We’ve had our playdate and captured some amazing images that illustrate what your life looks like right now. Your storybook is within reach! But there’s still one more thing…
It’s time to write your story.
And writing is hard.
Don’t underestimate yourself. You’re a better writer than you think you are.
Here’s a secret – Writing doesn’t have to happen with a pen and paper, or with a keyboard. A lot of people find it much easier to record themselves talking. You can use a recording like that as a jumping off point, or you can send me the recording itself. I can transcribe your words and make them fit into your storybook!
Settle in with your writing/recording device of choice and take a deep refreshing breath.
First, you have to decide what time period you are writing about.
Do you want to talk about what life was like before you had a child, and how your world changed when your child came into it? Or do you want to talk about the things you and your child have learned over the last few months, or years? Is this story about a specific event, or is it about the bigger picture of life?
Now it’s time to get to the point.
What is the central theme of this story?
Use the fewest words you can, and write down the gist of your story. Don’t think too hard, just write down whatever comes into your mind. Think about the things that have happened in that period of time, but “Mostly think about who you are today and how you got that way,” says Roberta Temes, PhD, psychologist and author of How to Write a Memoir in 30 Days.
Once you’ve decided what you want to focus on, it’s time to explore the stories.
Here are 15 prompts to get you started,
Try recording yourself talking, or make notes, about the following questions and see what resonates with you:
- What does it feel like to live your life right now? What is the pace? What is the focus? Who are the characters?
- How has your life changed over the last few months, or year? (or time period determined above)
- What was life like before? Do you feel nostalgic for those times or glad to be past them?
- What are some of the stand-out things your child has achieved over the past month or year? What about yourself, or other important characters?
- What has surprised you?
- What made you laugh?
- What makes you proud?
- Do you have any pet names for your child? Have they changed over time? Why?
- Does your child show any strong preferences for foods, colors, activities, music genras or songs, toys, etc?
- Does your child have any stand-out habits or mannerisms that are either uniquely them, or that remind you of someone else in your family, community, or society?
- What are the most common / important / funny stories you tell to family and friends? How do you describe your child in these stories?
- How are you feeling right now, after spending time thinking about your life with so much focus?
- What do you appreciate about your life? What about your partner, your family, friends, or children?
- What brings you a feeling of peace in life?
- What can you not imagine living without?
Specific questions for newborns, or for the first book you do for a young child:
- How did you find out there would be a child joining your family? Had you been waiting forever for news or was it sudden? Where were you? Who were you with? How did you feel?
- What thoughts / dreams did you have about your child, and your family, before she joined your family.