Saturday, April 28, 2007


Timelines show a summary of specific events. History books break down major events. News stations break down crimes or someone’s career using timelines. Some authors plot novels using timelines.

Try creating a timeline of your life. The format isn’t important. Use whatever method works for you and give yourself room to write. You can draw a line across a blank sheet of paper or use lined paper and skip lines between dates, or use whatever other method works best for you. On one end (or the top of the paper) write your birth date. Mark off five year increments until you reach your current age. In between each five year interval, write a milestone.

For instance at age five, I’d write, “began kindergarten.” At age nine, “mother left,” and so on. Record births, deaths, graduations, marriages, or whatever else you can remember. When you’re finished, you can fill in specifics like names of favorite songs, books, or movies. What did you wear back then? Did you have “big hair” or wear bell bottoms. Did you have a favorite sweater or pair of shoes?

Use this exercise in conjunction with any others. For instance, you might want to fill in the timeline with the soundtrack of your life or historic events. When you’ve run out of things to add to your timeline, step back from it. Take a walk. Do housework. Listen to music, watch TV, or anything else to divert your attention. When you return to the timeline, note what stands out. What memories surfaced? Spend time freewriting. Save your timeline, so you can fill in things as memories surface. Something else might stand out next time.

As always...have fun with it!

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