75+ Memoir Writing Prompts to Inspire Your Next Book

POSTED ON Sep 10, 2023

Sarah Rexford

Written by Sarah Rexford

Home > Blog > Memoir, Non-Fiction > 75+ Memoir Writing Prompts to Inspire Your Next Book

Are you learning how to write a memoir and looking for some inspiration? Memoir writing prompts are a great writing aid and can be a creativity boost when you need it most. Not only can prompts open your mind to new memoir ideas you might not have considered otherwise, but you can even mix and match prompts for a unique twist.

Today, we're sharing 75+ done-for-you memoir writing prompts AND our free writing prompts generator that you can use to create 1000s more prompts to support your writing journey.

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What are memoir writing prompts?

As the name suggests, memoir writing prompts are creative prompts or questions designed to inspire you, as an author, to reflect on and write about your most vulnerable and impactful personal experiences, memories, and life stories.

These prompts – and our memoir writing prompts generator are the perfect starting point for your book. Whether you're outlining your memoir or still deciding which memories to include, you're sure to leave this writing exercise with plenty of pages full of book-worthy ideas.

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Other things you can do for memoir writing inspiration include reading other books such as the best celebrity memoirs to get a look at other memoir examples, challenging yourself to write a Six-Word Memoir (another great writing exercise!), and even reading autobiographies. Though the latter is a different book genre, memoirs are still autobiographical in nature, and reading the best autobiographies will illustrate how others have chosen to write about their lives.

What are good topics for a memoir?

Anything! If you experienced something that had a profound impact on your life, health, beliefs, or loved ones, it's likely a story worth telling.

Bestselling memoir ideas are limitless. However, some of the most common themes covered include:

  • Personal growth
  • Family and relationships
  • Navigating personal identity
  • Experiencing a different culture
  • Mental health
  • Adversity
  • Travel
  • Spirituality and faith
  • Parenthood
  • Survival

The memoir writing prompts below will cover these themes and more!

75+ memoir writing prompts you can use today

1. Share how the people you spend the most time with shape and influence your life on a day-to-day basis.

2. Explain the lessons your childhood pet taught you about caring for others.

3. Write about a traumatic experience in your life and how you overcame it.

4. Share how you approach your mental health and why this matters to you.

5. Write about the impact having siblings, or being an only child, had on you growing up.

6. Teach others how you made it through a big regret and how they can too.

7. Pretend to write an adventure book opening by sharing the highs and lows involved in reaching where you are today.

8. Write about the importance of pouring into others. 

9. Choose your most influential mentors and share the three lessons they taught you. 

10. Write about how your favorite moments have inspired you to keep going.

11. Share your favorite childhood memory and why it stands out to you.

12. Teach the bigger lesson learning to drive taught you. 

13. Describe a moment you messed up and how you responded.

14. Write about how your hometown has influenced your worldview.

15. Did you love or dislike school as a child? Why?

16. What books have most influenced you?

17. What themes most influenced your childhood?

18. How did you make friends as a teenager, and what does this reveal about you?

19. Share a moment you thought all was lost and how you pressed on.

20. What emotion do holidays evoke for you?

21. What do you deeply believe, and how does this impact your daily life?

22. Share lessons you wish you’d known in your twenties.

23. Write about a time you felt meaningless and what helped you find hope.

24. What is your favorite travel location and why?

25. Who is the most unique person you’ve met?

26. When did you realize you had grown up?

27. What has taught you the most about yourself and those in your community?

28. How has your growing independence or interdependence shaped you?

29. Write about why you feel you must write your memoir.

30. Who most inspires you and why?

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31. Explain a time you felt your most confident. 

32. If you had to relive one year of your life, which one would it be and why?

33. Talk about a time you felt better than someone and what you learned about the worth of others.

34. Describe what lengths you would go for the person you most love (consider the relationship tropes that show up in your own life).

