After I had been writing memoir for some time, I decided that I needed to organize the stories that I had written. As I sorted through them I discovered that I had written several stories about visits to my grandparents’ farm. I had not previously realized the impact of those visits on my formative years or how important they were to me. That discovery prompted me to write several more pieces about visits to the farm. Now I have a collection of stories that fit into the category or under the theme of “Visits to the Farm.”
Thinking in terms of categories or themes jogs memories that might not have come to mind. If you have played sports in your life, consider writing several pieces about the sports you played, the games you attended or watching sports with family members or friends. For an avid sports fan each one of those topics should generate several stories.
Think about the people, places and events in your life. Even emotions can be a theme for a collection. A lot of published memoirs deal with trauma or dysfunction.
Another approach is to break your life into time periods and write several stories at a time about a certain phase of your life. Possibilities of time periods could include: childhood, high school, college or military, parenting, divorce, married life, or….
The primary reason for thinking in terms of categories or themes is to pull out those memories. Often one story in a theme will remind you of others. Themes and categories will help keep you writing. And that is what this is all about.