Memoir Writing about Valentine’s Day

by Matilda Butler on January 19, 2019

catnav-interviews-active-3Post #250– Memoir Writing Tip – Matilda Butler

memoir writing prompts for Valentine's Day

Anticipate Valentine’s Day by Writing NOW

2019 is here and the first month is rolling along and seems to be gaining speed. It’s hard to believe but I’m already anticipating which Valentine’s Day cards I’ll send to family. (Yes, some will be ecards and others will be the old-fashioned paper cards.)

One of the things I love about memoir writing is that it can be done in bits and pieces. The individual pieces don’t need to add up to a full length memoir, although sometimes they will. In the meantime, we can work on our skills and develop our craft by writing about times that the calendar suggests. Hence this blog post.

Your Valentine Prompts

When I look back on my childhood, I can visualize the elementary school days when my mother purchased boxes of valentines. I remember they cost about a penny each. The teacher gave us a list of all the students and I spent several evenings signing the cards and addressing the envelopes. The fun part was deciding which classmate would be given a particular card. The sentiments were goofy, but seemed so important at the time. Any card that had the word “LOVE” on it, took extra consideration and couldn’t be given casually.

Fast forward. Only in my recent move from California did I finally throw away the red heart-shaped valentine candy box that my husband gave me on the first February 14 after we married. Over the years, I used it and reused it, always finding a way to keep it in a drawer that I frequently opened. Now I keep its memory in one of the many drawers of my mind.

What are your memories of Valentine’s Days? Here are some prompts to get you thinking and then writing about them. Start now and polish your story, turning it into a Valentine for someone special in your life.

1. What is your earliest Valentine’s Day memory? How old were you? What did you do that day? Can you recall what you wore? Where were you? Time and place often interact and both might be important in your valentine vignette.

2. Did you make your own cards or did you purchase them when you were young? Did you go with your mother or father to pick out the cards? What store did you go to? If you made them, did your mother or father help you with supplies or did you just manage with paper, scissors, and a pencil? Did you have a memory of a favorite card? Describe it with lovely care. Did you just work on the cards on February 13 or did you start well ahead of time? Did you sign cards at a special desk? At the kitchen table? While stretched out on the floor?

3. Did you give Valentine’s Day cards during your teen years? Who did you give cards to once you were out of elementary school? Do you recall a special card or multiple cards that you gave to boys once you were a teenager? Were there some teen years when you thought cards were “too childish?” When did that phase pass?

4. Have you given parties on Valentine’s Day? Were these parties while you still lived with your parents or did they come later? Did you decorate? If so, what kinds of decorations did you put up? Where did you live when you had a Valentine’s Day party? Do you remember any of the menus? If so, what were they? Maybe you still have a special recipe that you make on February 14.

5. What is your favorite memory of a Valentine’s Day? Describe the time and the place and the person or people in that special day. If food was involved, describe the scents.

6. What would be your ideal Valentine’s Day if you could be granted your wish? Put as much detail into this description as possible. Then consider making your ideal day come true.

7. What would you like your children/grandchildren/great grandchildren to know about Valentine’s Days from the past? Remember Sweethearts the conversation heart candy? This year they are almost impossible to find. Necco, the producer of this candy from childhood, went out of business. The business was bought and by next year Sweethearts should be back. Remember penny valentines? Some of these small cards are sold but don’t think you’ll pay a penny for each one. You might write about the cost of various Valentine’s Day items — postage when you were young, packages of valentines, a box of chocolate candy, etc. So many tiny details are forgotten over time and traditions change. Share your memories, loaded with the bits and pieces that make a story intriguing.

This list is just meant to get you started. Figure out your unique perspective on Valentine’s Day and write, write, write.

Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

–Matilda and Kendra

PS We have just introduced our new online video seriesMARKET. PUBLISH. WRITE. The nine videos cover more than 10 hours of materials, coaching, instruction, and step-by-step guides. We invite you to check them out. They are available through our store called WomensMemoirWriting.


This set of online videos includes conceptual frameworks, case studies, and step-by-step guides shared with you by award-winning memoir author, workshop presenter, and memoir coach Matilda Butler. She takes you through these videos:

VIDEO 1: Introduction to Market. Publish. Write
Plus Tips for Various Ways to Use the Videos

VIDEO 2: Circles of Marketing-Perspective
Put what you know about marketing into
a framework so you can continue to add
information without the need to start over.

VIDEO 3: Marketing Case Study
Go through a case study of a successfully marketed
memoir and learn all the steps involved.

VIDEO 4-A: Marketing Materials
Take advantage of materials from the case study,
borrow and adapt from them.

VIDEO 4-B: Marketing Materials, Conclusion

VIDEO 5: Triangles of Publishing-Perspective
Learn about the current publishing scene
and become informed about your options.

VIDEO 6: Publishing eBook Case Study
Follow the process of successfully publishing
an ebook and see each of the steps.

VIDEO 7: Publishing Print Book Case Study
You may want to have an ebook only, a
print book only, or both. Learn the steps
required to publish a print book.

VIDEO 8: Pentagons of Writing-Perspective
Writing Alchemy has been called a “revolutionary new
methodology” and has received numerous writing
awards. This video teaches the concepts behind
the technique.

VIDEO 9: Writing Alchemy’s Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Success
Work through the exercises and you’ll learn how you can
turn your life story into a powerfully written memoir.

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