35. Write about how you balance hope with difficulty. 

36. When did someone give you a second chance, and how did it make you feel?

37. Write about the most influential people in your life and how they helped shape who you are.

38. Dive into your greatest hopes for your future.

39. What historical event most shaped how you live today?

40. From your experience, explain how to move forward.

41. If you had to live in a new city, where would you choose and why?

42. Describe your ideal friend. 

43. Define your view of success.

44. Discuss who you aspire to be like.

45. Write about what you learned from starting fresh.

46. What was the moment you most wished you could start over, and why?

47. How has your childhood influenced today’s decisions? 

48. Write about a success you had early in life and what it taught you about humility.

49. What’s a big choice you made that, if you hadn’t, you’d greatly regret?

50. If you could share one lesson with the childhood version of you, what would it be and why?

51. Write about a time you hurt someone and what it taught you about forgiveness.

52. What makes you most afraid, and what can readers learn from you about facing fear?

53. Dive into where you see yourself in five years and if your past plays a role in your future.

54. What did you think would make you happy, and upon achieving/obtaining it, how did you feel?

55. Write about a difficult relationship you had and how you worked through it.

56. What leadership techniques did you learn from those who raised you, and are you thankful you learned them or working to learn healthier ones?

57. What did your biggest loss teach you about love?

58. What drives your daily choices, fear, bravery, or something else, and why?

59. If you had to switch lives with one person, what would they learn from your decisions?

60. Write about the town you grew up in and how it’s shaped your perspective on life.

61. What is the earliest memory you have, and why do you think it stuck with you?

62. Define where you thought you’d be in life today, where you are, and how you feel about it.

63. Reflect on how your lifestyle today speaks to your childhood.

64. Invite readers into your thought process for one of your biggest life decisions. 

65. Write about one of your biggest regrets, and teach others going through the same thing how to deal with it.

66. Discuss what movies have most influenced your life and why.

67. Start a gratitude journal and write about the happiest time in your life and what that moment taught you.

68. Talk about a conversation you were nervous to have and how you approached it.

69. What prompts you to get out of bed and begin your day every morning?

70. Elaborate on your post-high school life trajectory. What would you do differently, and what would you keep the same?

71. What situation devastated you, and how can your resilience bring hope to others in similar places? 

72. Describe one of your most proud moments and how this memory impacts you today. 

73. What is one aspect you wish you could change about yourself, and how can others learn from this?

74. What historical moment did you experience that others could learn from?

75. Describe a scary event that helped you grow.

76. Write about your favorite vacation memory.

77. Write about the greatest lesson you ever learned and how others can learn from your journey.

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How to use memoir writing prompts for your book

Writing a memoir is a deeply personal experience.

No one can tell your story for you. But, you can use tools to improve your writing, explore different themes in books, and inspire you to share your memories in new ways. Whether you found a few memoir writing prompts from the list above or you want to use our memoir writing prompt generator, here are our tips for using prompts in your writing.

  • Choose a prompt: Select a memoir writing prompt that resonates with you or relates to the theme or aspect of your life you want to explore in your memoir. If you are using the prompts generator, input your book genre and share a few more details about yourself to get a list of unlimited prompts.
  • Reflect: Take some time to think about the prompt and how it connects to your experiences. Consider the emotions, memories, and lessons associated with it.
  • Write freely: Start writing. Give yourself permission to not think about grammar, structure, or editing. Let your thoughts flow and capture every last memory and feeling that comes up.
  • Expand upon the learning moments: Revisit your work after the initial writing session. Hone in on the moments that you learned something – the moments that others would benefit from reading and learning about.
  • Omit the deeply personal things: Remember that memoir writing can be therapeutic, but the purpose is to entertain or teach. You will have strangers reading these details, so make sure you don't overshare or make claims against someone else.
  • Repeat: Use different memoir writing prompts to explore various aspects of your life. Over time, you can weave these pieces together into a cohesive narrative.

Further reading

Not finished? I've compiled a list of blogs that we've written specifically to help authors like you write better memoirs.

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