7 Memories: Memory Prompts in SEVENs

From Patricia Benesh, Ed.D

People often ask me why I chose the name “7 Memories” for my memoir-writing business and books. On the surface, we all know that seven is the world’s favorite, the “lucky” number. And seven is the number of days of the week, seas, continents, colors of the rainbow, and notes on a musical scale.

Aside from the “lucky” significance, I chose “seven memories” because it’s a workable number in terms of starting a memoir. The thought of writing a memoir can be daunting, but if you start with just seven memories, it becomes doable. Plus it requires you to decide on the significant experiences in your life. That’s a great way to start because it gives you focus and direction. Of course, my hope is that the method would motivate you to write more than 7 memories, but it’s up to you.

Here are some memory prompts that make you think in terms of “7.”

  1. If you had only 7 minutes to tell someone about yourself, what would you tell them?
  2. Write about 7 things that you enjoy most and are most passionate about. Why are do you enjoy them?
  3. List 7 of your favorite relatives and write why you like each in a sentence or two.
  4. Select 7 of your favorite family heirlooms and write about them.
  5. Pretend you are assembling a time capsule of your life. What 7 items would include? Why would you select these things?
  6. Describe a person you love. What 7 things do you love most about him/her?
  7. What is your personal philosophy. What 7 values underpin your personal philosophy?
  8. List 7 friends in your life. Choose one and write a recollection about a friendship with that person.
  9. List 7 people whom you have lost contact with. Choose one and write first about your relationship with that person. Include why, or if, you would like to reconnect with that person again.
  10. List 7 childhood pastimes. Write an experience for your favorite pastime. What happened? Why was it your favorite?
  11. List 7 life-changing events in your life. Which was most the most significant? Why? How did you change? What motivated you to change? How did that change affect your life?
  12. List 7 jobs you had in your life. Which did you dread? Why? Which did you like the most? Why?
  13. List 7 people who have influenced your life. Write about the one person who has influenced your life the most.
  14. List 7 things you would like to do in the future; include the why and when.