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Writing an Autobiography

"Doing It Yourself Doesn’t Mean Doing It Alone"

Writing an autobiography is not as daunting a task as you might think. Everyone has memories and all you have to do is jar those memories loose and write them down.

If you want to create a literary work that you and others are proud of then taking the time to craft the words and tell the story in an informative, interesting and entertaining way will take some work. But, how to write an autobiography is not as difficult as you may think.

Start by understanding what an autobiography is.

Are you wondering just what is meant by autobiography? The Hutchinson Dictionary of the Arts states "an autobiography is a person's own biography, or written account of his or her life, distinguished from the journal or diary by being a connected narrative, and from memoirs by dealing less with with contemporary events and personalities".

Hmmm...ok, that's a mouthful. What that says is that if you write an autobiography it will be more than a "cut and paste" from your journal or diary, and that you will be going back into your memory and mining the past for those significant events in your life.

All types of people - rich and famous to average joe - are writing autobiographies.

"I never thought I would write a book, frankly I was honor-bound really to dig deep And bring memories perhaps that had been suppressed for a long time I would have preferred perhaps to have remained in the sediment of my life.

But having done that, going through this process, I now feel so much better. I've really forgiven people in my life and I've forgiven myself I feel much lighter because of it so the process has been wonderful.

I'm advising everyone I meet, all my friends, people on the street 'Write your own book, whether you publish it or not, it feels really good'."


Sting

From an interview with Katie Couric on the Today Show (aired Nov 4, 2003). Sting (former lead singer for the rock group "Police" and solo artist) has written an autobiography entitled "Broken Music".

One of the greatest autobiographies written comes from the pen of the great American statesman, Benjamin Franklin. He wrote, "If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing." Certainly he did many things worth reading about. You can view his autobiography on line here.

Incidentally, in honor of Ben Franklin's 300th birthday the
Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary and One Book, One Philadelphia invited
today’s Philadelphians to submit a memoir of their own, using no more
than 300 words. At the end of the project – May 17, 2006 – a panel
of judges selected twenty autobiographies to appear on bus shelters
throughout the city. The contributors vary in age, from young to old, and you can find the stories and learn more about the project by visiting the Autobiography Project website.

There are some easy things you can do to get started.

Even if your autobiography is not great prose you can still get down on paper some vital information to pass on to others. To write an autobiography, begin with lists. Write down your favorite movies, music and authors. What are your favorite times of year, holidays, colors and places to visit? Who are the most important people in your life? List the dates of significant times and places in your life, like your birthplace, schools, relationships and jobs.

See, it’s easy to get started. Even if the notes seem sketchy at first you will come back to them and write more. It’s bound to happen as you read over your lists and you will discover the joy of autobiography writing.

Most of us feel this project is too overwhelming or that no one will really care that much about our life to want to read our story. That is so very wrong. We all have unique experiences and memories to pass on to others. We have all learned a lot in the school of life. Your friends and family want to know about you. If you haven’t already visited the What Story and Why page do that now for more reasons why writing your autobiography is a worthwhile endeavor.

If you keep a journal there is plenty of information there. You should also look through old letters and cards, photo albums and past emails (I bet you’ve saved a few of those!).

Keep a spiral notebook handy and take it with you. Whenever you have a moment and a memory comes to mind quickly jot down some notes. They don’t have to be complete sentences. Writers use this tool all the time and if you are writing your autobiography then you are part of the fraternity of writers. (Yes, you are the one telling the story and it is going to have your unique personality. Way to go, author!)


A highly recommended process is to create a Memory List
Write down the significant events and memories you want included. Use short sentences or phrases. Write as many of these as you can, but from your list you will focus on the 8-10 most important ones to form the basis of your personal history project. Discover more about the power of lists.

MemoryGrabber - excellent resource for writing your life story There are a number of tools to help you get your autobiography written. I came across one laid out in an easy-to-read format with tons of great memory-inducing tips. It is really a wonderful guide to writing your autobiography. The Memorygrabber from Family History Products has helped countless others tell their story. Michael Boyter really poured his heart and soul into this. It’s available as an e-book and you can download it immediately upon purchase (you’ll be surprised at the price—it’s practically a steal!).Find out more here. Michael backs it with a risk-free guarantee. CLICK HERE to get started telling your story!

You can discover some other interesting, even fun, resources I’ve found that are helpful to you for writing your autobiography (check out the research page). Visit some of the links listed below. If you discover that you really want to write your story, but you’d prefer to have a writer do it for you be sure to check out the Biography Writer’s Have the Right Stuff page.


Self Publishing
Consider making a ebook with your autobiography to share your life story with the world.

The Journal
This is an extensive site about the power of personal and professional journaling. It features The Journal software developed by DavidRMSoftware. There are some wonderful features and is very user friendly. Use it and you will have a great way to write down material you can use in writing your autobiography. Get an Up-Close look here.

Family History Products
Home of the Memorygrabber e-book to assist you in an enjoyable and worthwhile way to write your autobiography, you will also discover some other resources and helpful articles to create an autobiography or family history. Get a more in-depth look at what they offer here.

I'm a Story
Use the free I'm a Story website to write and post your memoir or life story. Or interview a family member and write about them. You can keep it private or share it with the world. Rolland Love, a fine writer himself, is the man behind I'm a Story and his mission is to get people to preserve life stories.


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