This January, we’ve been thinking a lot about New Year’s resolutions. We’ve learned what kinds of resolutions make you happy, and which ones you’re most likely to stick to.
Now, as we begin a fresh new year, maybe you’ve decided: It’s finally time. This year could be the year when you finally write your memoirs.
Fantastic! But — whether you’ve put pen to paper before or are starting from scratch — writing your life story can feel like an overwhelming task. How do you organize your thoughts? How do you decide what to focus on? How do you decide which parts of your story to tell first?
Our in-depth look into resolutions has shown that it helps to break big tasks down into smaller pieces, so why not start with something smaller? Start your memoirs with something that you can decide to do today, and which will lay the groundwork for putting your life story down on paper in the near future.
Here are some suggestions for building regular habits that will help you build up to writing your life story.
Keep a Diary
You might already have a diary, but do you actually use it? If your journal has more blank pages than filled ones, resolving to set aside some time each week to write in it could make a huge difference.
A diary allows you to keep track of dates, times, names and specific memories — what you did for your birthday last year, for example. It also provides a regular writing exercise, which has been proven to have a range of benefits for your day-to-day life. Studies have shown that keeping a journal can help release pent-up stress, which in turn results in better sleep, mood and memory.
Make and Strengthen Connections
Renewing family connections and staying in touch with loved ones might not seem related to writing your life story, but your life is shaped by the people around you. When you get to know them better, you get a clearer picture of the life you’ve lived.
You might be astonished by the memories your friends and family have about you, or by the ways in which you’ve touched their lives — but you’ll only discover these things if you’re in touch with them.
That’s why renewing and maintaining your connections with friends and family is one of the best things you can possibly do when it comes to writing your life story. And it’s a resolution that can greatly improve your happiness too!
Digitize Your Photo Collection
Most people have a photo album or two sitting in an attic or gathering dust on a shelf. While these are wonderful to look through when you remember to, they don’t age well. Over time, photographs can become discolored, and whole albums can be lost or damaged. Photo albums hold your most precious memories, but they’re vulnerable to everything from a leaky pipe to being mislaid during a move.
That’s why it’s a good idea to preserve your memories digitally. Scanning pictures is a great way of doing this. When scanned at high resolution, photographs can be reproduced in print at any time, and you can even organize and search your collection.
Once your photos have been digitized, they're a priceless asset when it comes to writing your life story. You can refer to them to refresh your memory, use one as a striking cover image, and include them in your finished book.
"If you write just 100 words a day every day for a year, by the end you’ll have a manuscript that’s the same length as a 100-page book".
News flash: Reading is good for you. A Stanford University study noted that reading constitutes “a truly valuable exercise of people’s brains” that improves concentration and mental acuity in all areas of the brain. So dedicate some time to reading, and see what a difference it makes!
Better yet, read memoirs. This is a genre that’s increasingly popular, and by taking a look at how other people have tackled their life story, you’ll get a good idea of how to approach your own. Do you want to begin at the beginning, or start later in life? Do you want to tell lots of different stories, or focus on just one part of your life? Take a look at how others do it, and use that as inspiration and guidance for creating your own memoirs.
Write Every Day
Writing your memoirs can seem like a huge task — one that might be overwhelming at times. Rather than try to tackle it all at once, it helps to chip away at it a little at a time. Try to set aside some time for writing each day, and pretty soon crafting a completed manuscript will start to seem like a much more attainable goal.
If you write just 100 words a day every day for a year, by the end you’ll have a manuscript that’s the same length as a 100-page book. Not bad for a just a few minutes spent writing each day!
Let Your Story Take Shape
Writing your memoirs is a big job, so don’t give up if you can't finish in just a couple of days. Instead, cultivate these habits to make the task easier, and don’t be afraid to let your story take shape slowly. Many of these habits will also make you happier in general while you’re at it, so it’s a win-win proposition.
If you need some help telling your story, or if you have finished gathering your notes and pictures, now could be the perfect time to contact StoryTerrace. Our experienced ghostwriters can do the heavy lifting for you, taking your notes, experiences, photographs and stories and turning them into a professionally written, beautifully bound book.
If your New Year’s resolution is to complete your memoirs, get in touch today to arrange a chat about writing your life story.
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