: June 11, 2022 Posted by: Maureen Comments: 0

By Maureen Santini © Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

If anyone had asked me to describe my grandmother, I would have said she went to church often, baked brownies when we visited, played piano by ear, and taught me to sew. In many respects she was a typical grandmother.

Imagine my surprise when, after her death, I learned she joined a writers’ group in her sixties and wrote several stories describing life in a small lumber mill town.

I can’t say for certain that she never hinted at her writing aspirations during my childhood. If so, the hint didn’t register. The posthumous discovery of her biographical articles was a wonderful surprise.

To this day I wish I’d had the foresight to interview my grandmother about her life and times.

Awareness of the importance of introducing people to learning about family history is growing. Some schools are assigning students to interview family members, for instance.

“Children love to learn about the world they live in as well as the family they belong to,” Family Search.org states on a page of activities for children.

Only You Know the Full Story

Posthumous discovery of new, amazing facets of those close to us isn’t unusual. Senior citizens are often full of surprises that emerge for the first time in obituaries.

Many people know portions of specific chapters of your life. But these are just a few pages compared with the entire book. You alone have the full story.

Test the theory: ask a few teens to tell you everything they know about their parents as youth, for instance. Many will draw a blank.

Re-read my description of my grandmother in the first paragraph. Note that I instinctively described her from my perspective.

My description unintentionally amounted to only my pages in her full story. When she wrote about her life, her perspective was vastly different.

This demonstrates the problem of leaving the preservation of your personal history to others. You are the only one who has the complete story.

Start Writing as Soon as Possible

Whether you are a senior citizen or younger, there is no right time to begin writing your life story. However, the sooner you start preserving your memories, the more you are likely to recall. It is much easier to add information as time progresses than to recall fading memories.

Middle age is a good time to start the writing process. Encourage your friends, siblings, parents, and spouse to do the same. In fact, consider starting a life story writing group.

The decade-by-decade method is a foolproof way to write your autobiography. A factual, straightforward approach suits everyone, whether they think they can write or not.

Whether you’ve ever thought of yourself as a writer, for purposes of this method, you CAN write your life story.

You Owe It to Yourself

This website advocates a decade-by-decade approach. Posts for each decade prompt you to write about such topics as school, sports, religion, family life, events, games, pets, clothes, movies, health, hobbies, and music, for example. Simply follow the basic template in each post.

You will write about your relationships with family members, friends, and others who were influential in your life, along with your thoughts and aspirations.

But in addition to writing about your own life and family, you will also be prompted to describe community and world events that had an impact on your life.

Going through your life decade by decade is a relatively easy way to capture a lot of information. The pages will add up quickly. You’ll be amazed at how much you have to say.

Whether family members happen to be interested in your life story at any given point in time should not matter. Your life story is a legacy you are bestowing on future generations.

Follow the Template in the Decade-by-Decade Posts

This website provides a step-by-step template for everyone to write a life story for posterity. Once you start writing the process becomes nearly effortless. The easiest way to start writing your life story is with the day of your birth as explained in the First Decade post.

Join us on this rewarding journey. Your life matters.

Start writing today.

In case you are still not convinced, read why you should prevent your life from being lost to the ages. 

If you have concerns or questions, consult frequently asked questions.

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Note: This post has been updated from the original.

Maureen Santini is a writer, researcher, and former journalist who spent many years attempting to piece together a family history without the benefit of first-hand accounts of the lives of her ancestors. She created passdownyourstory.com to encourage people to write their life stories for posterity.