Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Knocking out the excuses

Do you stall writing your story? Have an excuse on why you can't do it?

Lana Rockwell knocked them all off the table on Monday night. She talked about leaving a written legacy at the Spring Writers monthly meeting at the Woodmen Valley Church's Stone Chapel.

Lana encouraged those attending to write down their life experiences. She cited Psalm 102:18 saying God commands it.

Here's the verse in the King James Version.
This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD. 

Now if that doesn't give you a bit of urgency, I don't know what will.

We all have stories to tell whether we are 5 or 95 and Lana told us ways to get those done — one memory at a time. In 2005, she said she began writing one memory a week. By the end of the year, she had 52 memories and compiled them into a book for her children.

Just think, one hour a week is all it takes.

Well Kathy Lee Gifford sings "Everyone has a story," but not everyone is willing to share it. Lana says she hears a lot of stall tactics from people for not writing down their stories.

  1. "I can't remember like you do." — Lana says sure you can. Makes lists. Be open to memory triggers like smells, sights and music. 
  2. "My siblings don't remember the same story" — Lana says she told her siblings to read the stories she had written, but don't try to change her memories to match their memories. The reality is that we see and filter things differently.
  3. Should I use a computer or hand write the memories? — Lana says do what you want to do.  If a family member wants you to write your memories in long hand, but you prefer your computer; she says you can even get a font created from your own handwriting. Problem solved.
  4. Titles — Lana titles each memory/story. She said it doesn't have to be continuous and can be a stand alone story. 
  5. Do I have to know family genealogy to create a story? — Lana says no. It can be helpful and it all depends on your focus. 
  6. Copies of documents — Lana says they aren't necessary, but can be useful. You can include birth certificates, report cards, etc. with your story.
  7. What if children or grandchildren aren't interested? Lana says they might not want to read it now, but don't let that deter you from writing it. 
  8. How did you know what to write about first? — Lana says start where ever you want to begin.  She said you may want to begin with current events and work your way back to older memories.
  9. What should the finished product look like? — Lana shared books, spiral bound collections of stories, recipe books and a half page sized booklet. The stories can take many forms. 
  10. What if all my childhood memories are sad? — Lana says you may ask yourself your motivation for sharing your story. It could be that you write about happier times to work through your story such as your wedding, romances, the births of children, etc. You don't have to begin with the sad things, she said. 
Writing about your story can be therapeutic, Lana said. Sitting down and writing about memories can help you turn everything off.

"Storytelling is very refreshing," Lana said.

Lana graciously shared a list of 50 memory triggers with attendees. She also has a Web site at It is filled with wonderful photos and tips to trigger you to write about your own memories. I'm a bit of a chocolate nut, so I checked out "grama's treats." They look delicious.

I so needed to hear Lana's presentation on Monday. Her presentation is a memory in my journey to complete my memoir.


  1. Sounds like an excellent workshop! Wish I had been there. Springs Writers always does such a great job.


  2. Debbie thanks again for letting me know about the group. I needed to hear Lana.

  3. Great ideas. Thanks for the encouragement. :)

  4. Wow! You take awesome notes. This is a great post. I loved meeting and talking to you, Stacy. I look forward to reading your memoir.

  5. I still have a lot of writing to do Scoti. Right now, I'm trying to edit through an essay for submission. So glad I met you at the meeting.

  6. Thanks Stacy for presenting this information in a way that encourages me to not be overwhelmed with recording memories and things that happen. Fun!


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