• Helen Gregory

'Auntie Enid, Dorset'...who was she really?

It’s often said that a picture is worth 1,000 words. That might be true, but look at this picture and it'll probably only tell you a handful; it’s an elderly lady, she looks kind and friendly….er, that’s it.

If one of your children or grandchildren were to come across it in an old photo album, there might be a barely legible caption underneath to give them a clue. Perhaps, ‘Auntie Enid, Dorset.’ Of course, you might be on hand to explain that actually, Auntie Enid was a spy during the war, an eccentric who kept tame ducks that you loved to pet on visits to her farmhouse. She taught you how to ride a bike and you like to think you inherited your love of drawing from her.

But what if you’re not there when that grandchild looks through your photos, and just flicks past Auntie Enid, unaware of those memories and stories about your much-loved relative. They'll have been lost forever – unless you write them down.

The same applies to keepsakes. You might be saving stuff you salvaged from your parents’ house, trying to separate junk from treasure. There’s the broken sewing machine that’s missing a foot, kept purely because your mother loved it so much. But surely it’s better to write about how your mother was a brilliant seamstress, made all your clothes as a child and even patiently stitched matching tiny doll’s clothes for you? That way, future generations can share these treasures without worrying about having to house them, or dumping them without realising their significance.

These old photos and personal belongings won’t mean much to future generations if you’re not around to fill in the gaps. They’ll make a much better frame on which to hang your life story; you can use the photographs as illustrations, and even take pictures of the objects to include in your book, which then becomes an amazing family archive.

So go on, clean out your loft and cellar, go through the old albums and tell their story in a life story book.

  • Helen Gregory

Updated: Jun 30, 2018

The biggest challenges to telling your life story are not what you might think. Unlike someone who’s writing a novel, you certainly won’t be stumped for ideas or face a lack of material. And it’s not as if you’ll have to do loads of research; your characters, events and feelings are all in your head. Going through some photo albums and diaries will usually give you all the inspiration you need.

You might think your life hasn't been interesting enough. You may not have been rich, famous or hugely successful, but your family and friends will be interested in what you've done.

However, simply getting started – just putting pen to paper - is tough. A good way to kick-start the process is by asking yourself a few questions to get you thinking about what’s important in your story.

Try these five for starters:

· Can you describe your childhood house and neighbourhood?

· Who were the important people growing up and what was their impact on you?

· What were the circumstances of your leaving home?

· Which friends have you valued most in your life and why?

· What skills or talents do you have and how did you acquire them?

Studies have shown that writing your thoughts down for a few minutes each night can help you sleep and improve sleep quality - even improve energy levels. Remembering all those happy memories will also give you a positive glow!

But despite this, a lack of time or writing ability often prevents people from embarking on a project, and honestly, that's where a life story writing service is such a good idea. You can simply enjoy chatting about your stories and a ghost writer will do the rest.

If you're ready to write, but need some help doing it, Memory Lane Books can take you through each chapter of your life, and produce a book that tells your story in your own words. So what are you waiting for?!


If you're ready to write your book but don't know where to start, contact Memory Lane Books and we'll take you through the process from start to finish! 


07799 764414