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Take the Challenge - Write Your Family History in 28 Days!

Too often genealogists put off writing their family history. They feel the research is never done and therefore they are never ready to start the writing.  

 As many of you are well aware, I am a big believer in writing your family history. 

  • First for yourself, assembling your years of research into a readable and sharable format is very rewarding. 
  • Secondly, genealogy has never just been about the research, behind all those facts and documents there hides a story. If you have done your job well, then that story will reveal itself through your research, now it’s time to write it out in an engaging format.  
  • Thirdly, it is the most concise way of educating your family about their history.

I recently read a blog post by Darren at Problogger, his New Year’s resolution was to be more of a producer and less of a consumer, and it really struck home for me. Take all that time you spend surfing the net, reading blogs, facebook, tweeting and instead turn it down a notch, and turn up the writing, and produce and create instead.


 Last year I produced a family history book, and it was an extremely rewarding experience, so I've committed  to producing again this year and cut back on the consuming. However, without a deadline and some initiative, you will forever procrastinate.


 Stop procrastinating, the research will never be done, take what you know, today, now,  and begin to assemble your stories.  Dedicate the month of February to sitting down and putting your fingers to the keyboard and write your family history.

In an effort to give many of you a giant push, The Armchair Genealogist is declaring February, Family History Writing Month and I am inviting you to join our challenge.

I am calling on all my fellow genealogist, family historians, beginner and advanced alike, to pledge to begin to write your family history during the month of February. 

You choose who you want to write about. You can pick a single individual, a surname, an entire branch of your tree, you can capture a moment in time, a decade, a century, organize it however it makes you comfortable, but commit to a number of words a day. Make a plan and get started, no more procrastinating, no more stalling. 


The Family History Writing Challenge
Feb 1st-28th
          A 28-Day Commitment to Writing Your Family History


The What, When, Where and How of it All

Why should I sign up?
To actively participate in an opportunity to write your family history, without having to worry about quality. The key to writing is to write.  Stop procrastinating; finally commit pen to paper or fingers to key board. Those family facts, finally assemble them into a format someone will read.

Whom Do I Write About?
A single ancestor, a surname, a branch of your tree, you pick.
You select the ancestor or ancestors, the timeframe, just keep in mind who you feel most prepared to write about in terms of research and interest.

How Much Do I Need to Write?
You pick the amount 250, 500, 1000 words a day whatever you can work into your schedule.
Do the math.
250 words x 28 days = 7000 words, you would be well on your way!
500 words x 28 days = 14,000 words, this would be an incredible start!
1000 words x 28 days = 28,000 words, you would be a hero!

Where Do I Write?
Write on your computer, ipad, typewriter, longhand (tough to do word count). Write in your office, at the kitchen table, the local coffee shop, the lawn chair (if your someplace sunny- lucky you), or beside a roaring fire (that would be me).

What If It’s Not Good Enough?
This exercise is not about quality. Very few of us can sit down and shoot out a masterpiece on the first draft. Newsbreak..... most of us take a half dozen passes at it before it is worthy of anyone else’s eyes.  This is about making a start.  There will be plenty of time to edit your masterpiece later, committing to the word count is a huge step to making it happen.

When Does it Begin?
The Family History Writing Challenge begins Feb 1st to February 28th. I am asking you to commit 28 days of writing your family history, in the hopes that you will get a running start and you will never look back.

Where Do I Sign Up?
Right here, leave your pledge in comments or link to your own blog post, no goal is official until you have written it down and shared it. Once you verbalize, you become more committed.  If you prefer to keep it to yourself that's ok too.  However, keep checking back or sign up through email, throughout the month, I will offer numerous posts to help keep you focused, offer you some tips for your writing and help you stay on track and reach your goals.  At the end of the month, you can share how you did again here, or on your own blog.

What is stopping you from starting your writing? Let me know, and I will try to help you overcome those obstacles. Meanwhile, you have the next 12 days to get yourself organized to start writing. 

Write your family history in 28 days, are you ready to take the challenge?