Memoir Writing Prompt: Pretend You’re a Box (Really)

by Matilda Butler on December 5, 2017

Writing Prompt LogoPost #240 – Women’s Memoirs, Writing Prompt – Matilda Butler



What Crazy Memoir Writing Prompt is This?

December is here and the holiday season approaches. This means thoughts and plans for presents…and therefore wrapping presents. Some of these gifts will be in boxes. And yes, that is my convoluted way of introducing today’s memoir writing prompt.

At this point, you may be wondering what I was thinking when I named this article. And, “Yes.” I really do want you to pretend you’re a box. Just give me a couple of minutes. I think you’ll like this writing exercise. It’s fun and it may help get you in the holiday mood.

I needed four replacement cushions for our lanai furniture. I tried our local home improvement stores, but they didn’t have much in stock. Besides, I was hoping to match the single cushion I bought last year when the fifth cushion bit the dust. So I ordered online (of course) finding the exact cushion I wanted.

Memoir writing promptWhen the box arrived in the brown UPS truck, I was struck by the messages on the outside. Most boxes just feature the store name. Not this one. The words made me wonder what I’d write on the outside if I were a box.

Memoir Writing Prompts

Memoir writing prompts1. Imagine that you are a box and you can have a message on each of your six surfaces.

2. You can take this writing prompt in several directions. You can imagine that this is you facing the world. What do you want others to know about you? Write a single sentence for each of up to six messages.

Memoir writing prompts3. Think of your box as a gratitude box that you are sending out to family or friends or even anonymous readers. What are your six messages of gratitude?

Memoir writing prompts4. Asking questions is an interesting way of creating messages. In this one, “What’s up?” the message shows you want to create a dialogue. What kind of conversation would you like to start with your readers? Think of six questions you might ask on your box.

Writing prompts5. How will you introduce yourself to your readers in your memoir? Think of six short sentences or phrases–one for each side of your box–and write them down.

And where is all of this leading? Think of different aspects of your memoir and create six brief statements that convey what you want to say. Then imagine that the box is a die. Roll the die in your imagination. Which message do you want to come up first, second, third, etc. Number each message in the order you want readers to discover what you are saying.

Memoir writing promptsAnd finally, I think the store’s motto is just right…Never stop improving. As writers, it is tempting to think that we’ve read enough books and taken enough classes to get us through. Here we’re reminded that we do need to keep improving.

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