Writing your memoirs is good for your health and can be a powerful self-affirming journey. It can give you a perspective that has eluded you your whole life. Perspective is important as it can clarify your thoughts, give context to complex situations and promote self-understanding and self-belief where it has been lost.
People have different reasons for writing their memoirs. A typical approach is to ‘tell all’ in your first draft – and why not. Your story at this stage is private – it stays between you and your word processor. Free expression of your emotions and feelings may be something you have never embraced previously either through choice or opportunity. Expressive writing in a totally unstructured private environment correlates with a feeling of physical release.
Your reflection may lead to alternative insights and perspectives to those you have carried for years. You may identify connections between events or remember incidents that had fallen into the dark shadows of your emotions and mind. Relationships and events will flood the movie screen that plays in your conscious as you review your life.
No doubt you will be amazed at what you have accomplished and achieved – and maybe give yourself credit where it is due. Taking ownership of those accomplishments and achievements and recognising the difficulties around them will identify your strengths and skills that perhaps you never realised or had forgotten you had.
Just bringing these things to the forefront of your mind and computer screen will unleash a motivation that you will own.
Your second draft will be different. Reviewing and editing your second draft will give opportunity to review and discard. It will be your choice what you choose to delete from your computer and your mind.
Reorganising your experiences and linking them into a life structure is an exhilarating experience and a great mental exercise.
Stephen King wrote ‘I write to find out what I think’. Understanding oneself is not something we do well but then understanding our own mental health is also not something we do well. Refining our life story into something we want to share with others and we are proud of is a very rewarding activity.
There are no rules in life writing and some of the best movies of our day have come from someone’s personal story or memoir. It is moments within context that are most powerful in life stories and teasing them out of your complex life and giving them a platform to shout their worth is a great achievement from which you can only benefit.
When I sit and listen to people’s life stories, there is always a moment of tears, a sadness and regret or hurt. Whilst those moments usually do not make it into the book, hopefully their owner will feel empowered that those hurts have been given the freedom to disappear and be deleted for good leaving only the good feelings where they belong.
Writing your memoirs is good for your health and is not just something for the aged or those facing ill-health. It is refreshing and soul strengthening for any age. Realising that rain showers are common in every life and the beautiful rainbows they produce would not be possible without them.