Forget tidying the sock drawer – it’s the perfect time to write your life story

Date published: 14 Apr 20

34 people found this feature helpful

Forget tidying the sock drawer, forget decluttering, use this time to do something that will be cherished by your family for generations to come. This is the perfect time to write your life story.

A survey conducted by autodotbiography, with people over 50, reveals that 98 per cent of people who are asked, say they would like to tell their life story and the top reasons for not doing it are:

  • “I just don’t have the time.”
  • “I have no idea how to do it.”

Sadly, with self-isolation we all have more time than we thought. Spending time with grandchildren and travel is off the cards for months. So, time is no longer a problem. As for how to do it, I have helped hundreds of people write their life story for their family.

AutodotbiographyI passionately believe that everyone should write their life story for their family. I was inspired to start my online system by the untimely death of my mother, Peggy. When my mother died her memories died with her and I was left with so many unanswered questions about her life, her childhood, how my parents met. Even though we were incredibly close and spoke to each other nearly every day, her life story was a blank page. And so I vowed to help others to capture their life story so that it would be celebrated for generations to come.

It is particularly important at the moment for everyone to record how they feel about coronavirus and how it is affecting them. That way, families in 200 years’ time will have a first-hand account of life in these difficult times.

We are living history, experiencing an unprecedented situation, but even before coronavirus we have experiences to share with our families. For instance, when I was at primary school, in the 1950s our school uniform was a gymslip and beneath that were a pair of voluminous navy blue knickers with a pocket for a handkerchief! Can you imagine having to lift up your skirt exposing your knickers in order to reach for your handkerchief? Also, in the 50s getting a landline telephone was difficult and millions of people had a ‘party line’ which they shared with a neighbour. Children now couldn’t imagine a world without mobile phones and the internet. 

From people who have used autodotbiography I know that their grandchildren are fascinated and amused to find out about their lives as children and what work life was like in the 50s and 60s.

Bryher Scudamore founder of AutodotbiographyThere are all kinds of ways to tackle writing your life story. Handwrite it – but it is a shame if only one grandchild gets a copy, or write it using a computer, so you can create a number of copies. Use a smart phone to video yourself talking about your life, or just do a voice recording.

The real challenge for most people is what to include, and staring at a blank sheet of paper, or a blank screen can be daunting.

That’s where autodotbiography comes in. It is an online system that makes it easy for anyone, no matter how good or bad at writing, to create a beautifully written and lavishly illustrated hardback book of their life story for their family.

It’s a virtual ghost writer and a virtual book designer, a step-by-step system that holds your hand through the whole process.

My ideal scenario is a grandchild helping their grandparent to write their life story. With Facetime, or Zoom, or Skype, they can work virtually and share the time and create a beautiful book that will delight future generations of their family. It also gives license to the grandchild to ask cheeky questions such as “Who did you (snog) kiss first?” and “What were you like at school?”.

For those who want to write their life story but don’t want to use autodotbiography, I havey a couple of “How to…” pamphlets which I will send to Silver Travel Advisor readers and, for those who decide to use autodotbiography, I will make a 20% discount available. The discount code is  Silvertravel20.

Read more about Bryher Scudamore.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 4 Comment(s)

  • ladyoflarkspur
    23 days ago
    To add to my previous comment, my grandmother was very ill and no longer able to write her story. So my mother sat with her and interviewed her, and recorded everything. I would love to have had a written account of her life, but hearing her voice again is always lovely.
  • ladyoflarkspur
    23 days ago
    Some of the best memories we have are of recordings my grandmother made shortly before she passed away in 1987. I learned so much about her life, her struggles, triumphs, regrets, and everything in between. Reading about her experiences during WW2 when my grandfather was a soldier and she was trying to hold her home and family together was very poignant. It really filled in the gaps of my family history- sections I never knew, or puzzled about. I am so, so grateful for the tapes.
  • BryherS
    28 days ago
    Riversiderouge do get in touch, we would love to help you.
    Best wishes
    Bryher Scudamore
  • Riversiderouge
    28 days ago
    This might just be what I'm looking for. I started writing my life story a couple of years ago. Hope this isn't beyond my means.