5 Writing Prompts to Kickstart Your Memoir and Family History
I’ve recently been running a series of workshops on writing memoir and family history at the City of Vincent Library and Local History Centre. In our first session, I led participants through a series of activities to help them stare down the blank page and start writing.
It was fabulous to see just how many memories emerged through a few simple prompts.
Maybe some of them will help you get started, too.
1. Consider Why
Considering why you want to write your memoir or family history may help you decide what you’ll focus on in your writing.
There are no wrong answers, only your answer – and there may be more than one reason!
2. Consider Who
Who are you writing for?
If your primary audience is your family, the information and stories you choose to include, as well as the style in which you write them may be quite different than if you’re aiming for a more general readership via a traditional publisher.
Again, there are no wrong answers, but identifying your readers may also help you find your purpose for writing.
3. I Remember …
This could be ‘I remember’ about your own life, or it could be the stories you know about one or more ancestors, or even a specific place, such as your childhood home.
Trust the process, but treat yourself gently. Whatever emerges from your memory is a gift – value it.
Does the object have its own history that goes back to previous generations? What can you find out about how the object first came into the family and/or the person in the family who first owned it?
5. Turning Points
We all have turning points in our lives. They can be physical turning points when life takes a new direction, or emotional turning points, when we grow and change. There are times when we’ve chosen to go one way or another. Sometimes an incident or event occurs which takes us on a path very different to the one we’d planned.
Over to You
Let me know how you get on!
Which prompts did you choose? Did anything surprising emerge as you wrote? What did you uncover, or re-discover about yourself or an ancestor?