4 Steps to Happiness in Your Memoir Writing
I read a recent article in the New York Times on how to be happy and realize the suggestions are relevant to people writing their memoirs—or to those who would like to write a memoir.
At first, most people may not be happy about writing a memoir. It seems a daunting task. That’s why I developed 7 Memories: Write Your Memoir in 28 Days. It’s a workable method to get to a first draft of your memoir, just 20 minutes a day for 28 days. Many writers find it very helpful and enjoy the process.
Whatever means you use to get started, you can add happiness to writing your memoir—even if it does not come naturally to you. You have the power to make changes in your thinking and your behavior to add happiness to your memoir writing. Take these 4 steps:
Step 1. Realize the importance of writing your memoir. You have a wealth of experiences and knowledge that others want to know. They will cherish your memoir. So eliminate any doubts and negative thinking by knowing that it is a worthwhile endeavor. You are leaving a gift that only you can create—your legacy and how you want to be remembered.
Step 2. Breathe and imagine it. Before a writing session, close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Breathing can help reduce any anxiety or stress you may be experiencing. Imagine the smiles on the faces of your friends and family as they read your memoir. Imagine the cover and the dedication showing your meaningful life. Imagine young people learning from your life experiences.
Step 3. Rewrite your difficult stories. You can write and edit your difficult life experiences to change your perceptions of yourself. Here’s how:
Write about your struggle. Write it honestly as it played out in your life.
Now write how you overcame the obstacle. How it resulted in new learning and brought you greater inner strength (or not). When you recall the life-shaping challenges you have overcome, your self-esteem, coping skills, memory, and mental agility improve.
Include a “looking back” section where you relate how you would have done things differently. It’s as if you are a neutral observer reflecting on the experience. Now you see how you could have handled the situation differently. This offers a great learning opportunity for future generations. Plus, it’s considered a life course correction.
Step 4. Take an active break. Give yourself time to take a walk or move around after a writing session. Active rest provides renewed energy for your mind and body.
It’s clear: Numerous studies show that reminiscing and writing improves cognitive function, quality of life, and emotional well-being. It provides a sense of overall life satisfaction and coping skills, and also may help to ameliorate the symptoms of depression and dementia.
So merely writing your memoir can help your overall well-being and make you happy. Write on!