How to Work With Your Family to Tell Their Story: Part 3 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 three of the series and helps you decide who you will work with.

You can read Part One Here.

You can read Part Two Here.

Who Will You Work With

The next thing is deciding who will be involved. You might be thinking… “Oh, well, everyone's going to come. Everyone's going to want to work on this.” This type of project might not be for everyone and everyone has different things that they get excited about. Not everyone will want to work on the project in exactly the same way if at all.

Take some time to think about each person in your family and identify their likes, dislikes, strengths & weaknesses. Key points to identify:

  • Someone might be a really great scribe and they really want to write down details of a conversation
  • You might have someone in your family that really enjoys the talking part and they really want to be the one to interview family members
  • You might have someone who's really interested in scrapbooking and they want to put the book together, or whatever the end product is
  • You might have a photographer in your family and they want to take pictures of the storytelling or whatever pieces you're putting together

Ask your family members how they want to contribute and what they think will be most valuable for them. Partially because that will keep them interested, but it will also keep them engaged and they will hang around for the long-term of the project. It's really easy to get excited about a project in the beginning and then halfway through you're wishing you had never started, or you're bored, or you see other shiny things you want to go do.

In the beginning, identifying

  • who's going to be involved
  • how each person can contribute
  • and allowing each of those people to be a part of the conversation

will give them ownership and a stake in the project. By having them involved in the beginning deciding what they contribute, will greatly increase your ability to finish the project within a timely fashion and in a cohesive, constructive way.

To ensure you have everything covered in the project, you can start by making a list of the jobs you might need to fill to complete the project. You can get a starter list (created by me) here.

I hope these ideas and suggestions have given you some inspiration on where and how to start your family storytelling project. Thank you for taking the time to read this series and talking to your family about telling their story.

Please share your projects and journey with me on social using #telltheirstoryLR 🙂

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

Happy Writing,

Gael, The Legacy Lady

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