Ten reasons you’re not too old to write your memoir

by Jerry Waxler

Of all the reasons people give for not writing their memoirs, two I find most amusing are that “I’m too old” and “I’m too young.” If you find yourself squeezed between the wrong ages to write your memoirs, here are some reasons to help you refute the “I’m too old” one. In another blog, I’ll offer reasons why you’re not too young. Ultimately, the best time is right now.

1) If you fear it’s too late to learn how to write, flip this reason upside down. Learning how to write is an excellent reason for writing your memoir. If you start today, by tomorrow you’ll know more.

2) There’s no upper limit. If you can think, you can write. If your fingers don’t work or you can’t see, you can use voice technology. Author Harry Bernstein wrote his memoir, The Invisible Wall when he was 93.

3) Writing about yourself breaks down the walls between people. Readers feel they know you, and open up more quickly, increasing the energy of your social network.

4) No matter what your age, you can gain peace and deeper insights about your life by understanding how events in earlier years affected you later.

5) You might assume younger people are not particularly interested in you because you’re out of step with the times. Flip this reason upside down. The long reach of your memory is potentially the most interesting thing about you. You’ve seen more, and seen it in different contexts. Offering your memories helps younger people gain a better understanding of their own world.

6) You might think no one will read your work because you’re not young and glamorous. But the value we seek from books works on other dimensions than the smoothness of the author’s skin. In fact, your wrinkles might even become a credential, proving you have the years of experience to speak with authority.

7) Writing is good for your brain and will help you stay mentally supple and vigorous.

8) Once you start looking into your memories, you’ll find your accomplishments tucked away in forgotten corners. Remembering them will help you appreciate what you’ve done and who you are.

9) Telling the story gives you a sense that life is a story. This helps you craft a more interesting story of the future.

10) By writing a memoir, you improve your ability to write all sorts of material, notes, letters, essays, articles in newsletters, blogs. You can use your enhanced writing skills to share yourself with others expanding your interaction with the world, and continuing the social graces, pleasures, and gifts of being a human being.

2 thoughts on “Ten reasons you’re not too old to write your memoir

  1. My favorite reason to write is because it’s fun, especially when it’s about me and things I like to remember. Writing about them helps me remember them better, so they last longer for me, and I can share them with anyone who cares to read. But if nobody else wants to read my stories, who cares? I enjoyed writing them!

  2. Being young and “glamorous” helps, but the fifteen second of fame twenty-somethings have a shelf life. Then again, everyone has a unique voice. The mystery of writing is in expressing it, so that it resonates in the world of others. For me, I found the beauty and appeal of the memoir to others is hearing the same story of humanity told in a different intonation than their own. It sheds light on the readers’ own stories to see them from a different perspective. And as Ritergal says, even if nobody else reads my stories, who cares.

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