Committing your life story to paper doesn't have to end in a book deal to be considered successful. What really matters is the insight you gain along the way.
You will need
- Conversations with loved ones
Step 1 Start randomly Jot down the memories that remain most vivid in your mind — even if they don’t seem significant. Chances are if you’ve remembered them all this time, they are the memories that are most meaningful to you.
Step 2 Review your notes Review your notes to see if there is a theme to your memories. Many autobiographies have one.
Step 3 Organize your thoughts Figure out how you want to organize your story. You don’t have to start at the beginning; you launch the book with a defining event, or even start with the present, and then go back in time. Or organize your life story according to themes.
Step 4 Talk to loved ones Talk to friends and family members to fill in memory gaps and to gain different perspectives on your experiences.
Be aware that the stories you include about others could adversely affect your relationship with them. Consider changing their names to protect their identities.
Step 5 Be descriptive Once you start writing, write descriptively. Don’t just chronicle the major events in your life; transport the reader with vivid accounts of how everything looked, smelled, felt, and sounded. Include dialogue: Snippets of conversations can really make memories come alive.
Step 6 Be honest Above all, be honest. An autobiography won’t ring true to your readers — or be cathartic for you — if you don’t bare your soul.
Did You Know:
Actress Drew Barrymore wrote her autobiography, Little Girl Lost, when she was 14.