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Your Life is Your Story, Issue #050 – Preparing Your Story
February 24, 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

February 24, 2008
Issue #050 – Preparing Your Story

From Tom Gilbert – Editor and Writer,

In this Issue:

Opening remarks: It’s Gold
Featured Article: Preparing Your Story
Resources You Can Use: Your Life Changing Event, MemoryPress, The Highlight Site

Opening Remarks: It’s Gold

Hello again, friends. This, the February edition of the Your Life is Your Story newsletter, is gold. I don’t say that to brag (ok, maybe a little). What I mean is that this is the 50th issue – a golden anniversary! That is one issue a month for over 4 years now. For those readers who’ve been with me for a while, thank you. And for those of you who are new, welcome, and thanks for subscribing. I hope that this e-zine gives you some encouragement, thoughtful ideas, and good resources for you to “tell your story”.

I’ve been a member of an organization that supports and promotes preserving life stories for nearly as long as I’ve been publishing this newsletter. The Association of Personal Historians (APH) is a wonderful non-profit organization that now numbers over 600 members and it continues to grow. I just renewed my annual dues and I consider it a very good investment. It helps me discover new and better ways and resources to help you preserve personal history, whether that story is your own or the story of your family, friends or organization.

While on the theme of a 50th anniversary I also want to congratulate Virginia and Severino Trujillo on their Golden Anniversary last month. They are two wonderful people that I am honored to know and love, and not just because they are my in-laws! I’m blessed to be married to my wife, Annette, and it is a bonus to have such a great mother-in-law and father-in-law.

Thank you for the opportunity to present another ezine issue to you. Feel free to email me with questions and comments. I welcome the feedback.

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: Preparing Your Story

By Tom Gilbert - Copyright February, 2008

When you make a decision to preserve a story or personal history you begin a journey. Like all journeys there is some necessary preparation. Let me offer a few basic life story preparation steps.

Decide What Story and Why.
Everyone is on a life journey and each journey is full of meaning. Telling your life story, or the story of a friend or family member, will have value, but you should spend some time pondering the purpose. Is it to pass on family values? Or are you more concerned about telling about amazing adventures? Perhaps the subject of the story has overcome great affliction. You may have gone through a powerful, life-changing experience. Be specific about what story and why you want to tell it.

How Will You Tell the Story?
Is the story going to be written? Will it be a full-length book, or something shorter? Perhaps you desire to write an ethical will containing your final thoughts and values. This can be done as a letter or smaller bound document. A written format is one very popular way to tell your story, but other options include an audio version (oral history), a visual biography (in either still photographs or video), or you could preserve it online (family history, journaling, blogging, memorial and other types of website preservation).

Gather Materials.
For any story, regardless of your format, there are materials helpful to telling your story. Some of these include pictures, letters, journals, and pertinent publications (especially if that media features the subject of the story, such as a newspaper or magazine article, or even video documentation, like a previous interview, wedding recording and the sort).

Create a Memory List.
Write out a list of the significant events and memories you want included. Use short sentences or phrases. Write down as many of these as you can, but from your list you will focus on the 8-10 most important ones to form the basis of your personal history project.

Budget the Time and Money.
You may or may not do this project yourself. Whether you hire a professional, use a third party resource, or do all the work yourself you need to be realistic about the amount of time it will take and the financial investment. It will require both.

Your Method
This step actually goes hand in hand with the previous one because it is dependent in part on who is doing the bulk of the work. There are many advantages to hiring professional help. Personal historians can be more objective as they are not emotionally attached to your story the way you are. Professionals also have access to many of the resources you need and are dedicated to getting the project done because it is their job and vocation. Many people are well intentioned in preserving their life story, but the responsibilities of daily living can get in the way of completing your life story project. Also, how you will tell your story (one of the previous preparatory steps) helps you to focus on the resources you will need. Again, third party professionals can be very helpful. For instance, if you want a video biography it can be much easier to hire someone who does this for a living, has the equipment, and is experienced in interviewing, recording and editing. But if you decide to do the work consider taking a workshop or reading a helpful book or guide.

These are a few of the necessary steps before you begin a life story project. I’ve just given you an overview so you will think more about it and appreciate better what some of what is required to tell your story. The next step is up to you. Visit Getting Started on my Your Life is Your Story website to get additional information.

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

Resources You Can Use

Your Life Changing Event

Chances are you’ve had at least one life changing experience with an impact so great it has altered how you live and how you view your life.

Your Life Changing Experience is worth writing about. Whether it was your marriage, recovering from a life threatening illness, the birth of a child, an incredible adventure, life altering career change or spiritual awakening, this seminal event in your life holds the key to unlock your life lessons and values. You could write about this in a few pages or as the basis of a book. Read the article here.


MemoryPress Books are a great way to share your life story. You can create beautiful books that commemorate a wedding, anniversary, graduation, career, your life story, 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.

The Highlight Site

The Your Life is Your Story website frequently features other personal history resources and providers that you can investigate on the web. Past highlights are preserved as well. I encourage you to check out our current spotlighted service, Stellar Media here.

If you want to recommend a site, or you have a life history service or resource that you are interested in being highlighted you can contact me to discuss.

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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