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  • This is your chance to tell your Life Story the way you lived it.
  • Life didn’t just happen to you. You happened to life.
  • We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. - Anais Nin
  • Your LifeStory is as unique ... and you are the only one who can tell it.
  • You will discover that you and your life story are in very good hands. - Harold Berman
  • You are the still same person you were at 8.
  • LIFE JOURNEY BOOKS - Everything You Need to Tell Your Life Story
  • Using the Workbook, I was surprised at how much I learned about myself. - Shelley Winkler
  • We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. - Anais Nin

Writing Your LifeStory: A User’s Guide

How would you have felt if, before she died, your grandmother had handed you the book of her life? It would have included the things that mattered to her in all their rich detail: from the hopscotch she played with her best friend to the birth of her baby brother in the middle of the night to the terrifying experience of war to the thrill of her first kiss.

Sadly, you can’t bring her back to tell you her story. But, what she wasn’t able to do for you, you can do for your children, grandchildren and all your loved ones.

You’ve already begun the journey. Everything you need to tell your life story will be in LifeJourney Books Do-It-Yourself Memoir Workbook and we’ll be with you every step of the way.

But before we begin, we have to erase four insidious thoughts that could stop you cold – and might even have derailed your memoir-writing efforts in the past:

  • My life is not very interesting. It’s no different than anybody else’s.
  • My family would never be interested in hearing my story.
  • I’m not a good writer.
  • I don’t have the time to write.

OK, we’ve said them.

Now let’s take them on … one roadblock at a time.

  • My life is not very interesting. It’s no different than anybody else’s.

No two lives are identical, and even brothers and sisters or best friends who’ve lived through the same experiences will surprise you by remembering things completely differently. Your life story with its surprises, its laughter, its disappointments and its joys is as unique as your fingerprints – or your wrinkles – and no one has been there for the entire journey but you.

  • My family would never be interested in hearing my story.

Just like your grandmother’s life story means so much to you, yours will be precious to your family. Grandchildren who are small now or teenage nieces caught up in their own lives will someday long to understand what your life was all about. Know that you are part of a fascinating generation, one shaped by powerful historical and cultural influences – by war and hardship, by your own music, books, movies and even dance steps. And your descendants will be curious about where their daughter’s musical talent comes from and their son’s wacky sense of humor. Plus they’ll want to know why you made the choices you did.

  • I can’t write.

Whether or not you were the top grammar student in your class, you are the perfect – and only – person to write this story. That’s because there’s nothing as intimate as our own lives and you are the only one who knows how it feels to be you. Just answer the questions honestly and don’t get tripped up on punctuation, pronouns and past participles. Tell it in your own words and include the all-important details to make your story come alive. And we guarantee you will surprise yourself by remembering far more than you thought you could.

  • I don’t have the time.

You’re absolutely right: there are more things to get done than there are hours in the day. But, when you think about it, isn’t setting the record straight about your life worth making the time for? Perhaps you can get a group of friends to do this project together or ask a relative or aide to help you answer these questions. Or maybe you and your spouse or your good friend can work on your LifeJourney Books Do-It-Yourself Workbooks at the kitchen table together.

But, whether you’re working as a group, a pair or going solo, you’re always better off setting aside a block of time each day to answer as many questions as you can. For night people, it can be after the dishes are done (Your TV show can wait!). For morning folks, it’s great to get writing before the other daytime activities distract you. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself rushing through your breakfast to get back to your story.

But even the most dedicated life storyteller needs the occasional boost. Here are some powerful motivators you’ll want to take with you on your LifeJourney. Be sure to return to this section anytime your “writing batteries” need recharging.

Life didn’t just happen to you. You happened to life.

Sometimes we all feel like victims of fate or destiny but the truth is your life is not just a series of accidents –it’s a strange and wonderful journey packed with surprises and also patterns, priorities and principles. Your choices reveal everything about the values you hold dear. It’s something experience tells us you will be able to see much more clearly once you complete your LifeJourney Books Do-It-Yourself Workbook.

You are still the same person you were at 9.

Many of your responses as an adult could have been predicted by closely observing your childhood self. The little child who wouldn’t let a friend be pushed around by the playground bully is the same you who won’t allow their friend be taken advantage of now. You will begin to see how you have grown and developed but also who you have always been at your core.

Wrestling with the Past

Sadly, even the happiest of lives have their share of sorrow. It can take courage to face some of our most painful memories. But this encounter with life’s difficult moments also gives us perspective. We predict that, by the time you’ve completed your LifeJourney Books Do-It-Yourself Memoir Workbook, you’ll better understand – and possibly be able to forgive or come to terms with – those who may have hurt you, as you make peace with the past and lay many of your personal demons to rest.

The kids need to hear it

Retracing your steps transmits the precious legacy of your life and values to children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and generations yet unborn, all living in very different times than you have. Remember that by sharing your life experiences, you also share your wisdom, gained from the many hard-won lessons you’ve learned along the way. And, because you are so much a part of your family, your life story has the power to inspire them and inform the way they – and their children after them – live their lives.

Families come in all shapes and sizes

No two families are alike, so if a certain question or chapter does not pertain to you, feel free to change the wording of the question to suit your experience. Never married? See Chapter 14 for your chance to share the partnerships that enrich your life. Never had children? Tell us about your favorite nieces, nephews, godchildren, your beloved students or the little boy next door who became part of the family. If a chapter or a question really doesn’t apply, even with your liberal editing, feel free to skip it and we’ll catch up with you in the next chapter!

Remember that life is in the details. So be generous with them.

Each time you add a telling detail – the laugh of your favorite radio soap opera character, the sight of a train carrying a loved-one off to war, the smell of popcorn and cotton candy on the boardwalk on your honeymoon -- you transport your reader back to the time and place you’re remembering.

You’re doing it for them, but you’ll be amazed at what YOU gain.

Chances are the main reason you’re telling your life story is for your children, grandchildren and future generations. But in the process of giving them this gift, something magical happens: You receive an even greater gift. As you share your experiences with your loved ones, you begin to understand your life and to truly see who you are. Your philosophy of life, your guiding principles, your strengths and yes, even your weaknesses reveal themselves. As the whole picture begins to emerge, you’ll begin at long last to recognize those values at your deepest core and see how they have guided your footsteps every step of the way.

 

Instructions on Using your LifeJourney Books Do-It-Yourself Memoir Workbook

We have provided extra pages at the end of each chapter to be used when your answer to a chapter question runs a bit longer than the space provided. Please don’t let space limits stop your memory flow!

A word to the novice memoirist:

Don’t worry that you can’t remember exactly how it all happened – and don’t let anybody tell you that your memories are inaccurate or don’t reflect the way things really happened. Tell them they’re welcome to sit down and write it the way they remember it. This is your chance to tell it the way you experienced it.

Sure, your kids and grandkids, your husband or wife, brothers and sisters and even your friends know different parts of you.

But who’s the only one who knows your whole story?

 

Only you.

… So let’s get started!