The Path to an Autobiography: Putting Your Life Story on Paper


Why Write an Autobiography?

The reasons behind writing an autobiography are as myriad as the thousands upon thousands of people who write them. Perhaps you came across the memoirs of your beloved grandfather and, having so deeply enjoyed reading it, you want to put the story of your own life into words so your grandchildren can find them one day and treasure it as much as you had. Or perhaps you want to put your life experience into words so that others may read it and learn from your mistakes.

The motivations behind the desire to write custom autobiography are endless - what is really important is that if you have to urge to write one, do it!

Remain Focused: See the Trees, then the Forest

Writing a life story is a big project, much bigger than a simple essay or term paper. It can sometimes seem so overwhelming that many who decide to try to write an autobiography give up before even beginning. This is unfortunate.

The stories of these people's lives may have been breathtakingly exciting, or may have even inspired future generations. Once you have made the decision to chronicle your own life story, try to remain focused, take it on step at a time, and realize that writing an autobiography is a long, arduous process. Don't give up!

Think of it this way: every time you work on your autobiography (writing down an important incident, explaining where your love of art came from, etc.) you are creating a tree. Eventually, after crafting countless trees, you have created a singular forest -- that is your life story!

Journaling: An Important Step toward the Development of an Autobiography

Journaling, or simply jotting down one's day-to-day activities, has become more and more popular over the years. This may be partly due to media-giant Oprah Winfrey advocating this activity on her talk shows, but the real reason for its increase is much deeper than that. People want to make sense of their lives, and there is a growing need to leave a permanent mark in an increasingly transient world.

Our culture grows more and more disposable each day, and sometimes it can seem as if people have actually become disposable as well. Journaling helps us to make sense of the crazy experiences of life and allows us to hold on the fleeting memories and emotions of what occurs to us during our daily lives.

Journaling is extremely helpful toward the creation of an autobiography because all of the daily events, as well as the specific emotions that were felt during those events, are prerecorded. With a detailed journal on hand, writing the autobiography is much, much easier.

Writing the Autobiography without the Help of a Journal

What if you haven't been journaling your day-to-day activities throughout your life? Can you still write an effective autobiography? Will you still be able to put the essence of your life into words? The answer is a resounding yes!

Truth be told, the majority of people who choose to write an autobiography don't have a detailed journal of their lives to reference. That doesn't mean that a good autobiography can't be written. All the important memories of your life, of what made you into the person you are, are all inside your head. You just have to write them down.


Organization. This may be the most important word of all when it comes to writing an autobiography. It is not enough to simply write a bunch of memories on paper, slap on title on it, and call it an autobiography. There must be organization to your life story, just like in a "regular essay" or research paper.

After you have accessed all your important memories and have written them down, paying a close attention to detail as possible, you must find some way of organizing them into a story.

The most common form of organization is chronological. Simply telling your life story as a timeline, from when you were born to the moment when you decided to write the book, and maybe even including moments while you were writing the book. This is the most common, and perhaps the easiest, but it is in no way to only way to organize your life story.

If you do not want to organize your autobiography chronologically, find what is most important to you, what you would like to think your life was about, and center it on that. It could be love, art, or music. It could be centered around how important butterfly collecting was to meeting your first and only love, and how that led to your current life situation. It can be organized around anything really, as long as the story is about you. As stated before, the possibilities of an autobiography are endless.

Your story should be told. No, it must be told. So tell it!

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