The Family History Writing Studio

The Writer’s Magic Formula


We want to focus on writing our family history stories and make them a priority but often times we say it, and we say it, but it never happens.  Why is that?  What is the magic formula that allows some of us to pull it off while others can’t seem to make it happen.

The complaint I hear over and again from family history writers is focus. They are struggling to stayed focus on their stories to bring them to fruition, make them a reality. They stop and start and stop and start numerous times never quite getting anywhere, often spending years trying to write their ancestor’s stories.

In order to write your family history stories, you need to have a solid focus, and focus comes from two places, having a clear mission and knowing what to do and how to do it. I can tell you from personal experience and from observing others that the magic formula is pretty simple and very attainable once you know it.


Mission + Tools = Focus


Let’s break this formula down.

The Mission

For many who are struggling to write their family history stories, it often comes down to the fact that they  haven’t taken the time to define clearly what their goal or mission looks like.  Let say for instance you are going on a trip. Where are you going? Most of us will take the time to define our trip in advance. Few us just jump on  a plane and say take me anywhere. We plan. Writing is no different. What is your goal your mission, your end destination.

What do these stories look like?

What is the final product?

How do you plan to deliver these stories to your reader?

Through a blog?

A novel?

A legacy family history book?

What ancestors will you cover in your blog or book?

What kind of stories are you writing?

What is the purpose of these stories, who is their audience and how will they benefit?

When you don’t have a clearly defined goal it becomes very difficult to take the actionable steps to begin writing your stories. If you don’t know your destination it can all become become very overwhelming. How do you pack for the journey when you don’t know the destination.  When you get on the plane for your journey you generally know where you are going and what you need to bring with you …sunscreen and bathing suit or snowshoes and your woollies.

The Tools

Once you have your mission it becomes easier to understand the tools you need to reach your destination. Sure your journey might zig and zag, but with the proper equipment you can keep yourself focused on the end game.

Once you have defined your mission, it’s important to understand what tools you need to make your goal a reality.

Do you know how to write entertaining stories that your reader’s will love?

Do you now how to create a writing workflow to keep you organized throught the writing process?

Do you know how to structure your stories that  bring your reader along on your ancestor’s journey?

If not then take some time upfront to acquire these tools and skills, writing skills, blogging or bookmaking skills, all learnable but it means an investment in some time before you begin.

You invested time to learn how to research your ancestors, how to find them and be able to prove that you found them with solid research skills. Take the time to learn how to write your stories. Few us come the table with the natural skills and ability, and I assure you they are all quite learnable.

Writing family history is one more step in your journey, take the time to identify what you want to write, what does it look like, who is your audience and how will they benefit. Then identify the skills you need to make it happen acquire the tools and you’re on your way to achieving your mission.
Before you focus on writing your family history stories enlist the magic formula of mission + tools. Define your goal and then acquire the tools you need to make it happen, then your journey begins with a new found focus.

August 12, 2016
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