Preserve Your History

It’s more important than you might realize.


1. Get started now. The details of how you do it aren’t nearly as important as the fact that you’re doing it. Life is uncertain, and the only guarantee of immortality is preserving your memories.2. The goal is to create something that will have meaning for others, both today and in the future. A good memoir does more than relate the events of a person’s life. It is framed to create emotional connection by showing the threads that run through the person’s life. It shows who the person is as well as what he or she has done. 3. Storytelling always is better than story-writing. Even if you are a terrific wordsmith, your memories will flow more easily if you speak them rather than write them. Instead of sitting down at a computer, sit down with a tape recorder and speak your stories, leaving the organization until later.4. Creating a memoir takes time. Telling the story is just the beginning. Next you have to transcribe, organize for theme, draft the manuscript, revise it (at least once, usually twice), scan photos, plan the interior layout and insert type and photos, design the cover, and oversee the book production processes (printing and binding). Most professionals estimate that it takes 250 to 300 hours to produce a well-crafted memoir. 5. Enjoy the process as much as you eventually will treasure the product. Reviewing the past can be hard at times, both for the storyteller and often for the family. But it brings peace and resolution, understanding and, in many cases, forgiveness.

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