Then I meet them a few months later and they say they just can’t seem to get started, a bit like trying to unravel a tangled ball of wool.
Should you start with your birth? Maybe your first day at work would be a good starting place, even if it was working at the nearby chicken shop or pizza palace?
Would you be better writing your own story starting from today and looking back through your life retrospectively? Is there a special place to start?
So for all of you in this situation let me say first of all - I’m glad you asked!
Before you start to write any of your life stories, the best idea is to sort out the information and even research the facts on which you need to base your stories. Here are my top five suggestions:
1. Draw up a checklist, covering the three main era of your life – childhood, adolescence and adulthood, adding in the various points of interest and marking whether you have good knowledge of each story (photos, mementos etc.) or whether you need to ask someone else in the family to clarify details or loan photos to you. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to request my FREE checklist.
2. Gather all of your family photos and sort them into ‘story themes’ – a day at the beach in 1992, my school graduation, our first baby …
3. Do you have any mementos that follow each particular story theme – tickets from several rides you and your sister rode on at the fun fair at the beach, the dried corsage from your prom, a pair of hand-knitted baby booties and a bonnet made by your grandmother-in-law for the baby. These should be either scanned or photographed to add veracity and depth to your life story.
4. Scan and digitise all of the photos and relevant documents or souvenirs and file them in your computer, titled by the rough story name, ready for your written text.
5. Sit down in front of your computer or at your desk if you are hand-writing your story, placing the relevant photos and/or memorabilia nearby to act as a memory prompt.
Using these techniques to organise your memories, photos and memorabilia will certainly help you to make a start. You may decide to write the easy stories first off. Writing steadily through each main era, story by story, is the way some others write down their stories.
Whichever way you choose, using a systematic approach will help you to make a start on writing your own unique life story collection.