Memoir Writing Prompts: Seven Bridges

by Matilda Butler on July 12, 2011

Writing Prompt LogoPost #95 – Women’s Memoirs, Writing Prompt – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler

MEMOIR WRITERS: BUILD SEVEN BRIDGES TO YOUR WRITING

Don’t feel like writing today? Think you’re too busy or not in the mood or uninspired? Or, how about my personal favorite — the muse deserted me and just left me with this computer and a blank screen.

Our relationship to writing tends to be rather one-dimensional. We think that writing means crafting beautiful sentences. By understand that we have [at least] seven bridges to the writing island, we’ll see that we can always get there, even when the road seems blocked.

We want to write. We really do. But most of us have a fairly narrow view of what it means to write. And if we don’t have the time or feel overwhelmed, we say, “I’ll write tomorrow,” or some variation. To be a writer, you need to write all the time. This creates a habit that will see you through the difficult times, and there are always difficult times.

memoir writing prompts, memoir, journaling, autobiography, life writing, memoir writing, ways to writeBelow is my list of seven bridges that all lead to the writing island. Write something every day. See if this list of bridges help you. You can change the list to make it fit your personal style and needs.

memoir writing, memoir, journaling, autobiography, memoir writing prompts, life writing1. Memoir Journaling Bridge. Take the day’s events and be introspective. How did you react? What insights did you get? Memoir needs our practiced experience with understanding what changes us.

2. Memoir Researching Bridge. Can’t get around to writing today? There is always research that needs to be done on your memoir. The Internet means you don’t even have to spend time at a library.

memoir writing prompts, memoir, autobiography, journaling, memoir writing, writing3. Memoir Editing Bridge. Read what you wrote yesterday or last week. Read it aloud and listen for the strengths and the weaknesses. Take the first sentence of at least three paragraphs and see if you can make them stronger. More powerful verbs. Fewer adverbs.

memoir writing prompts, memoir, autobiography, journaling, memoir writing, writing4. Memoir Cataloguing Photographs Bridge. We learn a great deal about our past through photographs. If you haven’t catalogued your, get out 10 (no more, no less) and write all the details you remember about names, places, dates. Details in photos often bring back memories that help with your writing.

memoir writing prompts, memoir, autobiography, journaling, memoir writing, writing5. Memoir Filling-in-a-Person Bridge. Write down everything you know about one of the people in your memoir — no sentences needed as phrases and facts are just fine. Sketch out the back story for the person. Even if it doesn’t belong in your memoir, finding rich details may influence the way you describe others.

memoir writing prompts, memoir, autobiography, journaling, memoir writing, writing6. Memoir Talking Bridge. Call a [good] friend or a [much-loved] relative and talk about the part of your memoir you’re trying to write. Sometimes just saying a piece of the story to a sympathetic ear will help you know how to write about it.

7. Memoir Writing Prompt Bridge. Find a writing prompt (we publish one on this website each Tuesday) and write for exactly 10 minutes — no more, no less. No matter how busy you are, you always have 10 minutes. You won’t get your memoir finished if you only work in such short bursts, but you will keep yourself moving forward.

memoir writing prompts, memoir, autobiography, journaling, memoir writing, writing

Memoir Writing Prompt:

Okay. This is Tuesday and I said we always publish a writing prompt. Try this one.

First, a little background. My partner and I decided to give our grandson his first trip to Disneyland for his ninth birthday. Of course, the whole family gets to enjoy the present as well — his father, mother, and younger brother (age six). We have longtime friends who go to Disneyland at least once a year and have for the more than 40 years that we’ve known them. Obviously, they were the people to ask about where to stay and what to do since it had been 15 years since we’d been there.

They urged us to contact AAA for our reservations. So, we did. The wonderful travel agent we used told us her story of going to Disneyland for the first time. She said, “When I was 12, my parents went to Disneyland. Just the two of them. They left us at home. Can you believe that? I always wanted to go but never got the chance. Finally, when I turned 60, I went to Disneyland. And you know what? It was even better than I had imagined. That’s why I specialize in helping customers with their trips to Disneyland.”

NEWS FLASH: I’m writing this prompt while in the hotel across the street from Disneyland. And guess what? Big surprise to us. We just found out that this is our daughter-in-law’s first trip to Disneyland as well. What a treat.

Memoir Prompt: Write about the first time you went to Disneyland or Disney World. Was it special? Which Disney character did you like the most? (Our son, the father of our two grandsons, always liked Winnie the Pooh. Even now his two sons play with the oversize Pooh that we bought him almost 40 years ago. Personally, I liked Minnie Mouse.)

Today there are so many new characters and shows. We’re looking forward to updating our sense of this place that has changed so much.

Memoir Prompt: Never been to a Disney Theme Park? Write about a special place that you visited on a summer vacation when you were a child. What made it special? The people? The place? The activities?

No time for a writing prompt today? That’s fine. You can take another of your Seven Bridges to the Writing Island. Find one that works for you and that gets you to where you want to be — writing.

memoir-logo-bar




Leave a Comment

Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category StoryMap Category StoryMap Category StoryMap Category Writing and Healing Category Writing and Healing Category Writing and Healing Category Scrapmoir Category Scrapmoir Category Scrapmoir Category Book Business Category Book Business Category Book Business Category Memoir Journal Writing Category Memoir Journal Writing Category Memoir Journal Writing Category News Category News Category News Category