(1) What is a Memoir

Your boss fired you after you were an outstanding employee for ten years. You spent a month on the country farm with Grandma. Your teenage kids are driving you crazy. You are a teenage kid and your parents are driving you crazy. You fell in love. Your school year went from bad to worse. You learned to play the guitar and are jamming in a rock band. You become an Olympic skier. You are ready to out your secret. Each of these scenarios by itself could be a memoir, a story about a special time in your life. It can be about a week when you applied for twenty jobs, interviewed for three, and still don’t have a job, or a lifetime struggling with a physical disability.

A memoir is a collection of memories and factual events made into a story. It is usually written in the first person: My pain was excruciating when... I laughed ‘till my sides hurt when my sister… My mouth watered when I saw… I smelled the fragrance of… A memoir can be written in the past tense or the present tense, depending on the mood you want to create. It is your perspective on what happened, your version of what you remember. A memoir can be humorous, heart-warming, sad, or horrifying. The memoir I am writing is both heart-warming and horrifying.           

Writing prompt: Write one or two pages about the first time you were alone. Use all your senses if you can. Write about how you felt, the sounds and sights you noticed. What did you hear or taste during the action in your story.

Stay in touch for more Writing topics: 

Why Write a Memoir?

How I Write

Using Your Senses in Writing

Making Character Come Alive


Using More Than One Voice



Cultural Elements—and more

Linda Lundgren