Minute Memoirs are small. Think fewer than 150 words. Don't take a lot of time stressing out over what to write. Just write and enjoy the moment. You won't share what you've written this month. This writing is just for your. Your audience is an older, wiser, non-judgmental version of you, so write without worrying about grammar, word choice, or spelling. Just Write!
Here's what to do:
1. Start with a moment. Don't get too caught up in this part. Too often, people focus on the big moments (first day of school, first kiss, moving, vacation, break up, wedding day, job loss, birth of a baby, etc.) and forget that the normal, everyday moments make up our lives just as much as the big ones. In his speech "The American Scholar," Ralph Waldo Emerson says, "...things near are not less beautiful and wondrous than things remote." I take that to mean appreciate every moment, not just the once-in-a-lifetime, big fancy, or traumatic moments. Those moments are important, for sure, but to start in our first module, I'm going to assign you a time of day to write about so you don't stress over what to write. So for this module, plan on writing about everyday-ordinary-even-downright-boring moments.
Now, press the pause button. Summarize the moment in a sentence.
You can't write everything and still call it a minute memoir. Pick only one instant and push the pause button. Write what that moment is. Here's the great part: you don't have to worry about backstory or background information. These Minute Memoirs are for you. If someone else reads them, they'll get the gist. You are only responsible for this one moment. Don't worry that the moment isn't "special" enough. It's a moment of your day. Choose to honor it. It might be as simple as this:
I scoop the puppy up before she can run from me, my hands on her belly.
I'm serious. Don't overthink this part.
2. Write the sensory details. This part is a great writing exercise and a great stress-reliever. It teaches us to slow down and observe the sights, sounds, and smells of the moment. It asks you to observe the senses of touch and taste. After you've written a few Minute Memoirs, I hope you'll never see things the same way again. I hope you'll always be getting outside yourself to observe. I hope you'll notice the tiny details. I hope you'll take time to breathe.
Try to use at least 3 of the five senses when you write. Notice the details and describe them. Here's the next part of the example:
I’m always surprised at how light she is. A tiny body hides under that great puff of black fur. “Good potty. Let’s go inside now,” I tell her. Despite being held in my hand, the puppy's legs continue moving, like a wind-up toy car that will energetically propel the moment it makes contact with the floor. I position my fingers so her head and front legs rest securely between my fingers. Her fur smells faintly of sweaty puppy, but mostly of her owner's sweet passion fruit and banana flower perfume. I feel her heart race against my palm.
Train yourself to remember the senses and to notice them: sight, sound, smell, touch, taste.
3. Reflect. Here's where you add some meaning to the moment, where you tell yourself what this means. Don't overthink this part, either. For this month's classes, we'll be focusing on mindfulness and appreciating the moment, so don't overthink the moment. Just accept that with it's positives and negatives, it IS. Later, we'll talk about how the reflection part can help reinforce a mantra, help restructure your thoughts, help ground yourself, or edit self-talk. For now, though, just give a quick assessment of the moment. Our example ends with:
Despite having to be constantly on guard to avoid accidents, I do love puppies.
Our In our upcoming class, I'll go through this process step-by-step, giving tips for improving writing, and showing applications for real-life skills.