7 Tasks for Memoirists and Family Historians to Kick Start the Year
Although these prompts could be done any time, the beginning of the year seems a great time to reconnect with your memoir or family history project.
You may still be in holiday mode, or just trying to motivate yourself to get going again after the Christmas break. None of these involve much writing, but all will get you thinking about your story or that of your family.
1. Organise Your Photos
The current bushfires in Australia have made me think about the (very disorganised) archive of images I have, some of which are in (non-archival) boxes and albums as well as digital images across several computers. How would I save the most important if I had to evacuate at short notice?
Consider the best way to organise them, in a way that is most useful to you? Is that in chronological order? By location? Individual people?
2. Read as a Writer
Read a published memoir, biography or intergenerational story. Read it as a writer: what worked? Which sections had you wanting to turn the page? Which parts did you skim over (and try to analyse why)? What details brought a character or event ‘alive’? Then consider how you might use similar techniques in your own writing.
3. Read about Place
Read a book about, or set in, the place an ancestor once lived.
Create a list of objects that belonged to a family member or ancestor/s. What do you know of the stories of these objects? Note this down, no matter how brief or incomplete.
5. Catch Up
Organise a catch up/phone call/email or other contact with a family member.
6. On Your Mind
Was there a family member that was particularly on your mind over the Christmas period? Perhaps you lost someone recently (or a long time ago) … jot down some of your memories of that person.
7. Begin with You
Your story is part of your family history, so start with you! Create a list of ideas, stories and even philosophy you’d like to pass on about who you are and the life you have led to the next generation.
Over to You
What on this list grabs your attention? What do you have energy for right now? Choose one, and just begin!