Step One: Begin crafting your family stories in photos and words

 
 
 

There are loads of how-to articles, blogs and books that give you steps to craft your family stories into photos and words. It sounds beautiful, and you quickly find yourself lost in the fantasy of having your family stories consolidated in a sharable format. Those self-help books and articles help you piece together your anecdotes, memories and legacy.

But then, your project still doesn’t launch. The idea still seems too fuzzy, or you can’t find the time, or you don’t know where to start. And you still don’t know if you just want to organize clutter (starting with the umpteen boxes of photos in storage), or tell your story more elaborately to pass on an heirloom of anecdotes and history to those you love.

Step one is about getting all of this into focus. You have to know what you want, shed the guilt, and give yourself permission to devote the time and effort.

Find your working style and work within it.

It’s easy to compare ourselves to others and fester on how we lack. But instead of seeing your style as a bad thing, simply recognize how you work. Are you a binge worker? Do you do best with a small task every day? Do you want a plan with steps, or a bigger task that you just hack away at until it’s done? How much do you like preparation? What are you best at in getting a project done?

By honoring and harnessing your method, you can flip the internal dialogue from negative to positive, and GET GOING.

Do you REALLY care about those family photos and stories?

The most important question to ask yourself is, “Why take on all this work?” In Bustle’s post by Torria Sheffield, 11 Ways to Stay Motivated & Focused To Achieve Your Goals, I found point #8 especially helpful: “Make sure it’s your goal.” If you’ve been thinking, “I should organize those photos and document these stories,” you might be seeing the task as an obligation instead of a self-made desire. Check in with yourself and see if you’re doing it because it matters to YOU. Consider the following:

What is your reason for organizing photos and family stories?

Think in terms of what you hope to achieve. It could be any or all of the following:

  • I want to share these photos and stories with family and friends.
  • I want to preserve the photos for my children and grandchildren.
  • I want to declutter boxes and decaying photo albums.

Who will you share with along the way?

I’ve been organizing my own family’s photos and videos in recent months, and found surprising satisfaction in sharing the images and stories as they’re unearthed. If you feel the pangs of not enough time or conversation with those who matter most, you can reconnect by simply paying forward what you find.  It helps you enjoy the journey. Plus, by reporting on your project to others, you increase the sense of accountability to get it all done.

What do you picture having once you finish organizing your photos and stories?

First, recognize that this project will take time, whatever your end goal. You’ll proceed—in small and large steps—as your energy allows. The end goal, at least as you have it in your head right now, might include:

  • A photo book (or several)
  • Photo collages and wall art
  • A digital library that is sharable and preserved
  • A book with the written stories to accompany the photos
  • A video slideshow of photos with your own voice narration

Now, take all these answers and get them written down.

Take a few minutes to place all of these considerations into writing. Call it a plan.

If we’ve asked a helpful question in this article, please comment your answer below and stay tuned for more posts. We’ll continue offering ideas and inspiration to craft your family stories in words and photos to share.

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