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Your Life is Your Story, Issue #054 – Short Timer
June 28, 2008

"Your past is your story up to now. The future is the story yet to come. The present is where you live with that experience, your hopes and your dreams."

Your Life is Your Story Newsletter

June 28, 2008 Issue #054 – Short Timer

From Tom Gilbert – Editor and Writer,

In this Issue:

Opening remarks: Bucket List
Featured Article: Short Timer
Resources You Can Use: Image Permanence Institute, Personal Legacy Advisors, MemoryPress

Opening Remarks: Bucket List

I watched the movie, The Bucket List last night. Two men, complete strangers to each other, share a hospital room and they both have terminal cancer. They strike up a friendship and embark on a globetrotting adventure as they share some of the final months of their lives together. Their goal was to complete their “bucket list” – that list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket”.

Jack Nicholson plays the billionaire, a fast living, oft-married, self-made man who also happens to be the major patron of the hospital they are both in. Morgan Freeman is in the role of a blue collar mechanic who’s worked hard all his life and together with his wife of many years raised three brilliant and accomplished children, at much personal sacrifice. It’s an odd couple.

This movie is a different take on the “buddy” movie and it has some lessons for all of us. What are we doing with the gift of our amazing lives? What sort of footprint, our legacy, will we leave?

Just a few days prior to watching this film I had a nice chat with Robb Lucy. He’s writing a book that explores the idea of legacy and the importance of thinking about it and living it right now. Your legacy is not simply the inheritance you pass on or the “goodbye talk”. We all should be living lives that make a difference. What that means varies for each of us, but as Robb likes to say, it should be a legacy that makes you smile. Check out his blog, Your Legacy Smile.

Thank you to all who continue to read this monthly newsletter and for those of you who have recently subscribed.

You are receiving this e-zine because you signed up for it or someone who is subscribed passed it along to you. If a friend DID forward this to you consider subscribing by visiting our signup page . Also, let me know what you’d like to see more of in this newsletter – simply reply to this email e-zine.

While the main focus of this newsletter is to share thoughts, ideas, and insights on life story writing you should know that I offer various services and also mention some products and services that can be helpful. You are under no obligation to purchase anything, but if any of these products or services are helpful and you decide to utilize them then I am most grateful.

Thanks for reading. – Tom

Featured Article: Short Timer

Copyright By Tom Gilbert – June, 2008

In the United States June is the month when we have the longest days. This means more daylight than night. And with all that daylight it is not unusual for us to be more active, being outdoors more in the evenings or earlier in the morning. However, after the summer solstice (about June 21 each year) the days actually begin to get shorter. They continue that way until about December 21 and the winter solstice when we have the shortest period of daylight in a 24 hour period.

All of this simply gives me a reason to make a point. With the longer days of the summer you could have more time and energy to pursue some life story work. Yet the biggest challenge most people face is getting started, especially when you think of one big massive full life story book.

The solution is to be a “short timer”. The longest journey begins with the first step. You can’t eat an elephant in one bite. And your life story writing won’t be accomplished in just a few sessions. I encourage you to approach your story in short segments.

To be a successful life story “short timer” you should have a memory list. This is an ongoing list of various events, circumstances and experiences that you record and keep in one place, like a three-ring binder. Each memory is a short phrase. Graduated high school. Entered the military. Battled cancer. Met best friend. Climbed Mount Everest. They can be really significant or just memorable, but each one is a thread in the tapestry of your story.

From your memory list give yourself some short assignments. Take one and write about it for twenty minutes. Force yourself to keep to that short time period. You may be surprised at how much you get accomplished. Do these exercises over and over again and you will begin to assemble some nice vignettes for your story. Print them out and keep them in your binder with your memory list.

Another “short timer” approach is to decide that you are going to write a book about one significant event in your life or about a shorter period, such as your time in college, a travel adventure, military service or missionary experience. Your book doesn’t have to be your entire life. Focusing on a particular period can give you more focus and also be more achievable. If you do this well you can do it more than once and eventually piece together these different periods or events into a larger work.

Abigail Thomas, in the July/August 2008 edition of the AARP magazine, encourages people to write about their lives with two-page assignments. Some of her suggestions are writing two pages about a proposal of marriage, something that takes place in the woods, a child comforting an adult or taking your time. It’s all about stimulating your imagination and also…getting started.

A further tip she assigns her students is to write in just three word sentences. No more, no less. It can seem hard at first, but it really focuses you. It’s not about great grammar or description. It is about getting something down on paper. You can always go back and expand on your assignments.

The short timer approach to writing can help you overcome the intimidation of writing your life story. And I think you’ll discover more about yourself in these short pieces, and stay motivated because it is easier to accomplish.

You can read other articles on life-story writing here.

Resources You Can Use

Image Permanence Institute

It’s important to know how to protect and preserve your photographs and images. The Image Permanence Institute is part of the Rochester Institute of Technology and their website is full of helpful and informative information.

Take a look and learn some good information about photo preservation and more.

Personal Legacy Advisors

“What you have learned is as valuable as what you have earned.” That’s a quote on the home page of, a site devoted to helping you with value letters, ethical wills and other legacy issues. Susan Turnbull and her associates have some important information to consider. I think it’s a very informative site.


Have you checked out MemoryPress Books? This is a really great way to get started on your life story. And you can use the system for any number of different types of shorter projects. I frequently suggest commemorating a wedding, anniversary, graduation, career, a life changing event, funeral book or for any worthwhile reason.

You can start your MemoryPress Book process right away and for just $50. When you purchase your $50 publishing credit, you use MemoryPress FREE. It’s an incredible and user-friendly online way to build your story into a book. Upload pictures, invite others to contribute writing, select a cover and revise, edit and proof your book and then a turnkey process binds and prints it. Your entire $50 will go straight to publishing when you are finished with your memory book!

You can do the whole thing yourself with great customer support and instructions. If you find you need more help, like a writer or editor, I am available for hire to assist you and get that long awaited story to print. You can find out more at here.

Closing Information

That’s it for this month’s issue. Thanks for reading. Be sure to visit our blog regularly, and here’s to telling your story. Do give it some serious consideration because I just know you’ve got a great story to tell! Be sure to see the Get Started section.

Any comments, ideas or feedback is greatly appreciated. Just reply to this ‘zine and tell me what you think!

Until next time, – keep your story alive!

Tom Gilbert

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