Here’s a fun writing exercise to get the juices flowing whether you intend to write a memoir or not. Write down numbers for every year you’ve lived. Then, next to each number write a chapter title. You are naming chapters of your book; your life. The beauty of writing is risk. Some things work. Some don’t, but if you are willing to risk you’re able to sort what works from what doesn’t. And in the process you just might find one truly original idea.
Here are the “Chapters” of my life:
- Top of the Totem Pole—the Fourth Paine Girl is Born
- The View from the Back of my Mom’s Bike
- European Castles & Fields of Flowers
- Hollowed Out Rooms
- No Ski for Me
- Coming to America
- Laura and Gin Gin & Other Pretend Things
- Tales of the Fourth Grade Everything
- Liesel, Kittle and China Baby, Our Elkhounds
- Bologna & Mayo and Soccer Games
- Wizard of Oz Meets Mary Poppins Meets Nadia
Of course, when you write a memoir you don’t include every detail and every year of your life, but this exercise could propel your memoir or even your WIP into an enriched and more fleshed out piece of work. It can’t hurt to try.
Then, let me know what some of your younger years would be titled. (FYI: I’m breaking my life into three parts over the next three days with a related question to come on Friday.)
Also, stop on by Exemplify Online to see what I wrote about God Breathing Nature.
*photos by flickr