Did you watch the 2020 Rose Parade? Do you remember the theme of the parade? The 2020 Rose Parade theme was “Stories Change Our World.”
Do your children, and/or grandchildren know stories from your parents, your grandparents? Have you written any stories of your family, your youth, your experiences, and the who, what, when, where, why and how.
Family stories are not just for serious genealogists. They are for everyone. Every family, we all have stories: what happened to the family at various stages; what your father did for a living; what your mother did; what they did during WWII; what you did in grade school, high school; how you met your husband, etc. Our lives right now are a perfect example: write about your experiences during our current crisis with COVID-19. The ladies making masks could write about what they are doing, the group, the stress, and the fun.
If we do not commit the stories of our lives, our experiences, to paper they will not survive and will be lost to our descendants. With “Stay-at-Home” in effect it is the perfect time to write.
Our brains like stories! Yes, our brains like stories! Our brains remember stories more than hard facts. A very interesting blog by Laura Hedgecock describes and highlights research that proves our brains remember things that we receive in story form more than just getting a bunch of facts. Don’t think “book,” think “a story” or “stories.” Aside from getting some of your family history out in the light of day-thus preserving the information-stories are shorter and easier to write than a book. Below is a link to Laura’s blog post. At the end of her blog she has links to the research article and more information. Laura has a terrific phrase, “It turns out the way to the heart isn’t through the stomach. It’s through storytelling and the brain.” (used with permission) https://tinyurl.com/vhcg55o Laura’s blogs deal with writing about your family, the history, and she has many hints and ideas.
Below are links to articles and blogs that list many reasons why you should write down your family stories. Even Good Housekeeping magazine is on board with an article: https://tinyurl.com/szt6u34
For even more on Why we should write our family stories, here are additional links: The New York Public Library has an article “20 Reasons Why You Should Write Your Family History.” (Think short stories rather than a “history”) https://tinyurl.com/ybegwmkc
Now for the How
The first question for many of us would be “how do I start?”, or “Where do I start?” To get beyond this paralysis, below are links to several articles and blogs which will help with these questions, and get you started with the actual writing. A Google search would bring up many more. FamilySearch.org has several articles, which are free:
It is much easier to write about one event, one person, or one couple than trying to write a “book.” Your story could be one page or several pages. Perfectionism is another major roadblock: “The story has to be perfect,” whatever that means. Forget perfect! Just write it down! Just start writing. Write a page every morning or evening, just write-about anything! Try writing a page or so every day. Write about the funny, the sad, even the mad! Your writing may be rough at first. You can edit later-or not! Do it in longhand or on the computer.
JUST START WRITING!
Written by Linda Johnson, Gold Trail Chapter Daughter Published in the Gold Trail Newsletter, Notes From the Trail, May 2020.