If I hear one more person tell me they have had a boring life and don’t think they have anything to write about, I’ll just throw my new iPhone 11 into the burn barrel. Sometimes that is genuinely how I feel, but in reality, I’m not impulsive enough to melt my phone. However, I am empathetic to someone who feels their life is both boring and not worth writing about.
The fact is that most people think they’ve led a boring life. But, really, did you? Have you never had any interests? Have you not been in the same crazy world as me and not had a thought of anything that has happened in the last 25+ years? Are you not knowledgeable in something? Anything? The reason people feel they have led a boring life is because we equate our lives as events, actions, and consequences. We forget that thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and how they drive us are far more extensive than any actions you will ever face in your life. Just because you haven’t flown to space or landed a failing 747 in the Chesapeake Bay doesn’t mean you don’t have a story.
The reason you write a memoir is to leave a legacy for future generations. Think of the study and time we put into understanding our Founding Fathers by their letters and journals. Do you really think spending an afternoon reading about how squash grew in Thomas Jefferson’s garden is a compelling read? And thirty years after his death Jefferson may have been considered a bit of a whiner at how upset he was at the editing of his original words in the Declaration of Independence. But, now almost 250 years later we over-analyze and drool over the thoughts, beliefs, and words Jefferson wrote and were revised. In nearly every coffee shop across the country people aggressively debate our Founding Father’s principles and intentions in their words. Sure, our Founding Fathers are revered in our time, but in their time many cared to speak more of farming than politics. And in the end, most are known and studied more for their thoughts, ideals, and desires than their actions. They are studied by their journals, farming records, and letters to each other.
For a boring life, you have experienced more than you could ever imagine and it will fill volumes. But, before we get to those volumes we must start with book one. You say you’ve had a boring life? Let’s test that with five types of memoirs your “boring” life may have a lot to talk about.
Write the life you love
Who said that you need to have tragedy to tell a good story? I recently had the opportunity to speak with someone interested in writing her story, but she was hesitant partly because she didn’t think she had anything to write about. “I don’t have a book. I can’t say that anything bad has ever happened to me.” Of course, as we began talking it became clear that maybe she hadn’t experienced tragedy, but she certainly had a unique and fun way to look at the life around her. It so happens that this person is the go-to friend when her friends need rational advice on things such as dating and relationships.
This person is not burdened by anyone else and is living the life she loves and wants to live, with one little exception. Her friends may value her relationship advice, but she’s been searching for love most of her life.
Focus on your interest
It’s a safe bet that if you are interested in something, millions of other people are too. Most people have something in their life that they love from collecting baseball cards to metal detecting. Maybe you love sewing, painting, or running. Writing your memoir through your main interest in life is not only appealing to like-minded individuals, but probably gives you a lot to talk about. You can write about your experience getting involved in your hobby, the people you’ve met, or how your hobby has led to solitude. Focusing on a single topic you know well is a great way to tell your story.
We all love food
This is a relatively new type of memoir book I’ve been working on, but I think it is a promising idea. Food plays a huge role in many families. For me, I grew up on a farm where we raised our own food and had plenty of it, so their are certain meals that mean things to me. My mom’s family is Italian – ’nuff said. Food plays a role in our lives and is often driven by emotion. From smelling freshly baked cookies after school so the feast of seven fishes, food likely brings find memories to your heart.
Creating a recipe book with small vignette’s of your life and the memories that dish brings to you.
Share your philosophy
Few things will tell future generations more about you than your philosophy and belief systems. From Plato and Aristotle to Niche and the Founding Father’s we understand who they are by what they believed. Do you have strong philosophical beliefs? Perhaps you just have something to say about everything. From relationships and child rearing to the frequently changing discourse of politics and religion in the past 20 years you probably have ideas on what you like, don’t like, and want to see.
Be Watson to your Holmes
The brilliance of Sherlock Holmes wasn’t in his ability to navigate the complexity of senses that many of us fail to recognize, but rather in that the protagonist of the Sherlock Holmes novels can be argued as his dear friend Watson. It was after all Watson who played the critical role in solving the cases, he was the support to Holmes’ dysfunction, and most importantly he was the narrator whom we all clung to when we wanted to know what was going to happen next.
One way to write your life story is from the shoes of someone else. After all, it’s easy to look at your life as unremarkable. But, what if you look at your life through a new perspective and how you affected others around you? It may be difficult to step into this role at first, but I’ve done this about half a dozen times for clients and once they get into the role, it’s amazing at how un-boring they actually are.
Nobody is boring. Everyone has something to say and a story to tell, and there are dozens of ways to tell your story. I’d love to hear some of your ideas in the comments below.