Welcome to How to Keep Writing Wednesdays, where you'll find a boost of encouragement to help you keep the words flowing.

Bearing Witness Through Memoir

The past decade has not only seen a boom in memoir writing, but in memoir reading. We want to know how others have chosen to navigate their life, how they overcame challenges, how they found joy, happiness, or love. We are drawn to examine ourselves and our place in the world. The events themselves are of less importance than how we responded to them. What did we learn or choose to ignore? Writing it down offers that awareness. How many of us are stuck in the past, stymied by something someone said or did, by something we said or did? Writing it down sets us free.

In writing our memoirs we bear witness to our own life. Itโ€™s not about keeping a tally of right or wrong; itโ€™s about being able to own what happened. Unlike an autobiography which keeps track of the factual aspects of your life from birth until the present, memoirs are a snapshot. You choose what to focus on and elaborate on. Itโ€™s a chance to celebrate or reflect, to entertain or educate.

Some memoirs may find their place on the bookshelves of a larger audience while others may be shared within a family and passed down for generations to come. If you write your memoirs for no one other than yourself, you are giving yourself a great giftโ€”one of acknowledgment, validation, understanding, compassion, forgiveness, and celebration. Memoir writing ensures that our lives are present and accounted for.