Memoir writing, or life story writing, is becoming increasingly popular among seniors as a creative way to make sense of meaningful life events, help others learn from their experiences, and to leave behind a legacy for generations to come. A healthy tool for self-reflection and means of emotional catharsis, memoir writing also encourages community building through the sharing of completed works.
Oak Tree Retirement Village Gunnedah hosted a Memoir Writing Workshop led by Kim Hodges; author of two memoirs: “Girl on the Edge, An Arresting Memoir” about her life experience of growing up in an isolated small country town in central west NSW in the 1980s, and “Girl Over the Edge” in which she talks candidly about her battle with depression and mental health.
Quieting the inner critic is a challenge that often defeats seniors contemplating writing about their life, and one that Kim Hodges is familiar with. We took away five key pieces of advice on how Oak Tree residents can shake off any doubts to start exploring and sharing their life well lived.
You have the right to write a memoir.
A lot of people feel they cannot write a memoir because they didn’t do well in English at school, or feel that their writing skills are not up to par.
“Everybody has a story to tell, and the right to share it. Whether it is just with those they love, or a wider audience,” says Kim.
You do not have to start at the beginning.
It can be daunting to know where to start, or how to bring a collection of old photos, scribbled notes, and memories together into something that resembles a story.
Don’t focus too much on trying to keeping your memoir in chronological order. Instead, begin writing about fond or notable moments and see where your thoughts naturally take you from there. The story will begin to take shape the more you write.
Include the details!
Think of the smell of your mother’s cooking, the way the light shined off the creek behind your childhood home, the sting of teenage heartbreak. A simple descriptive detail can be the one that brings the page to life.
It’s never too late to start writing.
“I hope everyone walked away from the workshop with the desire to write, even if only for themselves.”
Click here to learn about simple, everyday tasks that can improve your mental wellbeing.
To find out more about Oak Tree Retirement Villages, call 1300 367 155.
**Link to Kim Hodges Bio** http://kimhodges.id.au/