Here, then – in brief for now, with further details to come in the days ahead – are my all-time top 10 tips for writing about personal family history for your kids:
1. Decide To Do It. No, really. Decide wholeheartedly. You’re either in or you’re out. That’s square one.
2. Plan It Out. Do at least an outline. Even Shakespeare needed a blueprint. Call it a GPS for the flow of your thoughts.
3. Vote For Reality. Kids can smell spin from a mile away. So opt for the truth about yourself and your family, however much it might hurt you to do so.
4. Single Out The Highlights. Draw only from the richest memories, the most lasting moments, at your command. Forgo trivia and the otherwise mundane.
5. Stick To A Schedule. A little regularity never hurt anyone. A half hour or so once a week is probably realistic – better still, shoot for a set time on a set day.
6. Keep It Spontaneous. First thought, best thought, poet Allen Ginsberg famously said. Theoretically, then, you’ll bring yourself within flirting distance of the genuine.
7. Briefer Is Better. It’s the soul of wit, no? Enough said.
8. Tell A Story. Each entry will ideally have a real narrative, how this happened, then that happened – in short, a beginning, a middle and an end. Maybe even a point or two as well.
9. Make Every Word Count. Your readers will, in a sense, be keeping score. So why waste any time?
10. Remember: Anyone Can Write. We all have stories to tell, professional writers and amateurs alike. We’re all storytellers at heart. Period.
P.S. – Part 3 will appear tomorrow.