Personal history made easy — and engaging

By Debra Woods

For Mormon Times

Published: Wednesday, May 18 2011 6:30 a.m. MDT

6. Enlist the help of others. Talk with friends and family members about things they might remember better about your past than you do. In my case, my sisters seem to recall our childhood in more detail than I do. Often, once they start talking about a particular experience, the memories flood back, and I try to capture in writing what they’ve shared before the memory slips back into the fog. Think about asking family and friends to write down some of their memories of your shared past. Such a request could serve as the perfect birthday gift as they didn’t have to spend any money, and you receive something that is invaluable to you and your posterity.

7. Carry a small notebook or index cards with you wherever you go to capture thoughts about your personal history as they come to you. Sometimes, you might use your notebook or index cards to make a quick note about a detail from your past, and other times, when you find yourself with some unexpected time on your hands, say, in a doctor’s waiting room, or while waiting to pick up the carpool, you may want to use the time to detail a specific story from your past. You’ll be surprised how much progress you can make by carrying pen and paper with you and taking advantage of unexpected moments.

8. Schedule the time. This step alone is the key to writing your personal history. How about 90 minutes every Sunday or a couple of hours two or three times a month? You decide what works best for you, and then make your commitment and keep it. Remember, writing your life story now, bit by bit, is far better than possibly never writing it at all. After all, your story matters, and when you take the time to write it down, you’ll see for yourself just how true that is.

Debra Sansing Woods is the author of "Mothering with Spiritual Power: Book of Mormon Inspirations for Raising a Righteous Family."

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