You have downloaded The Genealogy and Family History Blogger’s Almanac and found a topic that you would like to write about, but you are having trouble getting started with the first sentence or two. Every writer knows the feeling of staring at a blank page or screen and waiting for inspiration. That’s when it can be helpful to have a few reliable tricks; here are a few favorites to break writer’s block —
Be a Journalist, Find a Slant for your story — You want to write about Uncle Ernie’s expererience in the Korean War, but that’s a big topic. Maybe you can narrow the topic a bit by writing about how he was so eager to enlist that he fibbed about his age, just like his dad had done a few decades earlier. Now you have more focus, and a smaller, more manageable topic.
Be a Detective, Find the Five W’s — It helps to make notes as you brainstorm your topic. Jot down the five W’s, and fill in the blanks: who? (Uncle Ernie), what? (carried on a family tradition), where? (Hometown, USA), when? (19xx), why? (because his older brother and two best friends had just enlisted).
Be a Mason, Build the Foundation — Use the elements of the 5 W’s to craft a solid sentence (or two) that answers those questions. It doesn’t have to be especially elegant at this point, it just has to be solid. Uncle Ernie kept with the family tradition of military service when he enlisted in in the Army during the Korean War. Like his brother and best friends, Ernie would serve with distinction; and like his father before him, Ernie enlisted under false pretenses by pretending to be older than his actual years.
Your story is off and running. Fill in the tale with details about each of those five w’s, beginning with the most exciting or unusual, and the tale will take shape. Reread over what you have written to check spelling and grammar, and polish your prose. Then, post and enjoy.