Memoir writing requires dedication and talent to describe critical points of your life. See our memoir writing prompts to inspire you to make your own.
So you finally decided to put your life on paper. Writing a memoir and sharing it with others is a great way to immortalize your achievements, failures, and lessons.
However, you might find it hard to decide which areas of your life to focus on. Because a memoir requires themed occurrences, you can’t make it a compilation of narratives from the moment you were born. As memoir coach Marion Roach Smith told us in a podcast interview, your memoir must be honest and also impart something valuable to readers.
How To Use These Memoir Writing Prompts
Memoir writing is personal. It involves sensitive information such as personal and family history. So, be careful to only pick highlights in your life that you are comfortable sharing. At the same time, these key events should be those you think your readers will find interesting.
Memoirs don’t need to be chronological, nor should they read like an autobiography. These non-fiction pieces don’t need to include everything in your life. Memoirs can center on one colossal event and are primarily created to share lessons that inspire and encourage. Use the prompts below to get an idea of what to include in your memoir.
We’ve written extensively about writing prompts before. Here, you can read through our list of prompts and choose those closest to your experiences for a memoir. Pick as many as you want. Then, evaluate which ones you find most relatable. Continue this process of elimination until you have a foundation of what you want to include in your memoir.
Memoir Writing Prompts
- What’s the story behind your name?
- Talk about your first love. It can be a person, a thing, or a feeling.
- Identify your proudest moments. Give details on how you felt during those times.
- What would you say to your older or younger self if you had the chance?
- If you can delete a memory, what will it be? Why?
- Recall a time when you’ve been in an accident.
- What’s your earliest memory?
- Talk about the worst day of your life.
- Narrate an event you feel already happened, like a deja vu.
- Describe your childhood room in detail.
- Detail a situation when you feel betrayed. What did you do, and how did you handle it?
- If you have traumas or illnesses, share how you got them and discuss your recovery story.
- What were you afraid of when you were a child, and why? Are you still scared of it today?
- Talk about an occasion when you were terrified to do something but still did it.
- How did your first date go? What’s your ideal first date?
- List three ways people always describe you. Why do you think they describe you as such?
- Identify your worst insecurity and why you got it. What are the steps you’re taking to overcome it?
- Write about winning something.
- Talk about your first heartbreak. It can be about a past lover or a failed endeavor.
- Who’s your favorite teacher? Why?
- What’s your worst fear?
- Describe the most beautiful art you’ve seen.
- What are your quirks?
- What are you most grateful for today? Why?
- Have you ever had a spiritual or religious experience? Expound on it.
- What are your most valuable possessions? Why?
- List three of your worst phobias. Share your worst experience concerning these fears.
- Talk about your hobbies and how you got them. If you have a hobby from childhood that you carried to your adult life, what are they?
- Talk about the most memorable holiday you’ve had.
- Share an experience where you feel the most embarrassed.
- Recall a time when you met a terminally ill person. How did their life philosophy affect you?
- What’s the worst mistake you’ve ever made? What did you do to mitigate or correct it?
- Talk about any experience you have with the supernatural.
- Talk about an unforgettable memory you had with your mom or dad.
- Recount your experiences growing up with strict or devout parents.
- Describe your worst physical pain and share the story behind it.
- Describe your relationship with your siblings.
- Recall a time when you had a meltdown. What were the events that led up to it?
- Talk about the funniest incident you’ve witnessed.
- Talk about a time when you were dirt poor – no money, no friends, and no motivation.
- List five of your all-time favorite songs. What memories do you connect to these songs?
- Talk about your first job. How did it go, and what did you learn from it?
- Narrate how your graduation went. Include what you felt and who you celebrated it with you.
- Describe the most beautiful wedding you’ve attended.
- Talk about when your experiences with racism, sexism, and other types of discrimination.
- Is there a period when you feel lost? Share what you felt and how you overcame it.
- What’s the first school memory you can recall?
- Talk about the time when you hated yourself the most.
- Recount a time in your life that you consider a fresh start. Compare the person you were before and after this new beginning.
- Talk about the happiest day of your life.
- What’s the most shocking event you’ve experienced?
- What part of schooling did you hate the most?
- Talk about the origin of a lie you still present as truth today.
- What is your dream job? Recount your experiences during the period when you strived to get that dream job.
- Walk around your house and look for items that trigger your consciousness. Relay the memories connected to these items.
- Recount the story of your birth. How did your parents or guardian describe it?
- Think back to a time when you had to make an important decision. What did you pick, and how do you feel about it today?
- Talk about your greatest regret.
- Narrate an encounter where you were stereotyped based on your gender.
- What skill are you most proud of, and how did you develop it?
- Talk about your favorite childhood toy and share a prominent memory of it.
- Is there a family secret you wish you didn’t know? What is it, and why?
- If you’re a part of the LGBTQ+ community, share your journey to discovering and understanding your sexuality.
- Look back to your past expectations of yourself. How different are they from your current goals?
- If you have an experience with a grave disease, share your life before and after your diagnosis.
- Recount your experiences and lessons as a first-time parent.
- If you’re a war veteran, narrate your first-hand experiences during your service.
- Speak about the meaningful experiences you’ve had in your job or career.
- Talk about a time when you had to break the law to survive.
- Recall a time when you were pushed to be the leader of a group or a project. How did it go?
- Pick the largest scar on your body and share how you got it.
- Talk about something you’ve gone through that you pretend never happened. Include how you finally faced and pulled through this tribulation.
- If you have any tattoos, talk about their meaning/s.
