How to Write a One-Paragraph Autobiography
Your life is probably the most important topic you can imagine, but it is also a huge topic, more than you could fit into one book. How are you going to do it in one paragraph? Well, you can't; the best you can do is to write a well-organized paragraph with a few important facts about your life. If you write well, your readers will walk away knowing a little bit more about you.
Briefly summarize your early life in the first sentence. State when and where you were born, and who your parents are. You can use this sentence to say something about how you feel about your upbringing. For example, you could say, "Moishe Incognitovitch was born on April 1, 1979, in Heck, Michigan, to Zippy and Marge Incognitovitch," or you could say "Moishe Incognitovitch was born on April 1, 1979, to the most wonderful parents in the most boring city in the Midwest." If you are doing this for a school assignment, better stick with the first one.
Use the second sentence to give a little bit more information about your early life. You can talk about your parents' professions, your house, your childhood, your school or anything else that strikes your fancy. You could skip all the way to college, or stick with elementary school. The details you choose will help the reader get a better idea about just who you are.
Write about becoming an adult in the third and maybe fourth sentences. Write about where you went to school, where you moved, what jobs you took or what you have accomplished. The sentence, "he worked a series of increasingly bizarre jobs after college before finally stumbling into a cozy position as assistant professor of Romanian Mythology at Miskatonic University" is an example of something both cute and substantive, giving the reader a glimpse of who the author is.
Write about where you are and what you are working on now in the next few sentences. You can name professional projects or life-changing events such as marriage, or you can simply write about hobbies. If you are writing about something trivial, try to be humorous about it. You don't want to let the reader down after discussing the turbulent years of your early life.
Use the last sentence to be cute. It is entirely optional. You can speak to the readers directly, telling them something about how you want to be viewed. For example, the aforementioned Moishe Incognitovitch might end his autobiography with, "He is generally thought to be very nice by people who aren't instantly thrown off by the fact that he spends his life studying vampires."
The purpose of your autobiography should affect your writing style. For example, a one-paragraph bio for a fiction writer should be charming and funny. One written for a professional academic journal should probably be more serious, and focus more on the writer's accomplishments.
- The purpose of your autobiography should affect your writing style. For example, a one-paragraph bio for a fiction writer should be charming and funny. One written for a professional academic journal should probably be more serious, and focus more on the writer's accomplishments.
Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has over five years experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.