Story of My Life
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Getting Started

Start with computer, and simply begin writing. That's all there is to it. The website makes it so easy for you to start slowly and build your Stories on top of each other. You select a time frame and the system will automatically sort things chronologically.

I'm not Jack Kerouac...

While diving in and writing is often the best way to get started, some people want more structure. Start by creating Chapters to form an outline of the big events in your life; list specific experiences under each. Each of these can be a Story under this Chapter. Another suggestion: make a timeline with tick marks denoting each year. List important events on the top of the timeline and minor ones below. As you write about each, mark each documented event as a visual reminder of your progress. Make this example fit your needs.

What will I write about?

How will you know what to write? Some find it easier to write about concrete things such as a birthday party; others prefer to write about life. A mixture of both will make your story richer than either one alone. Click here for some ideas to help get you thinking.

We each have a wealth of material from which information may be derived: baby books, birth announcements, invitations, wedding albums, scrapbooks, photos, certificates, old letters, old calendars, and journals. Newspaper articles give information about birth and wedding announcements as well as community events you may have participated in. Old family recipes evoke a flood of memories. It's fun to incorporate these in your Story.

As you start to write, thoughts or memories may well up wherever you are and not particularly at a convenient moment. Keep a small notebook or index cards with you to jot them down. Or when a great idea strikes and you have no paper, call your voicemail to record the thought. Write the complete Story later, when you have more time.

Get organized? ready set go!

Gather pictures and documents that tell your Life Story, as well as the index cards with notes. Sort them chronologically or by their importance to you. This can be on-going as you continue to write. Ask friends and relatives for reminders from the past. Save these items in a folder, special box or drawer. Bring each out, in any order, as you are ready to write about it.

Photocopy photos showing people you don?t know so they can be shown to relatives and friends. Write their names on the copy as you identify them. Any further information can be written on the back.

Start talking to family members and long-time friends now. People often let time go by and before they know it, years have elapsed and they still haven't discussed the past with grandparents and elderly aunts and uncles. It doesn't have to be a formal interview, just a 'remember when' type of conversation. Take notes during or after your talks. If everyone feels comfortable, a tape recorder may be used and uploaded to the site. Years later, these tapes will be a precious possession.

Some relatives may be reluctant to talk. Items such as a census report or photograph often evoke memories, making reminiscing enjoyable. The idea is often to share.