8 Prompts to Start Writing Your Memoir

Discover eight memoir-writing prompts for older adults.

Writing a memoir is a great way to share your life story, even if you never publish it. Not only will it give whomever you choose to share it with a recorded history of your unique experiences, but it will help you remember those same experiences as you age.

A study shared by the American Psychological Association found that reviewing information you have already learned helps you remember it more clearly. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry published another study that specifically looked at the effect of autobiography writing in older adults and found similar results. In this study, participating adults ages 62 to 84 showed improvement in both their attention and verbal memory at the end of eight weeks. In other words, the more often memories are recalled, the easier remembering becomes. Regardless of the stories you choose to tell, the simple act of writing will help you commemorate those important experiences.

If you’re unsure of what to write about, try one of these eight writing exercises to jog your memory—and keep it running longer.

  • Write about your childhood best friend—how you met, what you did together, or what made the two of you close.
  • Think back to a prominent place in your childhood. It can be a school, house, or park. What can you remember?
  • Which traditions did your family observe while you were growing up? Have you carried any of them into adulthood?
  • Write about a turning point in your life—what your life was like before, during, and after the experience. What changed and how?
  • Who are you most like in your family? What are some of those similarities? What makes you different from them?
  • Think about an interaction you had that inspired you. What about the experience was inspiring? See if remembering that interaction brings the same inspiration and write from there.
  • Listen to a song that has strong emotional ties for you. While the song is still playing or maybe in the silence afterward, write about what it was like to hear that song again.
  • Choose something that is important to you, whether it’s a person, thing, or an idea, and start writing about it. See where your memory takes you.

Have concerns about your memory function? Specialists at Carson Tahoe Behavioral Health Services can help.