Creating a Family History in 2018
This is the month of love so I will be focusing my efforts on the romances and families in my tree.
Write the story of your family’s origins. How did people meet and where? Interview them and ask for memories of their courtship and weddings. Pictures are great so it might be wise to scan or reproduce these as you find them and create a file to keep them together.
One of the most popular books for most non-professionals is a family history. Putting together a simple book that can be shared with your family members can be fun but it is also a lot of work.
Involving your kids, if you have any, can turn this into a family activity. Children and teens alike might like drawing family pets or houses where they’ve lived. Some will warm to the idea of self-portraits. Of course, the trusty cell phone can help them take pictures to include.
At some point, you can help them create a family tree. This can be helpful, but be aware that difficult issues can arise. Think of how each family member will react to the information included: divorces, deceased infants, suicides, adoptions, and other events may not be known by everyone who will see this information.
I will post this each month as a reminder to be cautious about information you share. Better safe than sorry!
Consider interviewing relatives, too; their stories are often treasures. Ask them for copies of old photographs of people and places. Don’t limit this to family. One of the things that makes these histories so interesting is pictures of friends, places of worship, schools, and favorite vacation spots.
I will be posting a suggestion each month for an activity that will help you focus your efforts. I think most of these can be done in less than four hours a month. You can spend more time if your interest is piqued.
Commitment to Your Art
There are few things as important to placing your work as knowing how to present it to publishers, galleries, and venues.
Learn about preparing work for submission. This varies by discipline. Consequently, you may need to learn the basics of writing an author’s bio as well as an artist’s statement. You will need to look at the audience you aim to reach. For instance, an author’s bio for a small literary magazine will differ from one written for a professional journal. Visual art, performance art, and music will differ from literary bios. This might require you to write several versions of your bio to go to different audiences.
In the long run, the time you dedicate to this will reduce the time it takes to send entries to prospective clients. You may need to add a current project or accomplishment when you send these out, but the main text will be ready to go.
Once you have created some basic bios and statements, you should update your website and blogs to reflect any new information. Update all of this promotional material at least twice a year. Don’t forget LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media profiles.
Make a note of upcoming deadlines in your calendar or files. Include a prompt a few days or weeks ahead to remind you to polish a manuscript or create a video or frame an art work in time for submission. Remember to thank galleries and journals that give a “heads up!” about themes at least a couple of months in advance. It makes planning easier for both the venue and the artist.
These steps should streamline your preparation for submissions.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
(Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life)
St. Patrick’s Day