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Ideas for writing memoirs

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Memoir writing is becoming more and more popular. In the past, ordinary people rarely thought of writing their memoirs aside from keeping a diary or journal. But we are now more aware of the fact that everyone’s life, no matter how simple or commonplace it may appear on the surface, is extraordinary in its own way. When we think back on our lives there are certain things – events, relationships, occupations -- that stand out from bland everyday activity. You can write an entire short story around one single event in your life. The challenge is to pick out which of these stories would be as interesting to others as they are to you.

When writing about a specific experience it’s important to choose something that you remember in vivid detail; rites of passage like a graduation, wedding, first job, that are easy to recall and often make for interesting, compelling, even humorous tales.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

First Date
First Date Bethany Clarke/Getty Images

First Date

Who doesn’t remember their first date? In most cases first dates take place between two awkward teenagers, full of anxiety over this brand new experience. Humorous and moving stories can emerge from this nostalgic memory.

New Job
New Job Kristian Dowling/Getty Images

New Job

Your first job or the first day of a new job can be an anecdotal experience, and not one easily forgotten. Think about the challenges of learning new skills, the silly mistakes you made, and colorful co-workers who took a while to get used to.


Wedding Day
Wedding Day Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Wedding Day

A wedding day, whether it is your own or that of someone close to you, is very memorable for a variety of reasons. There is such excitement involved in weddings, springing from anxiety, joy and anticipation. In addition to the beauty and sentimentality, there are always some mishaps or things that don’t turn out quite as planned.


Summer Camp
Summer Camp Paul Morigi

Summer Camp

There have been many stories and a few films based on antics that take place at summer camp. Everyone who has spent time at summer camp has stories about high jinks, practical jokes and all sorts of other misadventures that occurred during this experience, which is both fun and frightening at the same time.


Family Mysteries
Family Mysteries Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Family Mysteries

Every family has a few juicy mysteries or old scandals that could make for entertaining storytelling. Just keep in mind the feelings of anyone still living, who could be harmed or upset by these revelations.


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