As you write your life story, you will benefit from the experience in many ways. Let these benefits also motivate you to write.
1) You will develop a record of your personal and family stories. This record will be a permanent one to hand down as a legacy to succeeding generations of your family. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have fulfilled your responsibility of preserving your family’s past. Your children and grandchildren will be very grateful for this written legacy.
2) You will enjoy the sense of celebration that comes from sharing a “tale well told.” Merely telling stories brings many people great satisfaction. Even if you have never felt it before, you will surely experience pleasure in celebrating your life experiences through storytelling.
3) You will gain insights into yourself and your family. As you view parts of your life in relation to other parts (and also begin to view it as a whole), you will undoubtedly perceive patterns and choices that facilitated or restricted growth for you or for other members of your family. This may challenge how you have previously understood your life or your family. Rather than continue to insist that things are “just the way they are,” you may now appreciate the help you have received or see past difficulties not as fate but as symptoms of unresolved personal or family dynamics.
4) You may have insights about your mate’s family. Tensions that affect you and your children may originate from patterns in your spouse’s family. Lifewriting can be the means for you to articulate and explore–the first steps in facilitating the resolution of these tensions. Revealing and discussing the past with trust and respect can be healing.
5) Lifewriting often promotes family unity by initiating exchange. The discussions you will have with your children about your writing will also be a primary means of transmitting your stories. Many workshop participants have reported that their commitment to writing has created occasions for them to sit and speak with their children or their parents in a way they had not done in a long time.
6) Lifewriting often leads to personal growth because writers feel empowered by the insights they derive from writing their stories. Some lifewriters have even said that the experience has liberated them. The insights you derive from writing will not leave you untouched.
Good luck writing your memoir!