Time on your hands? Create your life book with these 10 easy steps.

Are you old enough to be isolated by the coronavirus for some months? Then you’re old enough to have memories to enrich the lives of your children and their children and their children.

And, due to the ban on movement, you now have the time to capture it all.

Perhaps you’ve had the experience of sharing the odd anecdote from your past with a young family member. And seen their interest and even amazement. Now is the time to put it into one volume – with no need to pay to have it published.

Today’s youngsters – and those that follow – will love to know what you did at school, the games you played and the home you lived in. How you got your first job. What life was like before computers and when television had three channels in black and white.

That’s what I’ve just done. And here are the 10 easy steps for you to do the same.

1. Get an expanding file organiser – available online for about £12.

2. Identify the various chapters of your book – which may change as things progress. Perhaps start with ‘The early years’ – identifying your first memories and experiences. Move on to ‘schooldays. And my first job.’ From then on treat each decade as a chapter, unless you have an idea of what will work better.

3. Then enter the chapter title on each of the pockets of your folder. You could end up with a couple of dozen sections – perhaps more.

4. From then on it is just remembering – which doesn’t have to be in chronological order. Just jot down – ideally type up – your memories as they come flooding back, including your faith journey. And then put the sheet each is written on into the appropriate section of your file.

5. Eventually you’ll have a file packed with memories and all in the right order. If working on a computer make the pages A5 and copy and paste the contents of each document to make a continuous story with the chapters easily identified.

If you prefer to work on paper then merely collate them in order at this stage.

6. When you have them all together, read them through making notes of sections needing a little more attention.

7. Working on these sections, adding more details and instances from your life. Remember that stories are always more interesting than facts. And short sentences and short paragraphs are much easier to read.

If you are up to it you could also add pictures. But as you do so, try to put a caption on each one.

8. Create a cover based on what you decide to call it. I’ve called mine ‘A Hack’s Life’ because local journalists were called ‘hacks’ and I was that for many years. You may even want to add an index.

9. When you complete the contents, make sure the font is something like Calibri – and definitely not Comic Sans – and in 12 point for easy reading. And add numbers at the bottom of the pages.

10. Save the document as a pdf. To do that, click on ‘File’ at the top left of your screen, click on ‘Export’ and click on ‘Create PDF/XPS.

Now you have something that just like a book on Kindle or any of the other e-books. And all ready to be passed on to relatives, or even printed should you feel able.

The finished product will be treasured by your children and grandchildren and other generations for years to come. The impetus given by isolation will be a blessing to them and have provided an extra personal interest for you during a difficult time.

Have you taken steps to capture your past for the next generations to enjoy? Please share your insights here or on our Facebook Group.

David Hall

David Hall’s life as a journalist covered local newspapers, Christian magazines and being a press officer. Married with two adult children – one in Spain and the other close to his home near Burnley. In normal times Dave preaches and helps at Little Stars, the mums’ and toddlers’ group, and Messy Church at his village church.


  1. Hi David,
    Good idea and positive use of ones time. Do you remember our weekend in Swaddlingcote, and making a giant Goliath out of cardboard box’s?. Trust you and your family are well,
    Every Blessing

  2. Great article David. When my mum was in her late nineties we got her to recall her memories on a dictaphone. We told her to talk into the machine whenever she thought of anything, and said it didn’t have to be in order. My brother typed it up roughly year by year. He then produced a booklet called My First One Hundred Years. We then got her to read it back and we recorded it.
    Wonderful memories. I suppose I ought to do the same now I am eighty!

    andmade a booklet

  3. David. Thanks for this piece. Since I retired 20 months ago I’ve been thinking about doing this, especially for my grandchildren. In those months I have sketched out a couple of parts of my life. But your piece will give me a springboard to get on with it.

  4. Good idea. I think the main aim should be to share your conversion experience and the providence of God in your life. Some experiences may be painful others a delight. You can share what you learned through these.
    Your family will not only learn about your life and perhaps of past generations but also learn how God uses circumstance to put into practice what he teaches you from his Holy Word. Such an account should be an opportunity to show gratitude to God as you recall events. It will be a great and lasting testimony and can draw your audience to Christ.

  5. I forgot to say yesterday that my mum died peacefully eight months after her 100th birthday having sold her hand knitted children’s clothes at her church missionary sale a few days before.
    That was 10 years ago.

  6. Excellent Idea! Your article has sparked off ‘My Memoirs’ that I started on retirement in 1996 but have not added to since 2000AD. I found it helpful to check details with people who knew me at the time brother, sister, National Service pals etc. To begin with chapter headings were determined by where I was born, 1934, and lived, in the South Lakes, Schooldays, National Service in Hong Kong, Athletic Club & Inter-County achievements, College days, curacies, incumbencies, etc. I still have a number of sports day programmes, press reports, photos, etc and all my annual diaries from 1958 to check accuracy of detail. I must get going now that the clampdown has ensured our garden is in order! Thanks. I’m on my marks – to get set – before the week is out. Frank Bovill

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The word retirement is not even in the Bible. What is taught in scripture is transition. There is nothing that says you work most of your life and then get to be selfish for the next 20 years"

Rick Warren, PurposeDrivenLife