You may have said to yourself time and time again: “I should write about my life.” But if you, like many people, have not been able to find the time or felt you did not know where to begin, this guide can solve your problem. By following the instructions and examples you can easily write a mini-memoir today—even if you have never written anything longer than a grocery list in your adult life.
You will simply write about three episodes in your life. You only need to write about an hour or so for each one. With these three chapters plus two short lists, you will provide your descendants with significant understanding and knowledge of you. Your mini-memoir will become a family treasure. (On top of that, you can take “write a memoir” off your Bucket List.)
If you find you want to write about more than three events in your life, you will find a list of life events in Chapter 8 to use for inspiration. No doubt you will have other ideas of your own.
Now before you pick up a pen or turn on your computer to start writing, here is some helpful background information.
What a memoir is and is not
First, it is important to be clear about what a memoir is and is not. A memoir is not a genealogy or a family history. However, recent ancestors— parents and possibly, grandparents—can have a role in a memoir. Your descendants, children and grandchildren, may also be featured in your memoir.
A memoir is not the same thing as an autobiography. An autobiography would include facts about public events and activities in a person’s life—information that can be fact-checked. (Specific instructions about writing a brief autobiography can be found in Chapter 5.)
A memoir is a record, usually written, based on personal memories. It is a remembrance by one person of events and his/her reactions to events that occurred during a specific time and in a specific place or places. Memoirs are almost always written in the first person: “I”. “I lived here. I did this. I experienced that”. The author is usually the central person, the hero or heroine of the memoir.
There are some memoirs, however, that focus on the author’s relationship to or observations about a close family member, such as a grandparent, or a prominent public figure, such as a President.