During the coming year we here at Voices and Images will focus on different aspects of getting your personal history written and printed. I understand that this is a big undertaking, but I know that nothing you can do or leave will have more value for your descendants.
Organize Your Story Into Sections
When I help people to write and prepare their life story/history I organize their story into nine separate sections:
- Family History — which includes memories of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings
- Childhood and early school years (elementary) — this section will focus your where you grew up, your childhood home, friends, family life, holidays (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, etc.), elementary school
- Teenage Years and High School — discuss your social life in high school (or lack thereof), sports, dating, girl/boyfriends, jobs, cars, graduation
- College/Military/Church service/First job — this section is for what you did right out of high school. Up to this point in our lives everything was relatively structured. Now, after high school graduation whatever we did was pretty much up to us! Some go to college, some into the military (depending on your age, military might have been mandatory—drafted), some might have opted for a Church service mission, and many went directly to work — your first job.
- Courtship and Marriage — how did you meet your spouse? What were the circumstances surrounding your engagement? Be sure to tell stories about your courtship. Meeting your in-laws is always an interesting time and adjustment. Did you go on a honeymoon? Where to? Adjustments to married life
- Children — talk about the birth of each child; questions are different for fathers and mothers. Challenges as new parents — describe each child, who was most like you and most like your spouse. Describe how your parenting skills changed with the birth of each child. Talk about the challenges faced as your children became teenagers. Was it easier to be a teenager for your generation or for your children’s?
- Career — what was your career choice? Describe why you choose that particular line of work. Did you change what you did for work? Does your spouse work or stay home with the children?
- Children growing up, their marriage and grandchildren — talk about each child, who they married and their career choices. Talk about your grandchildren
- Later Years/Retirement — Now that you are retired what are you doing? Are you able do everything you dreamed of
Each month we will focus on one of these nine topics. I will help you write the story you want to tell. It might seem like a big deal; some of you have not written anything longer than a letter.
In addition to helping with these nine topics, each month I will also help with techniques to write engaging narrative. I understand that just getting your history written is the primary task, but while you’re at it, your story should be fun to read! Each week as we look at what to write about, I will also provide you with ways to make it interesting! After all a good book is one that you want to read, starting with the first sentence.
More Than Just Writing Involved in Producing Your Story
In addition to the above nine topics, Voices and Images will also help you with:
- Digitizing your photos and slides
- Interviewing yourself and other family members
- Converting old audio cassette tapes. You will be amazed at what you will find on them.
- Computer software that can help you with preparing your story
- “To transcribe or not to Transcribe,” how you can get any audio files converted into an MS word or other word processing file, then you can edit into your own narrative history.
- Using historical timelines to help organize your history. Remember your life did not happen in a vacuum! Wrap your individual events into historical contexts
- What about video? How to use video in a professional way
Together we can make 2018 the year your history or that of your parents/grandparents gets written. Throughout the year Voices and Images will hold a series of 3-day workshops across the country to help you immerse yourself into writing your own history. Special offers will be available as an incentive to help you find the value in these events.