Thankful Thursday: Family History Challenge Roundup

Family History Writing Challenge


T’S THE FINAL DAY OF THE FAMILY HISTORY WRITING CHALLENGE 2013 and time to take stock. Though not offi­cially over for a few hours yet I’m declar­ing myself offi­cially done. At the begin­ning of this I pledged to write 350 words a day toward my pater­nal fam­ily history.

So how did I do?

As so often hap­pens, “real life” inter­vened on a freak­ishly reg­u­lar basis and I didn’t meet the goal of writ­ing every sin­gle day — how­ever — I did man­age to put some­thing to paper most days and by the end reached my word count goal. Of course, the writ­ing wasn’t the only thing gained from this expe­ri­ence, I also learned a cou­ple of inter­est­ing things along the way:

1. Some­times the story you WANT to tell isn’t the story you NEED to tell

You sit down with the day’s writ­ing all mapped out in your head — research is to hand, tea/coffee cup is steam­ing and your fin­gers are itch­ing to get typ­ing. And then some­thing strange hap­pens. The story you start to tell goes off on a tan­gent or those itch­ing fin­gers sud­denly seize up. The solu­tion? Just let go —  of plans, out­lines, what­ever — and give what­ever wants to come out free rein. It might be gold, it might junk, but there’s no get­ting any fur­ther down the road until you let it be written.

2. His­tory is NOT at dirty word

I found that many of the ances­tors I’m most drawn to write about either have huge gaps in their time­lines or require research into ques­tions like what life was really like in the Royal Navy at the turn of cen­tury or how long it took to travel by train from Que­bec City to Cal­gary in 1908. As a result I dug more deeply into local and social his­tory books than ever before and in the process gained a much fuller pic­ture of my ances­tors lives & times.

3. Just write

Per­haps the most impor­tant take-away of all — don’t stop. The only way to get any­thing writ­ten is to write — whether or not it’s “good”, whether or not you feel like it, even when it almost breaks your fin­gers to type because the words are so hard com­ing — JUST WRITE.

So a huge shout out to Lynn Palermo for offer­ing this chal­lenge once again and keep­ing those who par­tic­i­pated moti­vated with daily emails to sup­port and guide the devel­op­ment of plot, char­ac­ter, theme and so much more. As well, the guest posts from authors who’ve already suc­ceeded in writ­ing and pub­lish­ing fam­ily his­to­ries were a won­der­ful source of infor­ma­tion and inspiration.

And if you missed this year’s chal­lenge, Lynn’s site is loaded with advice for get­ting that fam­ily his­tory writ­ten. I encour­age all to visit and make use of this excel­lent resource.

Thank you!

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2 Responses to Thankful Thursday: Family History Challenge Roundup

  1. Jana Last says:

    I just wanted to let you know that your blog is listed in today’s Fab Finds post at–2013.html

  2. M.J. says:

    Fam­ily His­tory Writ­ing Chal­lenge ends on a high note and now a men­tion on your blog — wow, what a great week. Thank you!

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