Using Old Family Quotes and Phrases
If you can remember sayings and phrases that were common in your family when you were growing up, then you have the beginnings of some great family stories. You can find writing prompts all over the internet but here we’ll focus on quotes and phrases as creative writing prompts for family history.
You really don’t need to write an entire book to tell a great family story. A few short sentences describing a person or a day in the life of your family is sufficient for a fun story and a glimpse into a part of an ancestor’s life.
How to use your creative writing prompts for family history:
I’d suggest you keep it SHORT. Using one phrase or quote helps keep the topic of your memory concise. Can you think of one phrase that you remember someone in your family saying a lot?
I asked some friends of mine on social media if they would share some quotes they remember their parents saying when they were younger.
Here are a few of the quotes, sayings, idioms, and one-liners that my friends remembered:
- Cry me a river and I’ll buy you a boat.
- I’ll give you something to cry about.
- You have until the count of 5.
- That went over like a lead balloon.
- Monkey see monkey do.
- I wish I had a nickel every time I heard someone say that.
- Don’t waste your food because there are children starving around the world.
- I’m not made of money.
- Do you think money grows on trees?
- See ya later alligator.
- If she told you to jump off a bridge would you do that too?
- Penny for your thoughts.
- Be sure to wear clean underwear.
- I wasn’t born yesterday.
- Were you born in a barn?
Your Best Family Quotes and Sayings
Take a few minutes to recall as many sayings as possible. If you get stuck, email your friends and relatives and ask what sayings they remember. Select one and write the answers to these questions:
- Who said it?
- Why did they say it?
- Whom did they say it to?
- Describe where they were when they said it.
- Add any other nuances that will recreate a time when you remember hearing that phrase.
Telling a short and simple story about a childhood memory is valuable by itself and doesn’t need to be part of a huge memoir project. Phrases, quotes, and idioms are already colorful sayings that add personality to liven up a moment in our life. Just add the personal details!
WRITING PROMPTS: You can find more than 30 unique and fresh writing prompts in my post Oral History Prompts and Family History Questions
CREATIVE WRITING IN DEPTH: If you would like to get work on creative writing skills, there are great tips in this post How To Write A Memoir: 7 Creative Ways To Tell A Powerful Story
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