A family history book seems an impossible feat at times.
How does one convert years of research into some semblance of stories and organize those stories along with pictures and documents into a book? It is a monstrous task at best. It’s a struggle we all face. However, if we set our minds to it, a family history book can be extremely rewarding both in the personal journey for the author but also the legacy it will leave for generations to come.
As family history writers, we are not alone. Many writers regardless of their genre struggle to get their books finished.
Enter blogging, a concept that countless writers are using to help them organize their books and build an audience. It makes perfect sense for genealogists floundering with their family history book. Family history blogs have become increasingly popular for all the wonderful benefits they can provide a family historian. If you’re not quite ready to write a book, consider a family history blog. It can serve as an intermediary step to your book.
Organize Your Research and Stories
The beautiful thing about a blog is that you don’t have to have it all figured out before you begin. You only need to think about your next blog post. Blogging helps you to work through your research, organizing your stories, documents and pictures, breaking your project down into small manageable chunks one story at a time. Think of each blog post like a puzzle piece. Once you have all the puzzle pieces, you can begin to organize them into a book. Blog posts help you to sort your stories into book chapters, isolate themes, and develop your characters (ancestors). Essentially blogs are the ideal tool for turning what could be a very overwhelming project into small manageable tasks.
Establish a Routine
Blogging helps you create a regular writing practice. It gives you deadlines. Once you begin to put your stories in a blog format, you begin to feel a particular obligation to post regularly for your readers. You don’t want to disappoint your followers. There is no greater motivation than proclaiming a goal openly. A family history blog can be the public accountability you need to get the job done and your first step to your book.
Develop Your Writing Skill
Writing a blog on a regular basis gives you an opportunity to see what happens when you write consistently. Many family historians struggle with the transition from researcher to writer. They stumble around trying to find their writing voice and turning their research into engaging and entertaining family narratives. Writing a blog is a wonderful outlet for developing these skills, one that will grow with time and effort.
Writing a blog is free, which makes it the perfect training ground for organizing your book. Blogging your family history book will cost you nothing but your time. There are a number of free blogging platforms for those of us with little technical knowledge, consider Blogger by Google, WordPress or Weebly. Consider a family history blog as a stepping stone to the end product, free space to sort out and write your story.
If you post regularly, they will come! Readers that is, I promise. They will read; they will comment and I assure you that will motivate you to write more. No longer are writers expected to sit in secluded cabins out in the wilderness hammering out their books. Do you wonder if your writing is good enough, or if your story is worthy of reading? Write a blog and test the waters. Pay attention to the feedback, and use the information from your readers to further develop your writing skills and your story.
Developing an Audience
If you think your family history narrative is destined for a larger audience, then blogging is a perfect opportunity to not only write your book but build a readership and a platform. When you are ready to publish, your tribe will be the first in line to purchase your book.
Join thousands of family historians who are writing and sharing their family history through blogging. Enlist the world of blogging as your training ground for creating your family history book.
Are You Already Blogging Your Family History?
If you’ve been blogging your family history for some time then you understand the power of blogging. Don’t just stop there; curate your countless blog posts in a family history book. While sharing our stories on the internet through blogging has been an incredible outlet for today’s genealogist, we still can’t discount the power of paper. Paper has proven to stand the test of time. Paper has longevity. As genealogists, we want to ensure our research and stories will be around hundreds if not thousands of years from now. Technology has aided us well in our research, writing and sharing our stories for today’s generation. But technology is extremely fluid, so use it to do your research, write your stories and even share them. However, consider paper as a classic tool to preserve your legacy with generations to come.
About Lynn Palermo
Lynn Palermo is a family historian with a love for the written word. She teaches family history writing, including blog writing, creative nonfiction, and creating a legacy family history book at The Family History Writing Studio. Lynn instructs family historians on how to find their words through webinars, lectures, e-books and coaching. The author of her own family history book, The Waters of My Ancestors, Lynn knows all too well the challenges genealogists face in writing their narratives and is on a mission to rid the world of the dry family history story.
Connect with Lynn on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook through both the Family History Writing Studio and The Armchair Genealogist. You’ll also find Lynn at her website The Armchair Genealogist, where she offers readers down-to-earth advice on researching their family history.