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Your Life is Your Story, Issue #072 – Suggested Books on Writing About Your Life
December 20, 2009

"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

December 20, 2009 Issue #072 – Suggested Books on Writing About Your Life

From Tom Gilbert – Editor and Writer,

In this Issue:

Opening remarks: Cheering on the Holiday Spirit
Featured Article: Books to Help You Write Your Life Story
Resources You Can Use

Opening Remarks: Cheering on the Holiday Spirit

I hope this monthly issue of the Your Life Is Your Story finds you all well. We are in the midst of the Holiday Season. Are you in the spirit? It is easy to get caught up in anxiety or frustrations when people are rushing about. But the real spirit of this time of year is something to be treasured. Ideally we carry it with us all-year long.

I do find that many people are friendlier and more compassionate during the holidays. That’s a great thing. Consider each interaction, whether with friends, family or strangers. Be a cheerleader for the true holiday spirit. I’m wishing you all the very best season’s greetings!

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: Books to Help You Write Your Life Story

By Tom Gilbert - Copyright © December, 2009

It can be a challenge to write your life story. However, many people desire to do it. For those of you who are undertaking this challenge and doing the writing yourself I want to encourage and commend you. Furthermore, I want you to know that many of the hurdles and difficulties you encounter are not unique. All of us who put pen to paper (or fingers to the computer keypad!) sometimes get sidetracked, blocked or frustrated. Fortunately there are many good books about memoir, autobiography and life story writing that can provide instruction and direction. Writers who can inspire other writers can be a real assistance.

I want to suggest a few of these books. It is by no means a complete list, but I’ve found them to be very helpful and maybe you will too.

Inventing the Truth – The Art and Craft of Memoir is edited by William Zinsser and includes a short memoir by him. Zinsser has included some fine selections by a few celebrated authors, including Annie Dillard, Russell Baker and Lewis Thomas. The book has gone through some updated revisions and the latest is available here

Shimmering Images – A Handy Little Guide to Writing Memoir is a jewel of a short book by Lisa Dale Norton. She writes in a matter-of-fact and breezy style that draws you in. And she has some great tips to help you along (the use of memory maps, honesty and reflection among them). Norton has taught writing for a long time and she brings grace and humor to the subject. It’s fun to read.

Write From the Inside by Lissa Ann Forbes is a collection of essays and writing she produced over a couple of years for her website newsletter subscribers. She touches on a number of subjects with pathos and pointed commentary and she offers up helpful tidbits she’s learned along the way.

The Legacy Guide by Carol Franco and Kent Lineback is a practical and thorough guide to life story writing. The authors present a two-step process. First they have you break your life down into natural stages, such as childhood, adolescence, middle adulthood and elder. Then they lead you through each stage to identify key facts that lead you to memories and what mattered most at these times in our lives.

Turning Memories Into Memoirs by Denis Ledoux is another in-depth guide to life story writing. Great insight into the process and lots of explanations on finding your voice, checking facts, deciding on your point-of-view and includes writing exercises and clear explanations of literary techniques. Denis has taught workshops for years and his book is highly instructive and entertaining.

My Words Are Gonna Linger is an anthology of personal history writing excerpts by a number of excellent writers, all members of the Association of Personal Historians (APH). This book is fascinating reading and gives you an appreciation of the various flavors of life story writing. Inspirational.

I also have a book that I’ve written. It is not a guide to writing; instead it is a book I wrote about a young poet in Mississippi who’s journey of faith and creativity has been fascinating to chronicle. Believer Poet: The Mission and Early Life of Ahrend R. Walters is available online, and you can also find out more at my website.

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

Resources You Can Use

Journal Software

The Journal Software is so much more than just “diary software”. Great tools, templates, writing prompts and organized with so many wonderful features, all for less than $40! Your purchase includes free updates.

I use the Journal software and highly recommend it. With a new year approaching now is a great time to make the commitment to a journal and this fantastic tool will help preserve your thoughts, experiences and even boost your productivity. Find out more here.

Priceless Legacy Personal Biography Special

Priceless Legacy Company offers affordable, yet extremely high quality and beautiful life story packages. Now they are offering the Personal Biography - get a lifestory book for under $300! It includes a one-hour interview, pictures and an attractive hard-bound book.

Get the details here and be sure to contact me with any questions.

MemoryGrabber 4.0

MemoryGrabber is a great downloadable e-book resource to help you put together your life story. Michael Boyter of Family History Products put this valuable resource together and he has updated and revised it to make it even better.

It’s very affordable (just $14.95). If you are unsure how to get started on your memoir, autobiography, or life story the MemoryGrabber 4.0 will inspire you and lead you through the practical process of your life history. Find out more 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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