08:40 AM

18 Writing Tips for 2018: How to Tell Personal and Family Stories with Confidence


Seventeen years after my Grandpa Bob passed away, my dad planned a family reunion at a park in Northern Utah. Prior to the reunion, he invited his four siblings and their children to email him their favorite memories of Grandpa Bob. He compiled the memories in a 16-page document and printed copies for everyone.

One of my favorite entries came from my cousin, Natalie, who signed off with an apology: “I’m not a good writer, so hopefully this all made sense. I’m sad my memory isn’t better.” I was surprised. The stories Natalie shared were interesting and specific, full of fun details and sayings Grandpa was known for. Her words painted a vivid picture of him that made me miss him acutely. I didn’t once notice an ungrammatical sentence in that collection of memories. That’s not what matters. What matters is authenticity, voice, and perspective. What matters is that our stories get told, in all of their imperfect glory.

Would you like to make 2018 a year to tell your family stories? Let these simple tips inspire you to put pen to paper. No one is more qualified to tell your family’s story than you are.