Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Writing your Memoirs may turn out to be one of the most important achievements of your life. Each person’s life is unique, every one of us has our own stories to tell. When we look back on our life’s history and begin to put it all into order we see that despite hardships, and trials and tribulations, WE HAVE SURVIVED.

Sometimes outside influences shaped our lives. Certain events and other people over-ruled our lives, often with outcomes quite beyond our control and for which we cannot possibly take responsibility. Yet we took on the challenges of life, and with courage, pride and determination we are here now. This really does put quite a high value on your life. In my workshops I see people grow and glow with these revelations.

Any time now a younger member of your family will ask you for stories about your life and details of their ancestors. You may be the only person able to tell them stories and facts they want to know. There are many reasons for their inquisitiveness – they want to find their “roots”; they could be seeking ancestral achievements; family likenesses or medical problems; artistic talents; emotional and temperamental traits, and so on. You can help them find their heritage and the meaning of your own life, too.

In future posts let me guide you through your journey and help smooth the way towards writing your memoirs. It is important to understand that we are not writing an autobiography which meticulously records every event of our lives in a set order. We are writing our memoirs -our memories, our own recollections. A movie maker shoots one scene at a time, in random order, then puts them all together in the editing room to make one complete story. So we will write one story at a time, just as they come to mind, and put them into order later.

* Make a commitment to yourself to write one story a week – at the end of a year you will have fifty stories about the people and events of your life. Remember – one story a week. That’s all. Decide on a place where you will write and set aside a regular day and time to do this.
* Make yourself a Memory Bank. A filing system to store your memorabilia – photos, birth/marriage/death certificates, school awards, diplomas, diaries, etc. Keep them all in a large plastic box in separate folders or large envelopes, which you can label in decades. Include written notes to remind you about stories dealing with larger items of clothing, jewellery, furniture – anything that triggers your memory. Look in this Memory Bank every time you want to write a story. Add to it every time you remember an idea for a story.

* Now we’ll write your first memoir. For now, choose to write a story about an event so familiar to you that you can remember it backward. Take a few moments first to formulate the ideas in your head, then begin to write. Don’t worry about correct spelling or grammar, just get the details from your memory onto paper as quickly as you can. Once you start to write, the ideas will flow and the memory will kick in. This memory, or memoir, needs to be attractive to your reader and it should have a beginning, a middle and an end. Don’t fill in all the surrounding information yet, just zoom straight into the action as though you were a cameraman. READY….STEADY…..WRITE!

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