Devon Noel Lee
Planning a Family History isn’t Writing
Have you thought about writing a family history book? Do you keep thinking that someday you'll do it? STOP THAT! Stop thinking and start writing that book today.
Planning To Write Isn't Writing!
Thinking about writing a family history book someday doesn't get the book written.
Wanting to publish a genealogy book doesn't accomplish anything.
Taking action moves you toward the goal of creating a family history book that your family will want to read or that shares your research with future generations.
Watch this video.
How to Move Beyond Planning and Start Writing Your Family History
These simple steps and concepts will help you write your family history book.
1. Turn Off Your Inner Critic
The biggest obstacle preventing you from writing is likely your inner critic or your inner editor. Tell that critic that they have a time and place and during the drafting, phase is not that time or place.
Instead, the editing phase is when your critic and editor can come out. That's when these voices become beneficial to the family history writing process.
With your critic and editor in the corner anxiously awaiting their time to shine, write a rough draft, flaws and all.
2. Don't Use a Storyboard yet.
One of my favorite writing advice YouTubers is Alexa Donne. Unfortunately, one of her harsh bits of writing advice is, "brainstorming endlessly about your book isn't writing."
When I think of brainstorming in family history writing, I think of the storyboarding technique.
I'm not a fan of storyboarding a family history during the first draft phase of writing. The reason is that few of us know enough about our ancestors to assign parts of their life to a storyboard format.
Additionally, storyboarding isn't writing. It's arranging and planning.
Take your ancestor's records, and turn them into paragraphs. Then, extract all the document's details and connect them to other information. For tips on how to do just that, read Writing a Family History, One Record at a Time or A Recipe for Writing Family History.
AFTER you've written the first draft, then check out these tips for storyboarding your family history as you revise your work.
↪️ Do you want to write a family history book?
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3. Get Out of the Message Boards
Endlessly asking questions on Reddit falls into the planning stage as well. Additionally, going on genealogy message boards and Facebook groups doesn't count as writing either.
Set aside time actually to write.
AFTER you've written something, then you can go into Reddit, Facebook, and the like and ask specific questions about "How do I make this more interesting?" or "Does anyone have a resource to understand life in Baden in 1847 better?"
4. Let Someone Else Do The Work
Alexa Donne said something profound:
"So many of us prefer having written to actually writing. But you have to actually write to have written."
Many potential family history authors want the finished project but don't want to do the writing.
If that's truly your case, then hire a family history writer. I take some clients. Legacy Tree genealogists have authors specializing in Family History narratives and biographies.
If at any time you would like the assistance of an experienced genealogy author, check out our friends over at Legacy Tree Genealogists. and tell them Devon Noel Lee referred you.
Turn the writing over to someone else if you really can't stop planning your family history book.
Don't spend 20 years planning your book and then attempt to write it three months before your death. Start writing today.
Additional Family History Writing Tips
Check out these blogs and videos:
Ignore Your Audience When Writing Your Family History First Draft