What to expect when writing your life story

Writing your memoir is an act of love and legacy.

Your story is a taonga for future generations, but writing is no easy feat. It requires time and discipline. Writing your own story also takes courage, as you may need to access painful memories and deeply personal stories.

Here, we look at two potential challenges in this process: procrastination and mixed emotions.


Procrastination is a normal part of the process. We know this first-hand – the struggle is real!

You’ve decided to take the leap and write your memoir and all of a sudden everything else looks appealing. There’s a load of washing to put on. The cupboards need sorting. The dog needs a wash…

Where you can, try and book time into your week that’s dedicated solely to writing. Try and keep this commitment to yourself and make it a regular part of your routine – at least until it feels more normal. Find a place free from distraction. You might want to find a place away from home: a local café or a quiet spot at your library. Try and associate writing with a positive feeling to make it something you look forward to rather than put off. Easier said than done, we know, but you can do it!

Mixed emotions

It’s natural that when you take the time to reflect on your past or the past of your loved ones that some strong emotions will surface. Remind yourself that this is normal and it’s okay. If things really do get too hard, don’t feel like you have to push through it. Be kind to yourself, look after yourself, and let your friends and whānau know what you’re doing so that they can be there to support you.

Anger, grief, resentment, and regret are all normal feelings that can bubble up when you look at your past. Even if overall your life has been a happy one, we all have moments we’d rather forget or pretend never happened. Don’t feel like you have to share every part of your story in order for it to be meaningful. Be gentle with your memories and protect your well-being. And if things get too much, please talk to someone you trust.

Photo by Rafael Leão on Unsplash