Six Word Memoirs – Discover the joy of revealing yourself in 6 words

Have you ever tried to sum up your life in six words? All your experiences, all your dreams, and everything you’ve learnt packaged into a few tiny words? Welcome to six word memoirs?


What are Six Word Memoirs?

Six Word memoirs are tiny personal autobiographies, written in only six words.

They are a tiny, personal summary of the person you are, inside or out. Writing a six word memoir on your tombstone is optional.

Six Word Memoirs is one of the most common forms of Six Word Wonder. They can be a wonderful method of expression and creativity in a micro-fiction.

How to write Six Word Memoirs.

There is no limit to what you can write as six word memoir, after all this is your own, personal story, and the only person who knows whether it is true or not easier. So, you could just go ahead, grab a pen, and scawl out six words.

Some people though will benefit from asking searching questions about themselves before they start to write. The purpose of the searching questions are to reflect on who you are, what you’ve done in the past, and where are you hoped to go in the future. The answers to the searching questions may provide you with the nuggets of information that will your feed your six word memoirs.

What searching questions should I ask myself to help write Six Word Memoirs?

  • What are you famous for amongst your friends and family?
  • What do you dream of achieving in your life?

  • What has been  the best moment of your life so far?

  • What would you like to be remembered for?

  • What element of your personality do you most enjoy?

From the springboard, you can ask yourself the questions about your life. Try to scratch below the surface. It may feel uncomfortable because most people have never put their own selves on paper before.

Some type of people will even find themselves wanting to journal on a regular basis about this inner looking exploration

How to use the answers to your searching questions to write Six Word Memoirs

Now, you have some thoughts on who you are. You can take these ideas and try to distil them into a few words. This doesn’t have to be six words at first, that can be found through revision and editing.

This distillation process might lead you to a six word story, six word poetry, six word advice, or even a six word joke. Or even a combination of all of these. The important element is that you have caught an essence of who you are.

Examples of Six Word Memoirs using the searching questions technique.

Here is an example of how one person, might write their search questions, and then draw out some six word memoirs from the information they’ve come up with.

Let’s look at Jane Smith. Below, I’ve set out Jane’s answers to her five searching questions.

NameJane Smith
What are you famous for amongst your friends and family?Hates having haircuts
What do you dream of achieving in your life?Becoming president
What has been the best moment of your life so far?Visiting Disneyland
What would you like to be remembered for?Ending world hunger
What element of your personality do you most enjoy?Sense of humour

Looking at these questions, what sort of six word memoirs might involve?

Jane dreams of being a president, and hates having her haircut, so how about…

First act as President? Ban scissors!

If you don’t know Jane, he might read this six word memoir and puzzled over its meaning. But for Jane, that meaning is 100% clear – no more visits to the hairdresser. The story is really fun because it suggests that Jane would put all the effort in to become president just to avoid her monthly stresses.

Now I noticed that Jane dreams of ending world hunger, so how about this for a six word memoir?

 It’s a small world – FEED IT

Here, Jane has decided to express her passion for the things she is passionate for. The shouting Capitals really emphasise her frustration about what’s happening to the world in only six words.

Last, Jane loves her sense of humour. This next season word memoir there needs a bit of advice in a perpetual loop about a way to live your life the way Jane lives it.

…laugh until you cry until you…

As you can see, having just a few pieces of information about yourself, can be a springboard for generating all different kinds of six word memoirs. There really is no limit and no wrong answer. The important thing is to pick up a pen and give it a go.

What is the origin of the six word memoirs?

Although, six word memoirs have been being written for hundreds of years, it was only in the last two decades, but the form became usually popular. Social media sites like Twitter and Reddit fuelled his popularity thanks to their short form style, and easy viralability.

The person who probably takes most credit for popularising six word memoirs is Larry King. Alongside Rachel Fershleiser and Tim Barko at the Smith magazine, they defined the six word memoir They asked readers to describe their life story using only six words. Multiple books, popular Twitter feed, and even a board game later, the six word memoir has proved to be a really popular form, from kids and teenagers through to adults.

They run an excellent website where you can see all examples of six word memoirs.

So you’ve written your Six Word Memoirs, now what?

Once you have written some six word memoirs, first go back through them and edit to make sure they are as tight as possible and use every word available to the best of its ability.

Ben, it’s a great idea to share these stories with your trusted friends and family. Allow them to enjoy the stories but also to comment on possible improvements. They might also highlight aspects of your personality that you had not considered.

Lastly, why not enter them in the six word wonder contest? This contest is open to everyone to write a six word story, poem, memoir, a joke. It’s free and you could win $100 and get published.

Six Word Memoir
Six Word Memoir

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