Life Writing no. 1 – Photographs as Prompts

Do you have stories you want to tell? Studies have shown that life writing can help to lessen symptoms of stress and depression. In our new blog series, look for exercises and prompts to help facilitate your own life writing.

Photographs make prompt powerful memories. 

Photographs document the most important moments of our lives. We snap a picture when our friends blow out the candles, our nieces walk down and the aisle, or when our kids receive their high school diploma.


As they document our rites of passage, photographs evoke strong emotions that make them useful prompts for a life writing practice.

13853629823_7f64b032ea_zWhen looking at your photographs and family albums, consider the following questions to inspire your life writing:

  1. How do you feel when you see the photograph? Sad, happy, nostalgic?
  2. Who were the people in the photograph and what were they like at this age?
  3. Is there a story that goes along with this photograph?
  4. Was the time of taking the photograph a pivotal time in history?
  5. What details can you notice? Do you have anything to say about the fashion, setting, or era of the photograph?

Once you feel the spark, put your pen to paper and write.  Keep your hand moving across the page so that you don’t give yourself the time to edit or judge the quality of your ideas. The point of the exercise is to express the feelings associated with your life experience as the memories rise to the surface with the photograph prompt.

Happy writing!



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