Memoir Writers: Your Best Valentine’s Day Gift Ever

by Matilda Butler on February 4, 2013

Writing Prompt LogoPost #173 – Women’s Memoirs, Writing Prompts and Life Prompts – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler

Searching for the Best Valentine’s Day Gift Ever? Search No More!

memoir writing promptValentine’s Day is just around the corner. You may have visions of chocolate and flowers dancing in your head. But how about something different this Valentine’s Day?

What would you say about a gift:

  • that will be treasured over all other gifts,
  • that will last forever,
  • that is guaranteed to bring a smile to the recipient,


  • and best of all,

  • that is FREE.


  • Sound too good to be true? Absolutely not. We’re posting this article early in February to give you enough time to create the gift. We have three ideas for you.

    Write Your Valentine’s Day Gift, 3 Ideas:

    IDEA #1: Write the story of the day you met your significant other–your sweetie.

    What were you doing? What was the other person doing? Where were you? What were your first words? When did you go out on a date? What were each of you wearing? What did each of you look like? Was it the 60s, the 70s, the 80s or 90s? Fashion changes so much and one good way to set the scene is to describe clothing and hairstyles. Were there any sounds or smells nearby? If so, work them into the story-gift as well.

    Everyone loves the story of “the meeting.” This will be enjoyed by the other person and is guaranteed to bring on an evening of reminiscing. Lavish attention onto the story-gift. Give yourself plenty of time so that you can remember many of the small details that will make the story come alive. For example, what was the weather like that morning. When you got up you never imagined that you would meet “the one” that day. Let the reader know that you still consider that day magical. Try to “show” rather than “tell.”

    IDEA #2: Write the story of the day that you (or your sweetheart) proposed marriage.

    Did you plan for this/expect it? Who actually said the words? Was the proposal clearly planned well ahead or was it a spur of the moment event? Where were you both? What were the words of the proposal? What did you (or the other person) say in response? What were your emotions? If you were in a public place did others around you notice what was going on? Did they react in any way? Who was the first person that you told? Did you decide right then when to get married or did you just focus on the engagement?

    This family story of “the proposal” is often lost. Sometimes not even children know the story of the marriage proposal and certainly grandchildren rarely hear it. Yet it is a sweet and treasured moment in a person’s life. Your significant other — the recipient of the story-gift — will love looking back on that moment and seeing all that followed from it.

    IDEA #3: Write the story of your first Valentine’s Day with the love of your life.

    Did both of you remember to get a gift? What gift did you give? Did you stay home or go out that evening? Was it just the two of you or were you with other family or friends? Did the gift for Valentine’s Day set a precedence for later ones or is each one unique? Write about the time (the year) and the place. You might work in how many different cities you have celebrated in after that first February 14. Did you buy something new to wear? Dinners, the usual Valentine’s Day celebratory meal, are remembered with sights, smells, and sounds. Perhaps you recall the romantic touch of your sweetie when you held hands across the table. Be sure that you and your sweetie are described in ways that bring you both to life. Make the memory live in your words.

    This third family story “our first Valentine’s Day” is almost guaranteed to be a lost one. Perhaps you want to write it this year to ensure that not only your sweetie but your entire family gets to share in this story-gift.

    What’s Next?

    memoir writing prompts for Valentine's Day1. Give your story-gift a great title. Make the title sweet or mysterious or shocking. Just definitely avoid boring.

    2. Write the story-gift and then edit it. Once you think it is perfect, go back and read it aloud. Most people make more changes at that point.

    3. Print your story-gift on beautiful paper or print on plain white stock but tuck it inside a Valentine’s Day card. (You can find small packets of lovely paper at an office supply store. Usually, there are matching envelopes.) If you have beautiful handwriting, then copy your edited story onto special paper. In addition to office supply stories, you can check out craft stores. A handwritten story make a fabulous gift.

    And Then? 3 Ways to Give Your Story-Gift:

    1. Give your story-gift early… have it under the bed or in your nightstand. Then when you wake up on February 14, tuck it at the end of your sweetheart’s pillow. Act surprised. This will start the day in such a positive way.

    2. Give your story-gift with food… prepare a special meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Put the story-gift next to the plate or under the napkin so that it will be immediately seen. Dinner may be the best time as you will have the entire evening to reminisce and tell other stories. You might even get some ideas for vignettes to write and share with your family.

    3. Give your story-gift as an email… if your sweetie opens emails faster than cards, or is out of town on Valentine’s Day… send your story-gift as an email. If you want to make the presentation include hearts or even a photo or two, then you might want to put the story and graphics into a .doc file and then export it as a .pdf file. You can easily attach the file to an email. Then just click on Send.

    gift of memoir

    This Won’t Work for Me

    We realize that these story-gift ideas seem only appropriate for couples and may not be realistic for you due to divorce or death of the significant other. But if you have tender stories that you would like to share with your family, you could still create one of the three story-gifts from the list above and then give it to your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, or other family members you feel close to.

    No Matter What, Enjoy Valentine’s Day

    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    Rhonda February 4, 2013 at

    I love this post and plan on writing a Valentine story. TY for the inspiration…(-:

    Also, I enjoyed your webinar from LinkedIn. Was unable to attend but have listed to the recording. You are both very helpful and always bring humor into writing, which is just what I need.

    Matilda Butler February 4, 2013 at

    Hi Rhonda: I’m so glad that you like the post. I hope this is a year of sharing stories for everyone. We often leave out ones about Valentine’s Day — a day that can be marked with joy and love and excitement or sorrow and loneliness and depression. The full range of emotions are to be valued. Be sure to let us know how your story turns out.

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