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Ask these 11 questions to find your memoir’s meaning

One of the first steps in writing a memoir is to understand what you’re writing about and why. It’s easy to start writing and end up with a collection of events and situations. And at first that’s fine because writing a memoir, or anything for that matter, is an act of discovery. So it can make sense to write about events to get a sense of what resonates with you and discover your most significant experiences.

That said, sketching out some notes and asking yourself a few questions might just help you refine your focus and give you the passion and energy to move forward.

Ask yourself these questions to discover your themes and meaning:

1. What am I passionate about?

2. What do I want to take a stand on?

3. Fill in these blanks: I want to write about ______ because ________.

4. What universal themes and messages will my story express?

5. Where is the drama in my story?

6. What is the mystery in my story?

7. When I decided to write my story, what was going on in my life?

8. What aspects of____________ am I examining?

9. Why am I so compelled by my subject and what do I expect to discover or prove in the process?

10. What will my story offer to readers?

11. If I had to explain the meaning of my memoir with one word, what is that word?

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