Memoir Ideas & Themes

Memoir-ideas-1Are you staring at a blank piece of paper or computer screen, wondering how to begin your memoir? 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:

To seed your thinking, below is a list of more specific memoir 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.

Ideas include:

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


Historic Themes

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
Desert Storm Cancer Faith
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
Political memoir Homelessness Travel


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