google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html Why Am I Writing This Family History Book? | The Armchair Genealogist

Why Am I Writing This Family History Book?

Why am I writing this family history book?

For some, it may seem obvious, for others you may have given it little thought. However, today’s post and question is part of a bigger plan, our plan for our family history blog to book project.

We discussed in previous posts why a blog is the perfect path to your family history book, that’s not what were talking about today. We’re digging a little deeper, and looking for the passion, the drive behind your blog to book. What's motivating that blog to book? What's fueling your story?  Without it, your blog will  have little passion and the reality of seeing it become a book is likely doomed.

There are plenty of abandoned family history blogs on the internet, many started with great intentions, but no plan. A plan starts by identifying your purpose behind your blog and ultimately your book. So many blogs lose their way, and that doesn’t just apply to family history blogs but the Internet is littered with abandoned blogs. Why? Because their was no plan. And that’s not to say the first plan will resemble the final plan, there certainly will be adjustments through your journey. However, without a plan, a focus, a purpose for your blog your likely to wander aimlessly.

There is lots of excitement in the beginning, the first post, the first follower, the first comment. But than the day to day task of producing a post sets in and many lose their focus. This is not unlike many trying to write a book. The novelty wears off. The work begins.This is exactly why you must identify why you are writing your family history story. What is your driving your passion behind writing your family history story, what is that driving force?

If you haven’t identified your passion; the belief in why you are doing this, then you will be hard pressed to convince others to read your blog and eventually buy your book.

You’ll refer to this plan over and over again, when you feel overwhelmed and feel you’ve lost your way, the plan will be there to guide you, it will be your roadmap. So don’t skip over this part, I know your in a hurry to get writing but take a few minutes to dig deep and identify  the purpose of your family history blog to book project. It will most assuredly put you on a more stronger footing for success.

Let’s answer the first question to our plan

Why do we want to write a family history book? What is the driving force behind your book?

Here are a few of the more popular thoughts

  • to document my ancestor’s lives
  • to put meaning to my own life
  • my ancestors have lived a remarkable life, it will make a great story
  • to leave a written legacy to my family
  • to make money
  • to be a published author
  • to sell books at lectures or webinars
  • to promote my genealogy skills to potential clients
  • to share what I learned in my genealogical research
  • I just feel compelled to write it.

There is no correct answer, no best answer, no one answer. Your answer may be a combination of several of these. Take some time to think about why you want to write a family blog and ultimately your book. What will fuel your writing when the going gets tough. Record it in your notebook, (we talked about this last week). Next week, we will add to it when we answer the question: Who will read my family history?

What is your driving force to writing your family history?

Do you have a driving force you want to add to the list above?

 Feel free to share in comments for the benefit of others trying to discover the passion behind writing their family history.

(This is part of an ongoing series Family History Blog to Book Project, be sure to SIGN UP for regular posts delivered to your inbox so you don't miss a thing.)


Ellen Taylor said...

I think I am doing this to share what I have learned with my big family of cousins, and so that my children and grandchildren will have a better idea of who they are. I also think it will help me justify all these years of research. What it is making me realize is that I really have more research to do, and what that is. At my age, I need to get it done!
Can you share some blog addresses so I can see if I am on the right track or not?

Debra Newton-Carter said...

Your post is quite timely! My most yesterday, Tuesday's Tip: Examine your motivation for writing, was a response to C.S. Lakin's post on motivation on Live, Write, Thrive.

As for my blog, the original motivation was to demonstrate my skills for a future job opportunity. I have redefined that motive several times since I began. I dad been pretty faithful to GeneaBlogger prompts to direct traffic to my blog. Now, however, it follows my efforts to process the details of my research related to the family history memoir I am working on.

I've decided to re-incorporate some of the Geneablogger prompts I had started in the form of the series Amanuensis Monday: The Civil War Pension Files of Isaac Carter, and picking up the new series: Workday Wednesday.

It can be a challenge to post on the blog in a way that my writing does not get off track.

Thank you for the way you always seem guide me back to center!

Lynn Palermo said...

Thanks Debra and Ellen. Ellen as we move forward I will be offering up examples,I don't want to get ahead of myself, but for now the first one who comes to mind is Linda Gartz blog The Family Archaeologist.

Mariann said...

Excellent advice, to have a passionate purpose. In my case, the purpose came first, then the book, and now the blog. I needed--I was even driven--to write a family memoir because my ancestors were slaveholders. I wondered about their psychological legacy on the family. Now I wonder about the psychological legacy of slaveholding and slavery on the entire country. My blog seems to be heading towards a new book about finding my mixed race relatives. Once a purpose occurs to you, I find, it's hard to affirm it within yourself. It feels as if the blog coasts along on my weekly thoughts and emotions. @MariannSRegan

Peg said...

I'll start with the driving force. I want a book of some kind to present to the folks who attend the family reunion in 2014. My great great grands, Daniel and Charlotte, were born in 1814, and the reunion is based on this. But I want my booklet organized in some fashion, with an outline, a theme, and common threads. My current blog has lots of family history and stories, but it is haphazard, with no defining borders. It serves a purpose. But I want something NICE to give or sell at the reunion. Something that is organized, from Daniel and Charlotte right down to the newest babe of this family. Of the 12 children of D and C, there are plenty of stories, photos, and history for some of them, only mystery about others. How do I reign it all in? If I do it in blog form now, it will be out of order by the time I want to print it. I have a rough draft in the works on MS Word. Perhaps my blog to book will just be a portion of this. I am just not sure where to begin.

Lynn Palermo said...

@Peg, you sound like me. I wrote my family history to sell at a family reunion, I started 3 years out. It was a coffee style book with narrative stories, photos and documents. I did not use a blog to start my writing, I wish I had. We will talk more about reigning it all in, organizing, tags will help tremendously with this. Where to begin, you already begun by knowing what the drive is behind your book and who your writing it for. Keep following along we'll get you there.

Peg said...

I started a blog for this purpose. I'll likely change the title, came just off the top of my head, and will eventually delete my thinking about the book blog posts. Its at I'm still thinking about how I'm going to arrange it.

Denise Olson said...

My primary focus is to write about the people whose lives have touched mine. I want to insure their history is more than just a collection of vital records and anonymous photos. I want to insure others know how fun, inspiring and creative they were.

I love blogging because it fits my story-telling style. I recently "published" (via Scribd) my first edition and as my story collection grows, I'll update with a new edition. One of the great things about Scribd is you can do this. Another nice thing about Scribd is that you can embed your Scribd publication in your blog much like you embed a YouTube movie.