Genre Types

Why We Write: To Leave a Legacy

What do you think about when you hear the word “legacy”? Synonyms relating to this word include inheritance, birthright, heirloom, etc. A legacy doesn’t have to be a tangible object; it can also be a treasured word of wisdom, funny anecdote or memory that offers a valuable piece of advice.

Could your life story be considered a legacy you could leave to your family, bequeathing to them life lessons, personal insight and genuine encouragement for their paths ahead?

At Xulon Press, we come across manuscripts from time to time that are created mementos of authors’ life experiences and beliefs, to be given as meaningful gifts to their loved ones for the future. Each one is significant in its own right, as they capture what the author hopes to convey to his/her family about life and seeing events in life as stepping stones to a greater purpose and destiny.

Yet even when it is a compilation of stories to depict the author’s perspective about life, it is a good rule of thumb to write your story with a “game plan” in mind: an approach to maximize the effect of your stories on readers while minimizing their confusion.

When you have made the decision to write your life story, decide what the main theme or purpose will be for your manuscript. Are you a savvy businessperson that wants your life story to center on your knowledge of handling business morally? Or, is your story one about overcoming hardships through faith in God and wanting your family to come away believing with God nothing is impossible?

Keeping this chief theme in mind will help you determine what stories to include in your manuscript and to organize the stories in a way that will support the lessons you wish to impart.

As you start getting into the thick of story determination, take a moment to imagine the events of the chosen stories in your head. Ask yourself if you were to tell someone in person this story, would it take five minutes or twenty-five minutes? A person’s attention span can be shorter while reading than hearing the story face to face, so make sure to choose stories that will be easy to relate to your readers upon first glance.

Also, if your stories require you to explain multiple parts, or is more of an inside joke that carries a “you had to be there” essence, you may want to consider seeing if you can write a condensed version of the story with just the main points mentioned.

Finally, to help your family and readers understand the main lessons with your life story, place in bold lettering a brief sentence of the lesson to learn in each story or in each chapter of stories. This will allow your family to zero in on the guidance to take from the story and not have it lost to misinterpretation.

Making the decision to creating a lasting legacy from the events God fashioned into your life story will be one of the greatest gifts you could ever bestow to your loved ones. Why do you write? To leave a legacy that will last long after you go “home”.


Blair Townley joined the Xulon Press family as a Staff Editor in May 2013, helping first-time authors prepare their treasured manuscripts for publication. Prior to Xulon Press, she previously worked as a staff writer/editor for several Central Florida-based magazines over the past decade. What Blair enjoys most about writing and editing is getting to help others share their stories, helping others see themselves as the unique individuals God created them to be.

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