas carry over to other forms of life story as well, including focused video memoirs, memory books and audio recordings. Consider this focused approach to overcome that scary blank page or blank tape!
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