"Shall I begin with the day I was born?"
"I just get overwhelmed when I try to think about writing about my life. I'm 70 years old. That will take a long time."
These are the questions I often hear from mature adults who want to leave a record of their lives for their families. In my classes we write stories about events that happened in our lives, in our families. We don't begin with the day we were born. We make a timeline of our lives and use file folders to organize our stories of important memories. One day those stories will form the memoir we want to leave behind.
Even Helen Keller said, in her autobiography, she would only include parts of her life that would be of interest. With prompts we discover memories we want to share with our children and generations to come. Some of the writing may never see the light of day, but some will form the backbone of a family history or a personal history that satisfies the writer and will be treasured by children of tomorrow.