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Writing MemoirsWriting memoirs for loved ones: Expectations vs. Reality

Loved ones like our parents have a lot of stories to tell but don’t always get the opportunity to do so.

In this episode, Nicola Davidson tells us how to write autobiographies and memoirs for your loved one or for yourself.

Working as a journalist and editor for multiple newspapers in Australia and UK, Nicola has interviewed many people who had fascinating stories to tell.

But the format of the newspaper didn’t allow such elaborate memoirs. This gave the idea to Nicola about writing autobiographies for your loved ones and she came up with the website Forever Young Autobiographies.com. You can learn how to write a bio for yourself or a loved one’s memoir.

I feel that I should have written down the stories of my father before dementia and Parkinson’s made it impossible. You may also want to write down and pass on the stories of your loved ones before it is too late.

We don't need to be writers

Nicola tells us that we don’t need to be writers or someone famous to write down our memoirs. But we should come up with a “why”- the purpose of telling or writing your story. For many people, it can be an inter-family thing with parents passing down their stories to their children. Having a “why” gives you a head start and gives you the desire to write down your story.

You shouldn’t also worry about where to begin! Just get the energy going and start writing whatever you remember first. That way you can write down several memories or short stories and arrange them according to a timeline later.

Writing is a creative process and you shouldn’t let the inner critic prevent you from writing whatever you feel. The best thing to do is to leave your inner critic for the second draft, according to Nicola. You can write or type out everything you remember and go take a break. After some time, you can come back to it and scan it with a fresh mind and eyes. You will be amazed that you had done a great job and can edit or modify your writing.

Nicola also gives us helpful tips on writing memoirs for seniors.

You can help them write down their stories as Nicola is helping her 98-year-old grandmother to do so. Your loved ones can relate or speak out the stories and you can record the speech and transcribe it later.

Some people may find it difficult to remember their memories. Nicola advises us to start with long-term memories which are the richest. She also describes a few exercises to churn up all the memories- You can take a walk around the house and stumble on things which stir up some memories associated with them.

Others find it helpful to look through their photo albums or vinyl collection to get the memories going. You can even remember things from certain smells like food from childhood. Nicola suggests you write down everything- your childhood years, high school memories, marriage stories- anything and everything that can go towards making an interesting memoir.

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BONUS! Click HERE to get Nicola's first few chapters of her book for FREE! Also includes a discount code if you buy the book.