Stepping Stones Blog

Milestone Memoir: an Introduction

Two weeks ago I shared my vision for a new writing project.

I have dreamed of marrying photography with writing for years, and Milestone Memoir is that reality.  The concept is simple:  accompany one photo (which we know is worth a thousand words) with a personal essay (typically 500-1,500 words) to create a comprehensive narrative to share with friends, family, and generations to come.

Now that both my parents have passed, as well as my in-laws, I realize the importance of documenting our personal history.  While I know their basic facts – birthdays, anniversary dates, immediate family connections – I do not know the stories.  This is due, in part, to the fact that my parents were reserved and stoic.  But it is also because I did not take the time to ask pertinent questions – to show a personal interest.  I do not want to make that same mistake with my own children.

Milestone Memoir may use scrapbooks as the medium, but it is the written story that takes center stage.  Decorative elements are used only to add visual appeal; photographs are limited to one or two per page.  The heart of the project is the narrative, combined with a personal perspective and emotional detail that only the author can provide.  Everyone has a story to tell … and this system will ensure the story is preserved for the next generation.

Over the next several weeks I will detail the process to complete this type of memoir, and I can assure you, anyone can do it.  Here is the basic outline:

Step 1:  Brainstorm a memoir theme

Step 2:  Brainstorm a list of possible “chapters”

Step 3:  Find Photos to correspond with chapters

Step 4:  Select only ONE photo per chapter

Step 5: Decide on the page layout and color scheme

Step 6: “Assemble” the page – leaving room for the final written story

Step 7: Draft a personal essay (500-1,500 words)

Step 8:  Revise the story

Step 9:  Add the narrative to the page layout

For those who are long-time scrapbookers… this system is not meant to replace your current method.  Rather, it is another way to document the significant events of life.

For those who have avoided the scrapbooking craze … this system is not about the craft, but rather the legacy we have the privilege to leave behind.

This is my passion:  to help others share their stories.  I hope you will consider sharing yours with those who want and need to hear it.

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1 Comment

  1. This sounds like a wonderful project! Reminds me of my genealogy research and the interesting things I found out while researching. Of course as a child I didn’t pay too close attention to all the old family stories, but I fortunately have a few I should record. And leaving a legacy for your children is very special!

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