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Tips on getting started (and keeping going)

There’s an old saying “Every journey begins with a single step.”

Writers talk about the tyranny of the blank page. You know you have something to say but it’s intimidating to start from nothing. You have probably felt that tyranny, the fear of taking that first single step.

Here are some ideas that might help to start you off.

  1. Don’t overwhelm yourself—start small. Have big ideas for the future, sure. But to start with, just aim to write a paragraph or a sentence or even some bullet points. If things start to flow, go with it. If they don’t, start on a new paragraph, sentence or bullet list.
  2. Remember that there is only one you. No one will tell stories the same way you will. Embrace your unique perspective. It might seem ordinary to you, but that’s probably because you’re in it all the time.
  3. Think about what you would like to ask your departed ancestors. Write down some questions as if you are a journalist about to interview them. See if you can answer them or if anyone else in the family or community can.
  4. Turn your interview questions on yourself. What might people what to ask you about your present in the distant future?
  5. Draw a time line of your family or community history and capture whichever stories inspire you first. Once you get started, you will find a rhythm that motivates you to keep going.

There are as many ways of getting and staying inspired and motivated as there are people—these are just five. What have you found works for you?

Image credit: Running Shoes by Josiah Mackenzie under a Creative Commons Attribution licence

August 15th, 2011 by Sarah Jansen
Filed in: For Community, For Family
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Zahmoo is a story bank for collecting and sharing your family and business stories.