Many of this year’s client newsletters will include articles revolving around the theme of “memories.” When we talk with our clients, we realize that many of you have done and experienced some amazing things. We’d be happy if you’d share in our “Memories” theme by telling us about some of your memories. If you’ll allow us publish them in our client newsletter, that’d be great.
Our April newsletter contained an article on why write your memoirs. You can find the full version of that article on our blog (or contact us for a copy). But the short answer is: writing your memoirs helps you share your memories with friends and family – and help them better understand you.
If you already keep a journal or diary, summarizing that is the easiest way to start writing memoirs. Few of us journal faithfully, though, so there are several other starting points. Of course, sifting through your memories chronologically is a great way to start.
Think back to your very first childhood memory then move forward from there. Start with a few highlights (or lowlights!). It’s best to record them electronically so that, as some memories prompt or uncover others, you can insert new ones and re-sort them easily:
- Why did my mother scold me on that occasion?
- Oh, right, it was because my ball chipped the frame of that painting.
- And, yes, my parents got that painting from my aunt who was moving away…
Another starting point can be objects linked to memories: the most obvious ones are photo albums but recollecting the houses you’ve lived in, the cars you’ve driven, heirloom furniture, pieces of jewelry or collections of stamps, coins or cards can also inspire.
Yet another starting point might be what you feel made you or your family different from those around you. What did you take pride in? What were and are your quirks? Or what seemed commonplace to you back then that is surprising now, in retrospect?
Write to an Audience
Sometimes, it’s very helpful to have a target audience in mind. And, sometimes, the best audience is just one person. Imagine you are writing these memoirs specifically for your son, daughter, niece, nephew or friend. What kinds of memories, experiences, journeys or insight would most captivate that person or group? What do you have in common? What differences are important enough to be bridged or explained? How can you challenge your audience? What can you teach them? What have you learned from them?
Finally, and most importantly, start writing. Choose a quiet place and a block of time without distractions, if possible. Start with bullet points – as many as you can think of in a short time – then write a few sentences around each one. For each event or time period, try to remember, to the best of your ability, how you felt, what problems you faced, what you did to solve them, what others around you did and why.
Some people eliminated distracting thoughts by writing them down, others by focusing on their current thoughts in a laser-like fashion. Whatever your style, though, the important thing is to start. Remember that anything is infinitely more than nothing…
Cost, Benefit, Risk
It may take some time to find a “groove” in writing. If you’re not able to find your inspiration or you’re getting distracted, it be worthwhile to try a different time of the day or day of the week. Once you get going, you may find writing down your thoughts and memories very therapeutic but if you write something negative about someone (even if could potentially be perceived as negative), it’s best not to show your writing to anyone else: there are legal issues that arise and a future article in this series will discuss those. However, if you’re able to keep your writing positive and up-beat, you might be surprised at how much you can write – after all, you are the undisputed, world-wide, all-time top expert on the subject!
About the Author
Anil Balaram has been Ideal Carpet Cleaning’s part-time Marketing Manager since 2015. Anil was raised in Ottawa and works full-time as a software engineer. He and his wife have three children.