“The story is one of the basic tools invented by the human mind for the purpose of gaining understanding. There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.” - Ursula K. LeGuin

Clarity and Intention

Photo of book cover: Our Family, A Legacy of Twelve GenerationsAs we enter into 2017, we need to wade through the sea of resolutions, our own commitments to ourselves and try to access our personal sense of passion and purpose. We reflect, what will this year hold? If you have been considering getting started recording and writing your family stories, or taking material you have gathered and creating a beautiful illustrated heirloom book, it is important to have a strong game plan. When I sit down with a client to begin the planning process, we work together to create the architecture for the project, the framework that will guide us as we gather stories and images and work towards the creation of their family’s book. It is easy to become overwhelmed and not know where to begin, or to get caught up in research and writing and lose track of where you are heading. By breaking the process into four distinct phases, it allows us to set clear goals and move forward with clarity and intention.

Step by Step

Though each family’s project is unique, the process of creating an illustrated heirloom book is typically divided into four phases.
Phase 1: Project Planning, Interviewing, Transcribing, Gathering Material from Family Members, Genealogy Research
Phase 2: Writing, Editing, Photograph and Document Selection, Photographic Restoration, Finalizing the Text
Phase 3: Layout and Design
Phase 4: Print Production

Begin in the Beginning

If you are ready to get started with Phase 1, Project Planning, here is a step by step outline to guide you through this first phase of your project.

  • services_MG_8023Gather background information
  • Create a detailed book outline
  • Identify the focus for oral history interviews and crafting questions
  • Conduct oral history interviews with selected family members
  • Gather visual and written material from family members
  • Transcribe the interviews
  • Conduct genealogy research (as needed)


Free Initial Consultation

Need help getting started? Feel free to contact us to set-up a free initial consultation so you can learn more about how we can help you write and illustrate your own heirloom book for your family. Ready to learn more and start creating, join us for our upcoming winter workshops.

Lisa Kagan of Family Heirloom Arts is truly responsible for all that is beautiful, logical, and complete in these pages. She is coach, editor, designer, and chief cheerleader for the ill-equipped, procrastinating wannabe writers of personal history. To her I owe so very many thanks because she believed that I could keep writing and would eventually get the story told.
– Emily Standish, Heirloom Book Client

Oral History Interviews
Writing & Editing
Book Layout & Design