Simple Steps to Writing Your Autobiography

Writing your autobiography can be a challenging experience.

An autobiography can be a great way of remembering your life. It can be a rewarding experience and, if written well, it could even make you some money.

Breaking the process down into simple steps will make starting your autobiography much easier. Here are some tips to get you on your way.

1. Lists

Compiling a list of significant events in your life will help you to begin thinking about what you want to include in your autobiography.

Try organizing

Try organizing the list in chronological order, using a time line to give it a sense of structure. This will also help you visualize how your life has progressed from one event to the next.

2. Friends and Family

Your friends and family often prove themselves to be valuable sources of information.

  • Ask them for memorable events or quotes from your life.
  • Quiz them on what they believe are your strongest traits and abilities.

You may decide to construct a questionnaire or simply take notes during an informal conversation with them.

3. Lessons

Look through the list of key events and ponder what lessons you may have learned from these events, and then seek to convey this wisdom through your autobiography to give the events a sense of purpose to the reader.

4. Angle

It is important to decide what angle your autobiography is going to take.

An autobiography does not necessarily have to be a best-seller; it could be a private account of your life, intended only for close friends or family. Making this decision will help you to understand what format your autobiography is going to adopt -- it may be an informative family history or an entertaining best-seller.

5. Order

When writing your autobiography, you need to have a structure. It must flow from one event to the next as it tells the story of your life. If it lacks order, it may jump randomly from one event to the next, resulting in a disjointed read.

Before you begin, decide whether the book will present information in ​chronological order​, or whether you will choose to ​focus​ on one part of your life in particular.

For example, you might focus on motherhood, and present the rest of your life according to that.

6. Theme

Organize the stories you have collected into a theme.

Your autobiography should aim to convey humor or wisdom, or should intertwine both. Will the theme be a triumph over adversity or a commentary on family life?

Deciding on a theme will give you focus and help you write to a specific purpose.

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