Writing Challenge Day 3: Set Up a Life Timeline

Just joined us? Jump in where you are. Don't feel you have to catch up, or to go back and start at the beginning. Just work on today's assignment. For more information about the challenge, read this post.


For today's challenge, you will set up a life timeline. Your timeline will be separate from whatever method you have chosen to do your writing, and it will be an important tool. Your timeline should be portable - a small separate notebook or note-taking app on your smartphone that you can keep in your pocket or purse. (I use Evernote on my smartphone.) Your timeline is the catch-all for story ideas that come to you at random times. It's important to capture these memories when they come, so keep it handy!

Here's how to create a lifeline:

  • Divide your life into loose segments. They can be decades, or life milestones such as infancy/young childhood, elementary school, high school, etc. 
  • Write a segment title on the top of each section of a notebook, or create a folder in your note-taking app if you're using a device.
  • When a memory comes to you--while you're writing, at work, or walking the dog--take a few seconds to jot it down in the appropriate section of your notebook. Just word or two will suffice to jog your memory later.
  • If you have a few minutes left, start jotting down what you can remember on your timeline.

Supplemental reading: "How to Capture Story Ideas on a Life Timeline"


  • Don't like today's topic? Not everything in the challenge will fit your life or circumstances. Pick something else from the archive or your timeline, this question list, or write more on something you wrote earlier.
  • Don't judge yourself. Don't edit. Just write. You will edit later. Now it's just about getting it down, for your eyes only.
  • If you want to keep going after the 15 minutes are up, go for it! 
  • Have a question or challenge or triumph to share? Feel free to comment below.