We all have many different stories to tell about our lives, but when you’re writing a memoir, it’s best to not try to tell them all at once. Choosing a specific theme for your memoir will make it stronger and more meaningful to your readers.
Organizing your memoir by theme can also help you to start the writing process. Here’s how to begin.
Step One: Choose a theme
What is the topic that you really want to focus on? If there’s something that seems to be underlying all of your life experiences, that’s a theme you may want to explore.
If you’re struggling to choose a theme, think about what most affects you as a person today. What are you most passionate about? Brainstorm and let your memory run for a while to see what is most prominent in your life.
Choosing a theme can be challenging, because writing about one topic for an extended time can feel monotonous. When choosing a theme, make sure it’s one you feel you have enough experience with, and one that has impacted your life enough, that you can write a memoir about it.
Step Two: Understand why you’re writing about this topic
What do you hope to convey to whoever reads your memoir? Why is this a topic you’re drawn to write about? When you’re writing about a specific experience, there’s a reason you feel like that experience is important in your life. What’s your reason? What do you want people to know about your chosen topic? Try to write with this in mind.
Step Three: Think about your experiences through that lens
Once you pick a theme, decide what experiences really show the impact that topic has had on your life. Where do you see that theme come into play in your life? What was your first experience with it? Think back and do some brainstorming about where you want to start given what your topic is.