The Personal Legacy Document (PLD) is a new concept in legacy writing. I think of a PLD as a scrapbook of writings – a mosaic, a collage, a tapestry. It is a combination of family history, fond memories, and personal wisdom. The content is impressionistic: thoughts, feelings, positions taken, opinions held. What defining moments have brought you to where you are today? How have you made sense of your life? You’re not just looking back, you’re looking in.
If you think of your life as a smorgasbord, you could write about every dish in great detail or you could pick a few morsels to write about. We’re morsel pickers.
Most of you are not professional, or even amateur, writers. You are folks who have something to say about life in general and your own lives in particular. There are things you would like to say to loved ones, past, present, and future; important events you would like to document; wisdom you would like to share.
How do you do that if you are not an experienced writer? Traditional memoir and autobiographical writing demand time, skill, and a patient reader. Fortunately you are not limited to those traditional forms. Try something new – be proactive, be adventurous, be creative. As Apple Computer has urged us, “Think Different”.
At the heart of the Elderwriters approach to personal legacy writing are short pieces – sometimes as short as a couple of lines, rarely longer than a page or two. Short pieces are manageable. The planning, organizing, and writing are not overwhelming. They focus on one concept. You get in and get out fast. This is a can-do kind of writing.
With, or Without, Colleagues
We don’t all approach new tasks the same way. A good way to use Elderwriters: Celebrate Your Life! is with other people – a small group: a couple of friends, your book discussion group, members of your church or synagogue. Find a meeting place, set up a schedule – you’re good to go. The group will fill in the gaps, consider your questions, make suggestions, clarify issues, spur you on, cheer with you, and dry your tears. And you will have the privilege of doing the same for them.
Prefer to work alone? That’s okay, too. Either way, I encourage you to read all the chapters. Topics that do not at first seem relevant may surprise you. The other thing that may surprise you is how much better and more comfortable you become with writing as time goes on. Writing and remembering turn out to be good companions. The words come. You just have to write them down.
Is there something you’d like to say? Get to it. Personal legacy writing is energizing, engaging, enriching, and inexpensive. Elderwriters is for the writer in all of us!