Many people think their lives aren’t interesting enough or worthy enough of being committed to paper, even in journals or on scraps of napkins (my preferred writing materials).
Whenever I tell people about the importance of journaling or leaving behind some sort of written record of their lives for their families, they usually say the same thing: “Oh, who’d want to read that?” or “My life isn’t that exciting” or “I don’t have much to say.”
But just like creativity is in our bones, writing down our lives isn’t just worthwhile.
It is within us and it’s a wonderful thing to do to process our world.
It’s even good for us. For instance, journaling provides a variety of health and wellness benefits.
One way to write our stories is through the six-word memoir.
I first discovered six-word memoirs while reading Gretchen Rubin’s interview with Larry Smith. Smith is the editor of SMITH magazine, home to the idea of writing your life in six words.
According to their mission, “SMITH magazine celebrates the joy of passionate, personal storytelling.”
The inspiration for six-word memoirs came courtesy of a legend about Ernest Hemingway. As the story goes, Hemingway was once challenged to tell a story in six words. He came up with this:
“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
Six-word memoirs are a profound and creative way to think about your life, your surroundings, your reality and ultimately yourself.
It’s an interesting, surprising and exciting strategy for self-expression.
There are many ways you can interpret six-word memoirs to make them your own.
You can write about your days in six words in your journal. You can process your emotions — whether that’s grief or giddiness — create a mantra, generate goals or contemplate your secret to happiness.
You can capture an experience or a memory in a single, succinct sentence. Write about how you see the world. Or how you’d love to see it.
(Six-word memoirs are also both exciting and challenging for wordy-warts like me!)
Smith writes a blog where he features a variety of six-word memoirs.
Here are some of my favorites from the blog that may spark your imagination:
“Teaching 18-year-olds poetry; pray for me.”—CuriousThing
“She’s my flashlight in the dark.” —Onion
“I would do it all again.” —Jason Madaus, Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003-2009
“Finally realizing: I AM good enough.” —AddySue
“Laying with you but sleeping alone.”—1111pm
“Dining solo, but not without candlelight.” —Geo
“Everyone has scars. Everyone has stories.” —HearUsNow
My six-word memoir?
“Finding my voice, while learning self-love.”
What is your six-word memoir? How would you capture a slice from your life in six words?