Another Family History Month is almost over. Before it slips away entirely, I’m offering up a few “back to the basics” posts this week.
Let’s face it, writing a family’s history is a daunting task by any measure. Whether writing your own memoir or working with the stories of others, the first obstacle is often simply where to begin. The mere thought of trying to collect and save decades (or centuries) of family lore can be paralytic.
Many of you may be stuck in this phase. For you we offer KISM – Keep It Simple Monday. By breaking your humongous task into more manageable pieces, you can break through that pesky Wall of Enormity.
The first thing to do is to figure out what exactly you want to accomplish. For instance, you may want to write about your own childhood or the life of a great grandfather. Narrow your goal to one thing, preferably something that’s within your current level of expertise. By concentrating on one achievable goal, you have a much better chance of getting there and doing it well in the process.
What do you need to do to reach your goal? Poke around cyberspace? Interview relatives? Dig through old photographs and documents? Make a list and tackle these things, one at a time. Stay on task; don’t get distracted. Stay with it until you have what you want. Then pick something else and work on that.
The key element here is to stay focused on one goal at a time before moving on to another. There’s no way you can wrestle a family history project to the ground all at once, so don’t even bother trying. By working on one goal at a time, you’ll be much more effective. You’ll learn more, keep your project moving forward and you won’t be overwhelmed or burned out by frustratingly impossible goals.
Flickr photo courtesy of @t..