“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” - Alan Alda

Deciding which stories to tell…

One of the first things that a lot of my clients and students will ask me when they are embarking on the process of creating their own illustrated family heirloom book is, “How do I chose which stories to tell?” In the sea of stories that make up our lives and those of our ancestors, it can be hard to know how to focus in and figure out which stories are most important for you to tell. I usually recommend—go where your passion is. Ask yourself these questions:

  • If you could pick one story to tell from your own life as the basis for your own personal history project, what would it be?
  • How does this story make you feel?
  • What does this story say about who you are as a person, your values and your relationships?
  • What do you think that future generations could learn from this story?
  • How could this story help you to develop an over-arching theme for your personal history project?

I think it is more important to tell the stories that are meaningful to us with great depth and detail, than to attempt to tell all of the stories that we carry with us and in the process risk becoming overwhelmed. For a lot of people, it can be overwhelming to figure out how to focus their personal history projects, and in the process of not knowing where to start, it can deter them from getting started at all.

Start Writing, Showing Up for the Muse

Once you have identified a core story and/or theme that you want to focus on, the next important step is to start writing. As I am sure you have experienced, though this sounds simple, writing does not just happen, we have to create time and space conducive to expressing ourselves in this way. If we show up for the muse, the muse will show up for us. With spring just around the corner, full of its own natural sources of inspiration, this is a great time to deepen your writing practice (or start one) by giving yourself dedicated time and space to begin to tell your stories.

The first step is to make a commitment to yourself to start writing regularly. You can figure out what will work best for you, whether it is once a day for twenty minutes, once a week or once a month. As you build momentum with your writing practice, you may find that you can’t put your pen down… 


Release, Mixed Media by Lisa Kagan

Release, Mixed Media by Lisa Kagan

Quietly they emerge
some are seed words
ready to plant themselves
cross pollinate
some are shadow words
living in caves
labyrinths of roots and bugs
some are new words
some are God words
hovering in the universe.
– Lisa Kagan

Join us for our Spring Writing and Art Retreat…

Treat yourself to an afternoon of creativity and inspiration. This is a great way to deepen your writing practice and connect with others who are passionate about telling their stories. We have just a few spots left for our spring retreat, The Art of Transformation, Exploring Life Milestones through Art and Story

“The encouragement and support I received from participating in the Family Heirloom Arts retreat really motivated and inspired me. After a few hours dedicated to the creative process, once I got home I was able to start writing regularly again!”
– Jane, Retreat Participant

Oral History Interviews
Writing & Editing
Book Layout & Design