It seems like every topic, issue, and even food group has their own “National Day” now. Sometimes it can seem silly or over the top, but often these days of recognition remind us of important habits such as keeping your heart healthy or eating a balanced diet. This month, March 14 is National Write Your Story Day.
Fairly new to the national calendar, National Write Your Story Day encourages us to take the time to write down our memories or life stories. Everyone has a story to tell, and memories often become cherished family stories. However, if we don’t take the time to write these stories down, they can get lost to time and forgotten.
While I was growing up, I remember my grandma telling stories of her life as a little girl and the school she attended, the early years of marriage to my grandpa, and raising my mom and her siblings. Grandma Ruth was a loving, active lady who could play the piano with gusto, baked everyone’s favorite bread, and had a giant sweet tooth. I loved hearing all about her history, which really was part of the foundation of my own life. A few years ago, my grandma passed away at the age of 93. Several months later, I received one of her journals for Christmas. She faithfully wrote in her journal daily, filling up notebooks for every year. I cherish that little book and the stories it holds, they are important to me and help me keep her memory and stories alive for my own children.
You may not feel as though you have anything great to share, or you might think it’s not that important to take the time to write or type out your memories, but each person’s life is an adventure and is worth taking the time to acknowledge that in writing. The act of recording memories has also been shown to be a way to process events that have happened, get closure or find forgiveness, or pass down lessons learned. You’ll likely find that your friends or family members are excited to read your stories and discover things they didn’t know about you.
Here are some tips that I hope will get you started in writing your own story on National Write Your Story Day and all throughout the year:
Choose a medium to record your memories. Whether you choose pen and paper, a computer, an audio or video recorder, scrapbooking, or something else, choose a medium that is comfortable and enjoyable for you.
Break it up into chapters or sections. Depending on how long and full of a live you’ve lived, thinking of beginning to record your memories can seem overwhelming. Start by breaking your life up into sections based on your age or time period, for example childhood or by decade.
Start with the facts. Write where you lived, your parents’ names and occupations, where you went to school, your siblings and friends names, what church you were married in and the date, your first job, etc. We can sometimes take these things for granted as uninteresting or assume that the information is easily obtainable, but that isn’t always true.
Tell stories that are important to you. Start with the stories and memories that stand out or are of particular importance to you. Include what you were doing, how you felt, who was there, what was going on in your family or around the country or world. Add as much detail as you can remember so the story comes alive to others who may read it. This will also help you remember as time goes on.
Keep making memories. Finally, keep making memories! Make plans, try new things, spend time with loved ones, and keep writing your story down for yourself and others to remember and cherish.