Gather Your Tools!

Image: cute tools
This is Part 1 in a five part series on “Preparing to Write Your Memoir”.

Whether you’ve just started thinking about writing your memoir or autobiography or you’ve been taking notes and kicking the idea around for some time, this series will help you streamline the process and get it done!

Toolkit

At the very least, you should probably have a notebook to keep track of questions, ideas and other random thoughts that come to you, regarding you’re memoir. For those who plan to use photos and other documents, I’ve found two methods that work pretty well for keeping you organized. Read through them and see which things resonate with your style of organization and put together your own “Memoir Kit”. You should be able to find all of the supplies at your local office supply store, or you can grab them quickly right now from our Amazon powered store.

1. Keep it together in a box

  • Storage BoxBox – Use a box to keep everything together for your project. The size of the box will depend upon how many photos and documents you expect to use and the size of them. For sure, your notebook must fit in your box! It doesn’t have to be a pretty box from a store, but Amazon and office supply stores carry numerous options if you prefer one.
  • Notebook and Pen – Pick your favorite type of notebook and your favorite pen. Title the first page of your notebook “Notes and Questions to Address Later”. Leave 5-10 blank pages for notes in this section. Writing down questions and concerns as you encounter them will keep them from becoming roadblocks to your progress. Write it down and keep moving until you have a chance to address it later. The next section after this section should be labeled “Stories”. The title on the first page of this section should be “Stories I Definitely Want to Include”. You don’t need to write down the whole story, but just enough so you know which story you mean. We’ll talk more about other sections later.
  • Post-it Flags or Post-it Tabs – Use tabs or flags to designate sections of your notebook for easy reference.
  • Acid free envelopes – Use envelopes for protecting your photos and documents.
  • Shop for Supplies

2. Store it all in a binder

  • Memoir Notes and Photos BinderBinder – The size of the binder you will need will depend on how many photos you think you will have. A 1″ or 2″ binder should work just fine.
  • Acid free sleeves – Use acid-free sleeves designed for a binder to protect your photos and documents.
  • Dividers – You’ll want to be able to find notes about particular topics and you may want to organize your photos by topic or perhaps by where they belong. For instance, if you took 10 photos out of your green photo album and want to put them back when you’re done, you might have a divider tab labeled “Green Album”.
  • Loose leaf notebook paper – Put loose leaf paper in your binder and title the first page “Notes and Questions to Address Later”. Leave a few blank pages for notes in this section. Writing down questions and concerns as you encounter them will keep them from becoming roadblocks to your progress. Write it down and keep moving until you have a chance to address it later. The divider after this section should be labeled “Stories”. The title on the first page of this section should be “Stories I Definitely Want to Include”. You don’t need to write down the whole story, but just enough so you know which story you mean. We’ll talk more about other sections later.
  • Binder Cover Page – If your binder has a clear front that allows you to slip in a cover page, you can download and print one of our pre-designed cover pages for your binder.
  • Shop for Supplies

“Preparing to Write Your Memoir” – a five part series

  1. Gather Your Tools– You Are Here
  2. Getting Out of the Gate
  3. Test Your Dictation Tools
  4. Filling in the Gaps
  5. “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”

Image Credit: ©Palto/Bigstock.com

Gather Your Tools! was last modified: February 1st, 2016 by Val Brennan

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