Whether you are writing your family stories or your ethical will, sometimes it is hard to get started. Here's something that might help when you are stuck.
Do you remember when you made a toy house with wooden building blocks? If so, then you know you start with the floor, then the walls and then the roof. Building a biography or autobiography is kind of the same. You just start with a few simple writing guidelines and paragraph structure to create the story.
Every writer uses roughly the same steps. Sometimes you may be able to combine steps together. But stories will make more sense if you generally follow these basic writing guidelines.
1. Brainstorming – write down a bunch of ideas.
• Don’t judge if ideas are good or bad, just write them.
• Get more ideas by talking to other people.
• One idea leads to another until you get an idea you like.
2. Rough Draft – get your ideas down on paper.
• Don’t worry about grammar, spelling or punctuation.
• Write down your ideas as fast as you can.
• If one thought takes you in another direction, go with it.
3. Revisions – make the story flow.
• Make sure each paragraph has a beginning, a middle and an ending.
• Does the first paragraph make a nice lead into the rest of the story?
• Are the paragraphs in sequence?
• Is it interesting? Does it make sense to the reader?
4. Editing – fine-tune the story.
• Clean up any grammar, spelling and punctuation problems.
• Add some pictures or your own drawings, if you like.
• Read the story to someone else to get more ideas.
5. Publishing – print a copy of your story.
• Print by computer or write it neatly by hand.
• Read it to yourself or to a few people.
• Listen to any feedback.
Repeat any or all of the above steps until you like the story.
When you first start writing your family stories, using the above steps in order will help you stay on track. If you find one of the steps too difficult, then think about going back a step to revise what you have done so far.
At some point when you write a story, you may be able to start with brainstorming and move right through each of the first four steps. Almost all writers need to revise their work until they get it just right. It takes some hard work to make your story as good as you can, but having a story people want to read makes it all worthwhile.
The important thing is that you can revise, edit, modify and perfect anything you write. After some time, you may want to pick up the thread of a given story and use it in other ways and other places. As the writer, you always have those options. The story belongs to you to discard or resurrect as you see fit.
Have fun writing all your wonderful stories! Which are your favorites?