- Describe the moment you realized you’ve matured or grown up.
- Describe what you expect your retirement to be like.
- Talk about a book you deeply feel connected to.
- Talk about your favorite photo of yourself and the story behind it.
- Recount the day when you got your first car.
- What did it feel like when you moved out of your family home?
- Describe your childhood home and pick your favorite areas. Explain why.
- Recall an incident when your feelings were hurt the most.
- Talk about an experience that made you believe in extraterrestrial life.
- What vegetable do you hate the most? Share a memory of when you realized you hate that food.
- If you’ve had a poor relationship with food, share your struggles with eating, weight, and self-concept.
- What do you do when you feel sad? How do you lift your mood?
- Talk about how you met the best people you know today.
- Do you have unique family traditions? What are they, and what do you feel about them?
- Tell the story of how you met your current partner.
- Talk about your different friend groups. What memories of them do you like the most?
- Describe your parents’ dynamic. How did their relationship affect your perception of love and marriage?
- Recount the most intense argument you’ve had with someone close to you. Include why the fight happened and how you solved it.
- Identify your greatest personal challenge so far and elaborate on it.
- Talk about a time when your family prepared for a death of a loved one.
- Recount the period after losing a loved one. Talk about your grief, mourning, and how you coped with the death.
- Talk about how you started and achieved success in your field. Add tips to help aspiring beginners of the craft.
- If you’re from a broken marriage, share how the separation affected you growing up. Include your struggles with your identity, self-respect, etc.
- Talk about a time when you were falsely accused of something.
- Have you ever joined an organization? Share your most memorable experience with the group.
- Share your experience with a natural calamity, such as an earthquake or a hurricane.
- Talk about the first year of your marriage to your current partner. Include your realizations, compromises, and adjustments.
- Discuss a relationship you’ve been in that made you a better person. For example, you can speak about a toxic or a healing relationship.
- Talk about a rare habit one of your friends or relatives has that you find amusing.
- Talk about a major change you had to go through in your life. How did you cope with it, and what did you learn?
- Speak about a time when you were addicted to something.
- Talk about a time you felt the closest to your mother or father.
- Recount an incident that pushed you to cut ties with someone special to you.
- Narrate the story of how a grandparent imparted a vital life lesson to you.
- Talk about your celebrity idols and how they influenced your life.
- Talk about your best friend and how the two of you became close.
- Did you have a school bully? Recall the worst thing they did and how their actions impacted your school life.
- Talk about a family feud. How did it start, and how did the dispute affect you?
- Discuss a life-or-death situation you’ve been in. How dangerous was it, and how did you survive it?
- Talk about your best traveling experience that changed your perception of life.
- Talk about a time when you feel powerful or unstoppable.
- Write about a bizarre encounter you’ve experienced.
- Talk about your political beliefs and why you support these beliefs.
- Write about a time when you felt a place is hunted. Share the details of your trip.
- Try to describe your hometown in vivid detail. What’s one thing you remember the most about your hometown?
- Write about a historical event that greatly affected your life. What is it, and how did it change your everyday living?
- Pick one memory you strongly associate with each: spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
- Think of a time when you had to choose between two good things. For example, love or career, then talk about your experience.
- Recall the most memorable adventure you’ve had.
- Talk about an instance when you saved someone.
- Talk about your experience when you moved to another country.
- Talk about the time when you met your childhood hero.
- Recount what happened when you had your first child.
- Think of your first major loss. Explain what it’s about
What are Good Topics for a Memoir?
Childhood Memories: Remember when you climbed that giant oak tree in your backyard or had your first heartbreak in middle school? Your early years are a goldmine of raw, evocative memories. Delve deep, and you might be surprised at the rich tales you can tell. If it helps, read old journal entries.
Overcoming Adversities: Have you ever faced a daunting challenge? Perhaps you battled an illness or overcame financial hardship. These experiences shape who you are and resonate with readers who seek inspiration and hope in the face of their own struggles.
Travel Adventures: That backpacking trip across Europe, or the time you got lost in a bustling market in Bangkok? Travel stories transport readers to a different world, filled with sights, sounds, and cultural nuances.
Relationship Dynamics: Love, friendships, and even the intricacies of family dynamics can make for poignant memoir material. Dive into the beauty, the pain, and the lessons learned from the people who’ve come in and out of your life.
Professional Life: If you’ve built a unique career or made significant shifts in your profession, these experiences might intrigue those looking to understand the ins and outs of a particular field or those seeking motivation to change their own career paths, like a writing job.
Personal Transformations: Did you embark on a journey of self-discovery, perhaps through spirituality, weight loss, or even a simple hobby that grew into a passion? Sharing such personal evolutions can be deeply moving.
Historical or Cultural Insights: If you’ve lived through significant historical events or come from a rich cultural background, offer readers a window into that world. Paint them a picture of a time or place they might never personally experience.
Life in the Shadows: Maybe you’ve had experiences on the fringes of society or in lesser-known subcultures, for example triathlon training. Shedding light on these areas can be both enlightening and captivating.
Educational Pursuits: Remember when you returned to school or pursued an unconventional educational path? There’s always someone out there wondering if it’s too late or if they’re on the right path.
Mundane Magic: Sometimes, the simple, everyday moments hold the most beauty. The smell of your grandmother’s kitchen, the laughter shared over a family dinner, or the quiet moments alone with your thoughts. Celebrate the ordinary; it often holds extraordinary stories.
If you’re still stuck, get the best memoir-writing apps to assist you.