Christmas Gift Guide 2014 - The Family History Writer | The Armchair Genealogist
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Christmas Gift Guide 2014 - The Family History Writer

This gift guide is near and dear to my heart. If your favourite family historian is considering writing a family history story in 2015 or if they plan on joining us for The Family History Writing Challenge this coming February then this list was designed with them in mind. 

1. Scrivener - This writing program will always be on my writer's list. It is by far the best program for managing family history writing projects. I've have videos to help family historians get started. It is the best investment for the family history writer.

2. Grammarly- A great investment for the genealogist about to embark on a writing journey.  A good grammar software program is a wonderful investment in your family history writer.  Grammarly is an automated proofreader and grammar coach that will catch more than your average word spell checker program. 

3.  Internet-blocking softwareA computer program that blocks the internet on your computer seems like a waste of money. Really you could just not open your browser. But it works.  You can block out your Internet and all social media, surfing and researching while you focus your attentions on writing.  We all know how much more writers could get done with a few less distractions. Check out Freedom, only $10. 

4. On Writing - A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King - One of my favourite inspirational writing books. It doesn't matter what kind of writing your genealogist has planned, this part memoir, part writing instructional book is pure inspiration. 

5. The Elements of Style by William Skunk- I keep this on my desk and reference it often. A staple for any beginning writer. 

6. You Can't Make this Stuff Up: A Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction by Lee Gutkind. - The cornerstone of compelling family history narratives is learning the art of creative nonfiction. This book is a must read. 

7. You Can Write Your Family History by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack. Sharon's book is where I started many years ago and I recommend it to anyone wishing to write their family history stories. 

8. Moleskin Notebooks and Pens and Journals to capture all those ideas. Every writer should keep a journal to help them practice their writing skills, jot down ideas and observations. 

9. Family History Writing Ebooks - if you'll excuse the self-plug, the ebook Getting Ready to Write and our new ebook coming out in January, Authentic Ancestors, Bringing Your Ancestors to Life through Characterization are both great tools in helping family historians write their family history stories. You can download Getting Ready to Write and put it on a jumpstick to give as a gift. Authentic Ancestors will arrive on January 7th, you can pre-order it today. 

10. Dragon NaturallySpeaking Software- if your favourite family historian is not sure where to start with writing, consider speaking software. Talking your book is a great way to get started. It can help a beginner get organized and get their  thoughts and ideas sorted out. 

You'll find easy links to most of these products below.