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Your Life is Your Story, Issue #074 – Going for the Gold in Your Story
February 23, 2010

"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 22, 2010 Issue #074 – Going for the Gold in Your Story

From Tom Gilbert – Editor and Writer,

In this Issue:

Opening remarks: Ain’t it Grand!
Featured Article: Going for the Gold in Your Story
Resources You Can Use

Opening Remarks: Ain’t it Grand

My wife and I are right now ooh-ing and ah-ing over our first grandchild. Jacob Ray was born nearly three weeks ago and we are babysitting for a few hours. What a sight and what an experience. If you are already a grandparent then you know it is truly grand!

By the way, so few people know much about their grandparents or great-grandparents. Sadly, too few know the life stories of their parents. The purpose of life story capture is to pass along our stories, to remember and learn from our past and share it with our future generations. This month we take a cue from the Winter Olympics in Vancouver to remind you that there is “gold” in your memories. But like Olympic athletes, it takes hard work and dedication to preserve those memories. You can do it, though. Write an autobiography or memoir. Get out the video camera and record a loved one’s recollections. Go for the gold!

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: Going for the Gold in Your Story

By Tom Gilbert - Copyright © February, 2010

Right now the Winter Olympics are taking place in Vancouver, Canada. Elite athletes from around the world are gathered and giving their best in their respective events, vying for medals. To earn the gold, silver or bronze is a life time achievement for them. But the long road to Vancouver begins with years of discipline, training, preparation and dedication.

Capturing your life story is also a process that can take many years. Let’s face it; there is a lot of preparation, reflection and dedication that goes into a memoir, autobiography or family history. But the journey of many years begins with simple steps.

Like other personal historians, I recommend that you make memory lists. 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. To take the Olympic theme further, consider for each of the various phases of your life (such as childhood, early adult life, middle age) the top three events or memories. These can be your gold, silver and bronze medal winners in your story. Take any of these and spend time researching, reflecting and writing about them. When you break your story down into smaller parts it becomes much easier to work on your story. Don’t worry about going in chronological order. You can work on whatever parts of your life story appeal to you at a given time. This is the way to avoid “writer’s block”.

As you work on your story remember that you need discipline to keep going. Like well-trained athletes you need a training schedule. Set aside regular times to work on your story. It doesn’t have to be every day. However, if you commit to set times to write and keep to it you will develop the habit and you will make steady progress. You might even find you enjoy the process.

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

Resources You Can Use

In the spirit of the Winter Olympics I present some “world class” resources with an International flavor.

My Words Are Gonna Linger

From the Association of Personal Historians (an organization made up of members from the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and other countries) there is a great anthology of personal history pieces. My Words Are Gonna Linger contains a variety of of life stories from various personal historians and their clients. You can order the book online by visiting the Association of Personal Historians bookstore.

Dan Curtis – Professional Personal Historian

Dan Curtis is an award winning documentary maker and professional personal historian who lives in Victoria, Canada. He’s understandably proud about the Winter Olympics taking place in Vancouver. Dan has an excellent blog and I frequently discover helpful links and information for life story capture. Take a look.

Annie Payne’s March Memories Marathon

Down under in Australia Annie Payne’s personal history services include helping you discover various ways to write or record your story. This includes participating in an online system for collecting personal histories called the Great Heritage Campaign. Inspired by the Winter Olympics Annie has decided to provide a free family history course by email in March. Find out more about the March Memories Marathon.

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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