Most family historians are compulsive researchers which is what makes them the authority on their family’s past but when do you stop researching and start writing. Some would say there is never a good time to stop researching, so why not start writing your family history while you are researching. Throughout your research you should have been thinking about what you are going to do with your collection of documents, photos, certificates, memorabilia, lists of names and dates etc. you have accumulated so as you can share your wealth of information and knowledge in a way that can be appreciated and enjoyed by others.
Other people might be interested
May be you’re not bothered about sharing your research or you may be happy just to talk about it to anybody who is prepared to listen, but you shouldn’t underestimate the amount of interest there may be amongst a wider audience. But the only way you will reach this wider audience is to present your research in a way that is easily accessible.
Writing can be as rewarding as researching
Writing gives you the opportunity to organise and interpret all of the information you have uncovered. You can’t just point your family at a load of boxes or a directory of files on a computer and expect them to appreciate the nuances of your family history – they really do need some help and guidance. Now is as good a time as any to start writing your family history while you are researching.
You don’t have to write a full-length book
Writing a full-length book can be daunting so why not start to build up your story in manageable bite-sized pieces. Starting small is ideal if you are a new or inexperienced writer because it enables you to build up your story piece by piece while learning the craft of writing. Just like many activities your writing will get better with practice and if you persevere you will soon have a collection of fascinating stories which can be read and enjoyed by anybody.
You can research and write
Just because you decide to start writing down the stories that only you can tell, this doesn’t mean that your research has to stop completely. Writing your stories is just another part of the process and you should try to approach it with the same determination and enthusiasm you have for your research.