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Not Too Small, But Just Right

September 12, 2014

Susan Marg

Getting started on your life history can be daunting. It’s potentially a big undertaking, but who has time and what about the expense?

One way to overcome this stumbling block is to think small.

“Think Small” was the advertising campaign for the Volkswagen Beetle when introduced to the U.S. in 1959. Print ads displayed an image of the car on a blank background with very little copy. It was so successful in its simplicity that many credit it with changing the nature of advertising.ThinkSmall_Banner_Nov13b

In 1973, a book titled “Small is Beautiful” took hold of our global imagination. The phrase always stuck with me, and I think you can apply it to writing your life history. Here are a small number of suggestions:

Instead of covering your entire life, choose a decade that is particularly meaningful to you. Perhaps it was the 1950s because you had a favorite poodle skirt or the 1980s, as you were a fan of the punk rock band The Ramones. Maybe it was your twenties, when you struck out on your own, or your forties, after starting your own company.

Concentrate on a few experiences that changed your life or accomplishments you’ve achieved. Do you believe good luck or hard work played a role in the outcome?

Limit your topics to your hobbies or interests. If you’re an avid reader, write about the books that had the greatest impact on you. Are you a master chef in the kitchen? Talk about some of your favorite recipes. Whether you’re a sports buff or film buff, who inspires you?

Write about your friends, the places you’ve gone together, the laughs you’ve shared.

Focus on your family, be it sibling relationships or a family feud that’s lasted a lifetime.

I was having lunch with my mother the other day, and she, reminiscing, told me a story I had never heard before. “Do you know what a radiator is?” “Yes,” I responded. A radiator heated my first college apartment. “Well, when I was a little girl,” she continued, “I once burned myself so badly by leaning against a hot radiator I couldn’t sit down for weeks.” Thinking about the incident, she concluded, “That’s what life is, I guess, all those little moments.”

I agree. Now start writing them down!

© 2014 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

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