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The Memoirs You’ve Already Written

The souvenirs of everyday life, the records of special occasions, the stories everyone can recite by heart—congrats, you have everything you need to write your memoir! Need more inspiration? Here are a few takes on personal history you probably haven’t thought of.

It can be intimidating to plan a memoir from scratch. Getting started is often the hardest part. But here’s the thing: Everyone has memoirs they’ve already written, whether they know it or not! You don’t have to start from nothing to tell your life story—because you’ve already lived it. Some ideas for your next project:

Beloved Recipes

If you’ve ever compiled a family cookbook (in a three-ring binder or just a stack of stained index cards), then the storytelling has already begun. A brownie recipe is a yummy reminder of potlucks. Step-by-step instructions for perfect brisket bring family chefs together every year. And, of course, kitchen disasters are a category all their own! (But those over-ambitious attempts stay in the cookbook, because the laughs are worth it.)

Vacation Itineraries and Souvenirs

Remember the first time you took the kids to a Major League baseball game? Or saw a real Broadway musical? Maybe you’ve saved tickets, playbills, itineraries, and even receipts from memorable vacations. Whether you traveled solo or treated friends and family, you probably love unexpectedly finding the nostalgic paper trail you’ve stuffed into a file folder.

Bundles of Letters

Reading a birthday note in a loved one’s distinctive handwriting brings back a flood of memories. Finding your parents’ courtship correspondence provides unique insight into their relationship. Or perhaps you’ve dug out your children’s summer camp scrawlings! All these treasures are time capsules. We have great ideas for turning bundles of letters into sweet memories. Let’s brainstorm!

Modern-Day Exchanges

Were your love letters emailed? Did you screenshot text messages timing the contractions? Just because they’re electronic doesn’t mean they’re not correspondence! Think outside the box, and you’ll discover that you’ve already begun your personal history.


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