The answer is found through the process of prewriting. Prewriting is everything that a storyteller does before she begins telling her story. It is a process of remembering, gathering and organizing ideas and details that you want to include.
Let’s look at just a few of the many activities you might use:
Top ten lists get David Letterman a lot of laughs. They will also get you a lot of ideas. All you need to do is select any potential topic and make a list of the top ten memories you associate with that topic:
- The ten most important turning points in your life
- The ten family stories you would most like to see preserved
- The ten most influential people in your life and how they influenced you
- Your ten greatest accomplishments and why they are important
- Ten things you value most in your life
There are almost unlimited possibilities for lists. Those above are only examples of how the process works.
You’ve probably written a resume. A life resume is a great way to generate ideas for a memoir. Some of the things you might want to include in your life resume are:
- Work experiences
- Health history
- Places you have lived
- Favorites (books, movies, music, recipes)
- Lessons (insights you have gained about life)
Look at each of the items you have included in your resume and think of a story associated with it or illustrating it. You’ll be amazed at how many ideas you will generate for stories to include in your memoir.