Have you been putting off writing that family history? Is it a task you keep leaving on your “I’ll get to it someday” list?
Here are three tips to make 2016 the year you FINALLY stop procrastinating and start writing.
|Image Credit: Fotolia.com (Author: thinglass)
And if you need some encouragement, there’s still time to register for The Write Stuff Genealogy Writing Intensive that begins on 11 January 2016.
Most genealogists I know are dedicated, passionate, and persistent. We’ll spend countless hours researching online databases, in courthouses or libraries, travel across the country or around the world to walk in our great-grandma’s footsteps, and even go to extreme measures to “dig up the dirt” on that “black sheep” uncle. But, when it comes to compiling the years of research, charts, photographs, and other data into an interesting, informative, and captivating format, how many of us become creatively paralyzed before our fingers even hit the keyboard? Perhaps, we don’t know where to start, we’re overwhelmed by the amount of information we’ve gathered, or we simply say “I don’t have time.”
If you are ready to get serious about documenting the stories of your ancestors, here are three tips.
1. Think like a writer, not a genealogist. The first thing you need to do is get over your “fear of writing.” Many people mistakenly believe they need to have formal training in order to write a family narrative. I was a writer before I was a genealogist (this is the reason I call my Blog “The Accidental Genealogist”), and I consider myself more of a story gatherer as opposed to a name collector, so I’m always looking for the best ways to record, store, and share information. You may not have the same training or experience, but don’t be intimidated. You can do it—you may just need more practice!
2. Have a focus. Decide what it is you want to write. Is it a 250-page book? A series of profiles, or character sketches? A house history? Do you want to focus on one particular ancestor, one family, or several generations? Take some time to think about what story you want to tell and write down your writing goals and the steps you will take to achieve them. Then, set reasonable and realistic deadlines and stick to them.
3. Play Favorites. A popular piece of advice given to writers is: “Write what you know.” You can apply this to family history writing as well. It will be much harder to write about an ancestor for whom you have very little information, so choose a good candidate. You can also select a favorite ancestor or one who has a “juicy” backstory. Start with the “easy” subjects before you tackle the harder ones.
These are just a few of the topics I will address in The Write Stuff Genealogy Writing Intensive starting on 11 January 2016.
You CAN do this!
[Disclosure: I have been hired as a freelance instructor this intensive by HackGenealogy, and I will be receive payment for leading this intensive.]
©2016, copyright Lisa A. Alzo. All rights reserved.