The important thing to keep in mind is that you will never get your memoir written unless you start! Start anywhere
I find it easiest when teaching writing classes to begin with lists, progress to sentences then paragraphs, and finally
put it all together. I suggest that you do the same. Make list after list after
list – this way you will never have a reason to cry Writer’s Block because your list of writing ideas is right
will begin with the…TIMELINE
The backbone of your lifestories is your Timeline. This is an extended chart of the relationships and events that have
shaped your life. These are the people and events that have made you the person you are today.
EVENTS IN YOUR LIFE: Here are a few to get you started: • an illness or a death
in the family • the arrival of a sibling • the ethnic group you grew up in • the religious group you grew
up in • a certain relationship with a peer • a failure or success at school • a decision you made to do
or not do something • an external event such as a fire, flood, tornado, auto accident • marriage • children
• career choices • spiritual experiences • divorce
is but a few of the major events that turn a person’s life to one direction or the other. The list you make may be many
pages long or relatively short. This depends on the individual. You may add to this list as you remember things. Include everything
you can think of that had any impact on your life.
ASSIGNMENT: Make a timeline of your life.
adult...middle age...senior years
pivotal points on the timeline as reference points in your writing.
your BEFORE/AFTER moment. What is the point – that dividing line – when something so pivotal happened that it
changed you forever? You may have more than one of them.
It is easier to begin than you think! Start with one story at a time.
Make a schedule to
write at least one page every day and stick to it!
Remember to include
your feelings about the event! Many men forget to do this!
If you only write
one page per day, you will have 365 pages in one year!
Use vivid detail and,
for now, ignore spelling and grammar.
If you worry about
getting every sentence perfect, you will never finish your writing! You can check facts later.
if you forgot someone’s name or a particular date - just get the story written!!! You can go back later!
If you don’t
feel up to the task of writing your own memoirs, you can hire a professional to do it for you. A personal historian will come
to your home and interview you on several occasions, using a tape recorder. They have specific questions to spark your memory.
Then he/she will prepare the written manuscript for you, using your own words!
also called memorists, charge anywhere from $100 to $20,000, depending on how extensive your memoirs are. Whichever way you
decide to go, be sure to get started right away!
Check out The Association
of Personal Historians for a memorist near you. www.personalhistorians.org
Remember, "...books do not age as you and I do. They will speak still when we are gone, to generations we will
never see." The Hiding Place.
Karen Silvestri is a freelance writer and teacher residing in Florida. If you would like more information about
writing your lifetales or attending a workshop, you may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org