At 17, Olympic gymnast and “Dancing With the Stars??? champ Shawn Johnson announced that she’s considering writing a sequel to her 2008 photo memoir. If you haven’t had quite the blue-ribbon-packed life that Shawn has, you probably aren’t thinking about publishing your life story once, much less twice, while still in your teens. But you might not want to wait until your golden years, either.
For some people, a memoir is the natural extension of the baby book they’ve been keeping after the birth of their children. They’ve gotten accustomed to documenting the little events that occur, the triumphs and the disappointments, and when baby outgrows the baby book they simply either continue to keep a record for the child or transfer the energy to their own journaling. If not a birth, perhaps a graduation, new career, marriage, illness, death of a loved one, move to a new city or major birthday is what triggers the desire to get the facts down or express your impressions and emotions.
I think starting early is a great idea. First of all, the memory is so unreliable! Time robs us of the details that bring texture to daily life, and sometimes we even forget the who/what/where/when essentials. Second, starting early keeps us from being overwhelmed when faced with an entire lifetime to recapture. And the process of memoir writing is so rewarding that once they get going, a lot of people wish they’d given themselves the gift of reflection sooner. No time like the present!