Keep an ideas notebook, folder or electronic organiser to help you sort out your ideas.
Collate old material (clippings, photos, letters, certificates, etc) into carefully labelled folders.
Read other people’s stories, they will help you organise yours and come up with new ideas. As you read, you will find yourself enjoying some stories, disliking others and learning, learning, learning.
Start writing about yourself. Pretend you are sending an email/letter to a new friend. Describe yourself.
Write whatever comes into your head. You can always discard it later. Free associate. Write anything.
Just get the feel of what it is like to write.
Keep an open mind as to other people’s perceptions of you. Don’t get offended if you don’t agree.
Don’t get distracted by the task by telling yourself that there are other more important things you should be doing.
Give yourself some kind of deadline, even if it is very loose and can be easily changed.
Do you have a budget? You may need to spend money on travel, photocopying, paper, travel, a computer, printer, memory sticks, an extra hard drive for backup.
Decide where you will store your research material and keep that area free.
Will this be a book? A CD containing photos and voice-over? Is this just for the family or do you hope for a wider audience?
Ask yourself: How can I make it interesting enough that other people will want to read/watch it?
Do you have a ‘working title’? This is helpful when you talk to others about your work.
Perhaps overseas research is integral. How will you budget for this?
Consider choosing names is very important. Consider them very carefully. make sure they suit the character. Think ‘Charles Dickens….eg ‘Uriah Heep’ describes the character’s personality very well.
Always remember: you are the author of your own work.