As a human being (whether a writer, beginner or experienced, or not) an essential form of writing exercise is to explore your own life. I don’t mean keep a journal or a diary but writing reflections on the past and pondering over the future and panicking about the present, but not as necessarily as regularly as daily or even weekly. Our lives are not often understood by ourselves let alone by others.
For the last 100 years or so, the developed world has been essentially literate, yet how much do we know of our ancestors. Ancestors who could have committed their thoughts to paper and would have reached out to future generations. How interesting that would be to read your grandmother’s thoughts or the impact of the WWI on your great grandfather. And you could leave your ideas to your children and grand children and to the future in general.
o “I remember…”
o “I’d love to …”
o “Heck, how do I get out of…”
Not only is it a great exercise in writing but it is also a valuable resource for your family and culture. How much do we risk losing through unprinted digital photographs and unwritten ideas and experiences.
We owe it to ourselves to make sure our memories and ideas have a means of expression. It can also supply so many jump-off points for your writing. Your grandfather’s eccentricities, that old farmhouse they lived in or was it in some rotten tenement in a slum area of a big industrial city.
Lots of questions you could ask yourself…
o What’s your first memory?
o Who was your best friend? Childhood, youth, and adulthood.
o What and where were or are your schools?
o Who were your teachers? Do you remember their names?
o What was/is your mother like?
o What was/is your father like?
o What do you feel about your siblings?
o Where have you lived?
o What type of housing?
o What size of town? Did you like it?
o Your favourite colour and why?
o Your pets. Did you have any?
o What food did you like when you were young? What do you like now?
o What are your favourite games or pastimes?
o When did you start to enjoy reading?
o When did you start to enjoy writing?
o What moves you?
o What disgusts you?
o What makes you feel good”?
You get the idea by now. Make up more questions to suite your intent and leanings. Examine your own life and how you impact others and they you. Understanding and insight can flow from these questions and your answers can surprise you.
When your gone you’ll have a legacy that can go beyond you, allow you to exist beyond your physical end, the real you not the DNA that pushed you to breed to its end.
This post was previously published on another blog of mine which is going dark.