How to Work With Your Family to Tell Their Story_ Part 2 of 3

How to Work With Your Family to Tell Their Story: Part 2 of 3

Have you been thinking about working with your mom or grandmother to start getting her story written down? Maybe you have already tried, but it didn’t quite go as planned.  

I completely understand not knowing how to start and the way life derails even the best-laid plans. That’s why I’ve created the Legacy Recorder. Regardless of where you are in the storytelling process, or in life, you can come here anytime and pick up where you left off. My goal is to help you figure out how to get started and make it to project completion.

There are three things you need to decide on and explore before you ever start writing down a single word. If you have already started writing, put down your pen, take a step back and start reading.

This series will outline what you need to think about in regards to

  1. Who is the storyteller & what will the story be about
  2. Who will you work with
  3. What are the overall project goals

This is part two of the series and helps you establish the goals of your project.

Project Goals & Timelines

The first thing to start with is your starting point, or identify your goals. Identifying the goals of the project will help you figure out the pieces of how to get to the end. I start every project by identifying

  • what the goals are
  • what you want to accomplish
  • what will it look like

Types of goals go, you can have physical, tangible goals like “We want to have a book, it will have 100 pages, we want to record 100 memories and it will have pictures,”.


You can get as detailed as you want. I suggest is that you have manageable goals and attainable ones. You will need to keep in mind how long you have and how long the proposed project will take.

hourglassPossible timelines:

  • Six to eight weeks
  • three months
  • 3-5 days
  • 2 weeks

You get the idea. Every situation is different and requires some thought into what the project can look like rather than what everyone wants it to be. If you have shorter timelines, then your goals are going to look a little different than someone who has longer timelines. If you're looking at a short time window, recognize that your goal or end product doesn't have to be a full-length book.

The following questions will help you identify your project goals. These questions apply to individual projects and to those working with others.

Measuring success

  • What are you hoping to accomplish?
  • Who are you recording your story for?
  • What are you planning to do with it once you have finished?
  • What will success look like for you?

The Finished Product

  • Do you want to have something that looks like a book?
  • Do you want a short and sweet memory to share as a gift?
  • Maybe you will have a memory inspired piece of art that goes along with your Memory Logs (a worksheet you can find in the course)

Now what?

Based on your answers above, take some time lay out a plan for how you will proceed in writing your story.

Example: You want your story to be in chronological order beginning with the earliest memory. It will be very important for you to have an accurate date for each memory. The actual writing down of the memory can happen at any time in the process, just be sure to fill in the “When” accurately.

Note: Sometimes the mind doesn’t want to work chronologically. You or your loved one may jump around and remember new details as they recall other memories. Keep your notes and project together in a binder or something like that for easy access to previous storytelling sessions.


End Products

frame journey pictureI get asked all the time about the end product. Everyone wants to know what it “should” look like. Somehow my answer is never quite what they want. End products can be

  • poems
  • paintings
  • full books
  • short books
  • Etc etc etc

Maybe you write a song about a memory. I mean it really could be anything. The end product is whatever the person is interested in doing.

In the course, I offer different ideas of what to do and then some additional parameters around those ideas. I do this because, I know, having too many options sometimes it makes it harder for us to make decisions as to what we're going to actually do. I also stick to the written ideas for the most part. Just know that you can always do anything above and beyond that.



Those are the different types of things you need to decide on to get your starting point on the family story you're going to tell. You want to identify your timeline and that will drive what the end product will look like. I look forward to hearing some of your goals and project details.

I love everything about Legacy (I’m a little biased), but this is something I especially love…

Legacy puts the emphasis on the experience of

  • writing together
  • recollecting together
  • talking about the memories together

rather than the finished product. While the finished product is a beautiful and wonderful reminder, I think the beauty and the value is in how we get to the end product.

I can’t wait to see your end products!

If you’d like a more in-depth dive into this storytelling with someone you love journey, click here.

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