How to Write a Memoir

As 2020 nears its end, we find ourselves looking back at a blur of activity and meeting new challenges head-on. But this isn’t the first time you or your family faced extraordinary circumstances, experienced a milestone, or achieved something worth sharing. Why not write a memoir to tell your life story or a biographical history of another family member?

You may be tempted to take on the whole project yourself, and then realize you need a little help. There are online resources to guide you in the right direction, or you can choose an expert who organizes and preserves written material and photos to create keepsake memoirs.

Writing your memoir

This project can be fulfilling if you have the time to devote to it. I recommend the book To Our Children’s Children by Bob Green and D.G. Fulford as a great step-by-step guide showing you how to tell the stories of the older generation and preserve personal history for younger family members. You’ll start with the facts like birthdates, locations, names, and relationships. Then explore categories such as:

  • The House of Your Growing Up
  • Homefront (for those separated by military service)
  • Holidays
  • Celebrations

You will find yourself reminiscing about the past over questions, like “Why did you move to the town where you currently live, and how did you pick the neighborhood?”

Getting some guidance

Guided assistance can be found online using services like Storyworth that email questions to help discover the stories you want to highlight. A new prompt each week eventually creates an outline. You can add photos and captions to enhance your stories as you go. If you need help staying on task and coming up with ideas, this is an affordable way to get your memoir done.

However, if you have a specific vision for your memoir, you may feel limited by the questions and the layout and editing options designed for a 6×9 book. Also, if you don’t think you can commit to this format, you still have another option.

Reaching out to experts

If you love the idea of putting a memoir together, but know you don’t have the time or patience to complete it, Picture This Organized manages the entire process from sorting through digital photos, old boxes of letters and prints, to selecting the best memorabilia, so that we can create a keepsake album.

  • We can help you choose the stories you want to share or how you want to tell them.
  • We work alongside you to share tips and resources on researching any gaps in your family tree and history.
  • We help you gather and organize your personal items, and scan prints and memorabilia to include them as visual examples of the stories you want to tell.

We help sort and archive difficult print or digital photos and advise you on whether to include, share, or toss them. While sorting, we often come across photos or documents related to painful relationships or memories. Every family has some. We encourage you to take time to process your emotions before setting aside a piece of history. These items are part of your family’s stories, and children or other family members may want these reminders.

Once we have everything ready, Picture This Organized develops a timeline and creates a beautifully designed keepsake to take you from past to present. Display a hardbound copy in your home and get extra copies to share as gifts for family members. You may have enough memories to create several albums over time, and you’ve already done most of the work with your first project. Contact us to see how easy writing a memoir can be!


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