Everybody has a story, yet many fascinating and engaging stories remain untold because we just don’t think they are worth the telling. I challenge you to consider how important the information, history, and memories you hold might be to others.
Your personal story can be many things – a legacy you leave to those who joined your journey later in life, or to family and friends, who even though they traveled along your side, want to know you better.
It’s a way to recall what was dear to you, how you grew and evolved to be the person you are now, or a deeply personal account of your longings, your unrealized dreams, and your deepest loves. Telling it now can bring all that to life.
It doesn’t have to be an epic autobiography, in fact, it’s much more engaging as a collection of stories and memories told from the heart, in the simplest of words. Just write freely. When you’re done, you can decide if you want to share it or hold it as your own.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Write What You Know About Your Family
How did your family arrive where they currently live? From where did the previous generation or your ancestors originate? What circumstances or conditions prompted them to immigrate? It’s so important to preserve these stories of personal challenge, obstacles, and journeys.
Interview an Elder and Capture Their Oral History
So many families lose their history as the elders pass on. Someone in your family may just be waiting to be asked. Let them lead the conversation and write down what they offer.
If they seem shy or reluctant, develop a list of questions to prompt their recollection. You’ll both enjoy giving permanence to their oral history.
Write About Your Life
It doesn’t have to be epic. Write about a time in your life when you felt at your best, about a proud moment, or about how someone made you feel important.
Immortalize an era of your past, describe the setting, the political climate, social norms that made it unique. Details give every story better bones on which to stand.
Write About Someone You Miss
Write about a family member or friend who has passed on, a lost love, a favorite school teacher or coach, your best friend who moved away. Write from the heart and honor their memory.
Use Photos and Bring Them to Life by Telling Their Story
Choose a favorite photo and tell the back story. Tell what you know about the personality and unique quality of those in the shot and the experience or circumstances of the moment.
Through your words, your memories and your family’s stories will live on.
Have you written down some stories from your life? Which ones do you think are most significant? Has anyone in your family compiled stories from the elders? What was that experience like? Please share your thoughts and any tips you may have for those who want to begin writing their stories.