2014 Family History Writing Challenge

The Armchair Genealogist is planning her Family History Writing Challenge for 2014. At this point she is asking what our biggest writing challenges are, other than time. You can comment on her blog or on Facebook. In 2012 Lynn did 29 day writing challenge from February 1 – 29th. And it looks like she repeated the challenge in 2013. Now she is going to change-up the challenge a bit and while I don’t know what will be, I’m committing now to participate in The Family History Writing Challenge in 2014. I’ll let you know when she posts more information about the challenge but it would be awesome if everyone would seriously consider taking on this challenge.


More on Story Prompts

Since I’ve been working on my story prompts project (I really am making progress and I should have something to share soon.) I’ve noticed story prompts in more places. In Your Story Coach‘s October newsletter besides listing her own “story sparks” Tami also shared a Tumblr site that shares daily writing prompts. Both of these resources are intriguing and I want to use them in future projects.

What have you used to help get your memory going?

A Little Bittle of Summer

image from Blurb.com

I came across this writing exercise from Blurb’s August Newsletter today and wanted to share it here. They suggest writing about your summer but you could also use this approach on any subject or person you having been wanting to do a story project about.

Here’s a brand-new writing exercise to help you capture the summer of 2013 and inspire a bit of a creative energy. As the season fades and we head indoors to hibernate for the winter, this exercise can help you get the most from your memories and make sure they’re not lost forever.

Visual references can be powerful catalysts for writing; photographs, illustrations, and visuals can often help to overcome writer’s block. A train or bus ticket, a menu, a business card, an eye-catching flyer—these are just a few examples of the visual references we collect as we move around in the world. When combined with the images we deliberately record with our cameras, these accidental souvenirs can serve as powerful reminders of particular moments in time.

Using visual cues like these in your writing exercises is a great way to get started on a book—or to just ignite the spark that gets your creative fire burning.

  • Select several of your most treasured objects, accidental souvenirs, and images from your summer activities.
  • Play with some ideas. Will this piece of writing document an event or set of events? Is it a poem, a short story, or something else? Decide on your approach, process, and genre.
  • Write for a fixed amount of time, say 20 to 30 minutes, and see where it takes you. Repeat until you feel you’ve captured what’s in your head on the page (or screen).
  • Refine the results. Keep editing and refining until you’re satisfied with the words and then dive straight into making your book. Now is the time to weave in your visual cues. Get your photographs, drawings, artifacts—whatever inspired you—into digital format and import them into your book project.
  • Explore different layouts to create the best combinations of your words and images

It may take it a week or two—or if you’re incredibly efficient, an hour or two—but once your Summer 2013 book is finished you’ll have secured some special memories in print. (You can also create an ebook version in a flash.) After all, as Henry David Thoreau once said, “One must maintain a little bittle of summer, even in the middle of winter.”

Now I just need to carve out a few minutes and try this exercise. It’s a good friend’s daughter passed away and they are asking for memories to put together for her brand new baby so that he will know about his mother. This would be a great things to do for that project.

Are you up to a writing challenge too? If I can do it so can you. Writing is one of my big mental blocks.


Your Story Coach

I found a new blog today that looks great for helping with all the writing aspects of a story project. It is Your Story Coach. I’ve only scratched the surface of what Tami has to offer but it is wonderful. Here is an example.

“I encourage everyone to write stories from their lives instead of writing their whole life story. Life story implies a chronological retelling of your life from birth to now, but writing stories from your life is more like telling stories at the kitchen table.

Many people take writing too seriously and worry about “doing it right.” Believe me, your family would rather have something from you rather than nothing at all—even if it’s not perfect! Writing your stories should be fun and easy. Here’s my formula:

  • Keep your writing relaxed and informal.
  • Write in your own voice—the way you talk.
  • Don’t worry about grammar and punctuation. You can always use spell check and grammar check on the computer.
  • Write your life in “small bites” of two- or three-page stories so it’s not too overwhelming.
  • Keep your audience in mind—your aim is to inform and entertain.

By writing short, two- or three-page stories from your life, a picture of you will begin to emerge. Before you know it, you’ll have a stack of stories to share with friends and family.”

I can’t wait to explore more of Tami’s blog. I’m sure I’ll be sharing more from Your Story Coach in the future. Pop on over to her blog and see what I mean.DOABLE Sidebar B