Six-Word Memoirs Meetup on OSU Campus—And How to Hold Your Own

Some of the workshop attendees listening to Six-Word Memoir founder Larry Smith discuss some hints for crafting an effective Six.

OSU workshop attendees discovering Six-Word Memoirs

Meetups are a fun, interactive way to introduce concepts and connect people within communities. At the end of March, with the help of student organizations The Grove (Ohio State’s creative writing journal), and EUGO (OSU’s English Undergraduate Organization), a group of Buckeyes met on The Ohio State University campus to share their stories and experiment with the Six-Word Memoir form.

For the uninitiated, our backstory: since the 2006 debut of Six-Word Memoirs, a storytelling project of SMITH Magazine, our community has shared more than one million memoirs on SixWordMemoirs.com and countless more through our live events and on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr pages. Six Words is also a bestselling book series (seven books and counting!) and phenomenon found in classrooms and boardrooms around the world.

Many of the workshop attendees were new to the form, but by evening’s end, each writer had a sheet filled with drafts, ideas and numerous Six-Word Memoirs. The group responded to a range of prompts, from “What I did during Spring Break” to “Six Words on My Secrets.” These photos show a selection of their varied and unique Sixes!

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“Quit lolligagging and drive the car.”
—Sydney Watsek

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“Walk in. Walk out. Lesson learned.”
—Kelsy Hernandez

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“Scientist’s remorse: missing what makes humanity”
—Haley Cowans

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“Aluminum foil oven: Sylvia Plath Halloween”
—Elizabeth Lantz

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“Counting to-do’s like sheep before sleep”
—Rebecca Epperson

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“Scarlet-and-gray wedding? Oh yes, they did.”
—Rachel Layfield

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“Catheters and Dementia, a messy combo.”
—Jacob Nickel

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“Never at a loss for words.”
—Larry Smith, founder of the Six-Word Memoir Project

For more about the evolution of Six-Word Memoirs, listen to this PopTech talk from Larry Smith, the founder of SMITH Magazine and Six-Word Memoirs:  Ready to start crafting your own Six-Word Memoirs? This video highlights six easy tips to putting together a terrific story in six words: Teens have a way with words, too! We’ve created a special Teens section on our site and this video highlights how one class was inspired by Six-Word Memoirs:


Tell me more! Interested in creating your own Six-Word Memoir meetup or event? Here are six simple tips for throwing your own Six-Word Memoir Meetup:

1. Gather your group
This can be your roommates, your classroom, or your entire workplace! Groups of any size can craft and share their Sixes. Teachers may want to check out our special Six in Schools site and accompanying workbook.

2. Prepare some prompts
If you’re organizing the event, come prepared with some pre-determined prompts for the participants. You can hand out the prompts or simply give them topics—whatever you think will get your group to write some killer sixes!

3. Pass out paper
Sometimes the old-school pen and paper method works best for rewriting and restructuring the Six-Word Memoirs. It also allows everyone look back on their journey to find the best six words.

4. Cultivate conversation
This shouldn’t be a quiet event! Whether collectively or in small groups, have people share the sixes and chat about each other’s memoirs.

5. Invite backstories
While incredible stories can be told in just six words, a memoir can be elevated when paired with the story behind the six. Invite people to share their backstories, ideally with time limits in mind: backstories are a simple way to continue the conversation and encourage personal expression.

6.  Share your Sixes with us and the world
It’s easy to share your sixes on social media. Snap a picture and post your #SixWordSelfie to Instagram—don’t forget to tag @sixwordselfie. And mention @SixWords when you tweet your sixes on Twitter—use the hashtag #SixWords to spread the word.


Have fun and explore the possibilities—just keep it to six words! Have you put together your own Six-Word Memoir workshop? Let us know how it went by sharing your tips in the comments and we may feature you on our blog.

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