Why You Should Start Writing Your Memoirs Now

Life is short. This is a photo of Dad and brother Allen shortly before they died.
Life is short. This is a photo of Dad and brother Allen shortly before they died. | Source

Definition of Memoir

Have you ever thought about writing your memoirs but wondered why you should write them? Here are several reasons that you may not have considered.

What is a memoir? According to Wikipedia Memoir comes from the French mémoire: memoria, meaning memory or reminiscence. It is a literary nonfiction genre, the author's collection of memories of events or of a specific moment, both public or private. The kind of memoir I am suggesting is a life document that tells everything that you consider important enough to remember that you want to pass on.

These memories can include events that you remember that were important to you both enjoyable and tragic. The memories may be stories that you heard your parents or grandparents tell. They may even be poems that you work. Your memoirs should also include everything that you have written both in print and online.

Write it now, In Case You Get Famous

Everyone has their fifteen minutes of fame. You may be famous someday.

Let's face it, you probably will never be famous, and writing your memoirs to become famous is probably not a good reason in itself. However, wouldn't it be great if you had your memoirs already written when you get famous?

Since most of us are not likely to ever get famous, let's look at some more likely reasons for writing our memoirs.

To Help You Remember The Good Times of the Past

I think it helps to start writing our memoirs early, the earlier the better. They help us remember our past by putting it in writing. Memories fade over time, so writing them down now will help us later when our memories aren't as sharp as they used to be.

As we get older, we can read back on what we have written and we will be able to recreate and sharpen those memories in our own mind,

To Honor A Loved One

I live in Southern Missouri, not far from where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the Little House Books. I remember that the reason she wrote her first book Little House In the Big Woods was as a way of sharing Pa's stories with children because she did not want those stories to fade into oblivion. Today millions of children remember the Pa and Ma and Mary and Laura and Baby Carrie because Laura chose to write those stories into her children's fiction.

Sometimes we want to include in our memoirs events related to a specific person. Recently my siblings and cousins and I worked on recreating our memories of my father and his poetry. We have much of it done. However, we all now wish we had written more of it down long ago..

To Share Our Story With Our Own Posterity

Story telling has been a part of human culture since the dawn of time and part of storytelling has been in the sharing of family memories. What better way of sharing family memories than by writing them down so that your own children can learn about you and the wonderful, funny, and tragic things that happened in your life.

Your memoirs provide a connection of the past to the future, to those in your future.

Written Memoirs Can Become Speech and Article Fodder

When we write our memoirs, we can use those memories as stories to add to articles or speeches that we might need to give during our careers.

Memories can be of business, friend, or family memories and all have their place in our memoirs. Sometimes we can use them in a different area of our lives than the original area. For instance, in a business meeting, we might tell of an incident in our family life that illustrates a point we are trying to make. If we have not written that memory down, we might not be able to use it because we don't remember it.

I often add stories from my memory to article. The stories we tell help us connect with our readers. This article for instance contains several memories that I have collected over the years.

Why Write a Memoir

Begin Today

About six months ago, I was telling an elderly friend of mine about how my family has been working on my father's book of poetry and how much more challenging it is for us now that he is gone. The gentleman told me that he wanted to write his memories of his salvation experience and his days as a local preacher. He even had a title for the book.

I suggested that he write it down as soon as possible and encouraged him every time I saw him. He and his wife spent the next several months working on it together. Recently he died and even though the book is not finished, he, at least, had a huge chunk of his memoir done before his passing. It is up to his wife and family to determine whether words he wrote comes out as a book or not. We never know how long we have. I hope they do finish it. I, for one, would love to read about his story.


The Catalyst for Future Writing

We never know how long we have left on this planet. If you have any desire to write at all, and you cannot think of anything else to write, begin writing your memoirs.

Writing your memoirs tell, not just the world, who you are. More importantly, it reminds you who who you are and what you value. This therefore becomes the catalyst for any future writing.

Happy Memoirs!

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Comments 8 comments

annart profile image

annart 19 months ago from SW England

I agree whole-heartedly, Donna. I've been writing a diary for each of my grandchildren. It's mostly about them but I do include little snippets along the way about me and my family which I think they might find interesting.

I have written down much of my past too and luckily have a lot from my paternal grandfather as well as a lot of photographic archives from my father.

It all helps put together a fascinating family history and picture which can be so useful, if not just interesting, for ourselves and our descendants.

Great hub. It's important to encourage people to do this. Up ++ & sharing.

Ann


annart profile image

annart 19 months ago from SW England

Seem to be having trouble sharing this but will keep trying!

Ann


billybuc profile image

billybuc 19 months ago from Olympia, WA

I like to think my characters in my novels tell my story. I doubt I'll ever do a straight memoir, but I can certainly understand why people do it.


cygnetbrown profile image

cygnetbrown 19 months ago from Alton, Missouri Author

Thank you for your comment, Ann! I too am working on our genealogy which my Dad's sister Edith started decades ago. Photos are a great idea. After all, "a picture is worth a thousand words, especially if the date and names are on the back!


mactavers profile image

mactavers 19 months ago

The trouble with most memoirs is that they are not objective or honest. I helped my Mom with hers and every time I said, But Mom, why don't you write about some of the challenges and hard situations you faced? She would respond, Oh I don't want people to know any of that! In the same vein,

is the Christmas letter with glowing accounts of the family during the past year. Trips, new babies, promotions, awards and all other good things fill these letters. Obviously things like divorces, poor finances, health difficulties and other negatives are always left out leaving the reader to think, "What is wrong with my life and family."


cygnetbrown profile image

cygnetbrown 19 months ago from Alton, Missouri Author

mactavers, true, others may not always point out their difficulties, but that doesn't mean that can't write it down yourself. Perhaps your mother doesn't want to remember, but that does not stop you from writing about it in some fashion.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 19 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

Wonderful and very useful article, Donna. This inspires me to begin my memoirs to pass on to future generations. Thank you for sharing this information.


cygnetbrown profile image

cygnetbrown 19 months ago from Alton, Missouri Author

Phyllis, I am so glad that my article inspires you! It is so much easier now to create memoirs now than it was even ten years ago. We can store them on a computer, in a cloud, or even in print in a safe deposit box.

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