I’m often asked, “Where do you recommend people start when they’re recording their memories.”
Sometimes, however, it’s not the starting that’s the issue. At the beginning, with a little brainstorming, ideas come down like the proverbial cats and dogs in a rainstorm. Then they don’t. That’s the problem. You encounter the “What do I write?” blues.
Breaking through writer’s block is important. Once coming up with ideas is difficult, it’s a slippery slope to procrastination.
Breaking through Writer’s Block: Finding Ideas for Your Journal, Treasure Chest, or Blog
Treasure Chest of Memories or Memories of Me:
Of course, I hope you’ll continue to find ideas here at this site, as well as in my book. If you’re searching for specific themes or topics, try searching this site by tags that appeal to you. For instance, if you’re interested in highlighting your ancestors, you can click on the Family History category.
Keep in mind, some topics, such as “Things I Want to Remember…” can be used over and over, featuring different loved ones or ancestors. Also, when you brainstorm, keep an idea bank—a written list of topics to come back to. It’s a great tool for breaking through writer’s block.
Even better, refer back to Putting Memories to Paper (page 59) in Memories of Me.
Find a New Twist
Look back over the stories you’ve preserved and give them a new twist. For instance, if you’ve written about your hobbies, write about the hobbies you wish you had time to develop. Perhaps you wanted to take up photography or violin. Explain what enticed you and why you didn’t follow up.
Put Your Heart on Your Sleeve
Perhaps you’ve written stories that merely scratch the surface, emotionally speaking. Have you included why those memories really matter to you? Have you written simply about yourself? Alexandra Franzen’s 33 prompts to unlock new blog posts & stories that need to be told will challenge you to pour even more of yourself onto your pages.
Prompts are great for breaking through writer’s block. In addition to the ones in Memories of Me, you can find all sorts of prompts on the internet. (Starting, of course, with Writing about Your Memories Pinterest Board.)
If family history and featuring ancestors is important to you, Geneabloggers.com has several writing prompts for each day of the week. You don’t have to be a blogger to use them.
If you want to transition from simply recording your memories and stories into writing a memoir, the National Association of Memoir Writers and Women’s Memoirs have some great articles and writing prompts.
Not everything is a story. Sometimes breaking through writer’s block is as simple as writing lists of things you want to remember or want to share with others. For instance, some of the Geneablogger.com prompts are simply a Tombstone you want to feature. Resources for journalers are also great for the memory-collector. You can find them with your favorite search engine or use Pinterest.
In addition, journaling resources encourage you to put yourself on the page and share the things that casual acquaintances wouldn’t know about you.
What resources do you use when you get stuck? How do you keep telling your stories?