"Have you thought about writing your family history, but found yourself stuck from the start? Writing a family narrative can be a daunting task, but Karen Jones Gowen found a way to bring her mother's story to life." (Homespun Magazine)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Your Life in a Jar

I spoke at a Senior's Group in Salt Lake about my process of writing Farm Girl, and gave a few tips on writing from life. One of the ladies in attendance talked about something their group is doing called "Your Life in a Jar."

They meet once a week, and draw a topic from the jar, such as games played as a child, radio programs listened to, trips or vacations, meals, etc. Then they write on this, and they're ready for another subject the next week.

This is a great idea that eliminates one of the biggest problems in writing one's history-- feeling OVERWHELMED!! Most of us can write quite a bit about one topic, but when faced with the idea of writing an entire memoir, or personal history from birth to present? It's overwhelming to the most avid writer!

So there you go! Get a jar, start adding slips of paper to it, and when you have time to write, just pull a topic out of the jar to write about! Brilliant idea!


  1. This jar is a great idea.

    Sounds like your speaking engagement at the library was fun.

  2. Great idea! I wonder if I can adapt it to my fiction. Maybe I'll try tossing some scene ideas in a jar, and write whichever one I pull out first.

  3. It is absolutely brilliant. I know that when I think I have so much to say, I just can't get started. But throw out one single nugget to attack -- the words start pouring. The Seniors Group has it figured out.

  4. Oh wow!!! this is a brilliant idea - and so adaptable. Maybe just create a virtual jar - write down topics on word save it and return to the list later!

    Nice one Karen and the lovely ladies you spoke to,thank you for sharing this!

    Take care

  5. The jar sounds like a wonderful idea. I just started using bubbles. Which is working pretty good for me so far.

  6. Hi Karen,
    I love this idea; another use for those great jars! What a lovely idea; Sounds like your speech was a hit! It is amazing when we ideas flow like this! I love this~

  7. That';s a great idea. And for all the writers that carry around notebooks with a bazillion ideas jammed inside, just open it up at random and write!


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