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Step One: Choose Your Project

October 31, 2008

Submitted by: Chris Crandall 

“This is such a great idea!”

“I love this!”

“I have so many stories I want to publish!”

“I can’t wait to get started!”


Does this sound familiar? We all get so excited about publishing our stories, but sometimes the thought of it all gets overwhelming. At this point, we may put the brakes on our excitement!

When I feel like putting the brakes on, I like to ask, “Where do I begin?”

The fact is, every story has a beginning – and so does the process of creating a storybook. The exciting part is that we have so many stories and photos to share – and heritage to build – that we are eager to get started!

So, let’s ask together…”Where do I begin?”

The first place to begin is to choose your project. I remember the night when I saw Candy’s first storybook about her grandfather; I went home and couldn’t sleep. Among my many thoughts was one that kept reoccurring- “Oh, if I only would have done a storybook about my own grandfather.” He would tell us stories of his life over and over again – and we always assumed that we would remember them. The fact is, we didn’t. We were forgetting the little details – and even some of the facts.

So, the first storybook I wrote was about the love story of my amazing grandparents. I talked with my grandmother and captured and preserved their special love story. I couldn’t ask my grandfather because he had passed away. I have always regretted that I didn’t write my grandfather’s stories down. I regret that I didn’t listen to him closer – and that I didn’t thank him for the stories he shared.

I realized that the best, guilt-free place to get started was the story to which “time was of the essence.” Interview your elderly loved ones and capture their loves, life, laughter and their legacy. Capture it and preserve it while they are here, so that that there will be no regrets later.

Now, let’s move forward…

Go for a visit or get on the phone and interview a loved one who may pass away soon. You will find the reward before you even receive your published storybook. The time you spend together will be priceless. And it’s not only for you, but for them as well. I have heard time and time again, “I found out things that I never knew before. It has been an amazing experience.” And I have learned this from my own experience.

Chris Tip: Not sure where to begin in the story writing process? Thank goodness for Story Maps! Be sure to discover and USE these little treasures. A link to “Story Maps” is found on the “My Studio” page. Right now, the “Life Story” theme is available and it will guide you through the process of what questions you ask a loved one, to help their story – your heritage – unfold.

Don’t worry about writing a novel. The answers to the questions in the Story Map become the story of your priceless storybook. You can do it!

My next tip about getting started? “Do it now!”

Sorry, I don’t have time to “sugar coat” it because YOU have someone’s life to capture. You have a legacy to preserve. We all do. We should not put it off – there is too much to could be lost – and found!

Here is a quote that I recently heard that hit home – and my heart. It’s great for us to remember as heritage makers…

You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.” – Harold Hill, The Music Man

We are Heritage Makers! Enjoy the wonderful journey and start TODAY!