Memoir Writing Tiny Tip #15: The 10 Most Influential People in Your Life

by Matilda Butler on October 31, 2017

catnav-interviews-active-3Post #245 – Memoir Writing Tiny Tip – Matilda Butler



Memoir Writing Tiny Tip #15

Memoir Writing Tip AND Prompt Inspired by Time Magazine

I was recently looking through an old Time Magazine before setting it out for recycling. I noticed again that it was the issue featuring “The 100 Most Influential People.” Each of the brief descriptions was written by a carefully selected woman or man who had personal knowledge of the influencer.

Suddenly, I saw how relevant this might be for memoir writers. We write about ourselves, our lives. But wouldn’t it be fun, and perhaps insightful, to write about the 10 people who have influenced us the most…in other words, your personal “The 10 Most Influential People in My Life.”

Getting Started

Time Magazine put their list of influencers into one of five categories — Pioneers, Artists, Leaders, Titans, and Icons. To make sure that you consider people who influenced you in different ways, you might create your list around Role Models in/for… Sometimes a person has had a singular impact on your life but one that you consider important. So your list would take into consideration the different types of role models you’ve had. A second approach is to think of those you have Helped You Grow…Intellectually, Spiritually, Emotionally, Socially, Financially, Physically, etc.

And, of course, these two ideas are just meant to spark your thinking. You’ll come up with your own categories for your list of influencers.

Continuing On

Now that you have a list and a set of categories (or perhaps the other way around), it’s time to write a few paragraphs about each person. And since Tiny Tips are meant to give you something to think about, I suggest that rather than sitting down to write, you think about the person influencer on your list as you go about your day. Then in the evening, write a few paragraphs. Don’t try to do everything at once. Let this grow on you and let your descriptions grown.

Repeat

In a few days, focus on a second person on your list. There is often time in a day to think and reflect. You might even call the person to let them know how influential she or he has been in your life. That phone call just might trigger new thoughts and even new information.

By the Way, Here are a Few of Time’s 100 Influencers

The list of influencers is not 50/50 female/male. But there are a number of women and here are just some of those on the list…all are amazing.

Margaret Atwood
Viola Davis
Sarah Paulson
Ava DuVernay
Alicia Keys
Leslie Jones
Janet Yellen
Elizabeth Warren
Sandra Day O’Connor
Theresa May
Melinda Gates

I was especially taken with the Melinda Gates quote used in the article:

Women speaking up for themselves and for those around them is the strongest force we have to change the world.

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Writing Alchemy: How to Write Fast and DeepWant to know how to write about people in a way that engages emotions and conveys the person’s looks, style, attitudes, and even personality? Enter Writing Alchemy: How to Write Fast and Deep, the award-winning book based on Kendra’s and my insights gained from teaching hundreds of women how to write their memoirs.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this Tiny Tip and that it will cause you to think about your life with a new perspective.

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