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The Timeline

The Timeline

Author: Karen Hamilton

The participant will 

determine moments in their lives that they feel were pivotal moments.

Find that important 'slice' of your life that defines the person you became.

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Making a Timeline

The important thing to keep in mind is that you will never get your memoir written unless you start! Start anywhere but START!

I find it easiest when teaching writing classes to begin with lists, progress to sentences then paragraphs, and finally put it all together.  I suggest that you do the same. Make list after list after list – this way you will never have a reason to cry Writer’s Block because your list of writing ideas is right on hand.

We will begin with the…TIMELINE

The backbone of your lifestories is your Timeline. This is an extended chart of the relationships and events that have shaped your life. These are the people and events that have made you the person you are today.

EVENTS IN YOUR LIFE: Here are a few to get you started: • an illness or a death in the family • the arrival of a sibling • the ethnic group you grew up in • the religious group you grew up in • a certain relationship with a peer • a failure or success at school • a decision you made to do or not do something • an external event such as a fire, flood, tornado, auto accident • marriage • children • career choices • spiritual experiences • divorce

This is but a few of the major events that turn a person’s life to one direction or the other. The list you make may be many pages long or relatively short. This depends on the individual. You may add to this list as you remember things. Include everything you can think of that had any impact on your life. 

Source: Karen Hamilton Silvestri

Sample Timeline

Source: Karen Hamilton Silvestri

Assignment 3

Source: Karen Hamilton Silvestri

Blank timeline to download

You can download and/or print this blank timeline.


Source: Karen Hamilton Silvestri

Pivotal Moment

Find your BEFORE/AFTER moment. What is the point – that dividing line – when something so pivotal happened that it changed you forever? You may have more than one of them.

Source: Karen Hamilton Silvestri


Feel free to share with others or ask questions.

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