Story and Why
Tom Gilbert – © February, 2008
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.
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
relating your amazing adventures? Perhaps the subject of the story has
great affliction. You may have gone through a powerful, life-changing
experience. Be specific about what part of your story you are sharing
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).
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
a Memory List.
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. See the Power of Lists for more on this idea.
the Time and Money.
You can preserve your story yourself. However, you should give
consideration to outside help. Whether you hire a
professional, use a third party resource, or personally do it all
you need to be realistic about the amount of time it will take and the
financial investment. It will
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 the experience and knowledge needed
for life story capture. Plus, they 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.
few of the necessary steps before you begin a life story project.
just given you an overview so you will think more about it and
appreciate better some of what is required to tell your story.
next step is up to you. Visit Getting
Started on my Your Life is Your
Story website to get additional information.
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