An extract from the Foreword

In this book George Russell encourages us as individuals to follow his example and record our personal history. In so doing we will leave for posterity a legacy for future historians, social scientists and medical historians, to say nothing of our families.

The experience of recalling our history will be personally beneficial; remembering past events and happenings increases our self-worth and thereby contributes to our wellbeing.

I commend this book since I believe posterity will gain in the long term from those who contribute to the archive. At the same time it will help those who record their personal history to continue to flourish.

Dr Alex. McMinn MBE
Founding Chairman of Aughton and Ormskirk University of the Third Age (U3A) and Chairman of the West Lancs. Ageing Well Board

Have you ever thought of writing your life story?

'Digging up your past' is highly practical with illustrations of techniques used in writing the author's own autobiography, including:

  • Researching your past and collecting information
  • Organising your memories in a logical manner
  • Writing and holding your readers' attention from the start
  • Maintaining interest and producing a satisfactory ending
  • Publication of your work
  • Coping with problems like rejection, tiredness and writer's block

George Russell was born in Bootle, Liverpool and is married with two grown up children. He has a chemistry degree and developed surface coating polymers for several companies. For 16 years he taught study skills and word processing in an FE college. Many of the older students enrolled because they wanted help to write their memoirs or life stories and he became experienced in life story writing.

Following his retirement he published his life story titled 'Where the Bugs wear boots'. If you haven't already, have a look at the 'Bugs' section. He wrote 'Digging up your past' after he joined the U3A and met many more people with interesting lives and experiences that were thinking of writing their life stories.

Some questions

Who are you writing for?
Are you just writing for yourself, for friends and family or a wider readership?

Why write your life story?
To give as a gift or addition to your family history, to share life experiences or leave a message for future generations?

What is involved?
An autobiography is a record of memories, events and people in your life as you remember them.

What time period will you cover?
From your birth to the present, or just selected themes or parts of your life?

Are you sufficiently motivated?
Motivation is important; if you are unmotivated you are more likely to give up.

Do you have time to write?
You need to decide how much time you can afford to spend on writing.

Do you have a suitable place to work?
You need a place where you can concentrate with few distractions.

A major part of producing your autobiography is going to be gathering together information on events and people in your past. This can be daunting if you are getting on a bit and are somewhat forgetful, so record your memories as you remember them.

Collecting the information, also known as research, is basically a search for information from three main sources: recorded information in books, diaries, newspapers or the internet; by talking to people like teachers, parents, siblings or other family members and by recalling past events or people from your own memory.

Digging up your past costs 8 plus 2 P&P in the UK or 8 for U3A members at Horizons at the Scout HQ, Long Lane, Aughton on Thursdays 10.00-11.30am

© George Russell 2016