Writing My Life Story: 10 Powerful Tips
It was Socrates who said the unexamined life is not worth living. He preferred the death sentence to being unable to examine his life.
He may even have said, ‘Writing my story is more important to me than living.’
Many would have you believe the past should stay in the past, but the wise know growth is impossible without reflection and introspection.
It is essential to look back into our memories, to understand ourselves in the present.
And what better way to do this than in a memoir?
A memoir maps an aspect of your journey, turning it into a written narrative of a moment in your life.
It creates a keepsake by which your family, friends and future generations will remember you.
A memoir can help the people closest to you better understand your unique personality.
It can also enable you to share the wisdom you gained from the mistakes and triumphs you made along the way.
However, writing a memoir is no simple task, especially with the decades and decades of memories you need to sift through and prioritise.
To help you get started, we have created this blog post. Read on for some tips and tricks on writing a life story to make it easier for you.
1. Keep Your Readers In Mind
Autobiographical writing is one person’s perspective on the truth surrounding an event or reminiscence. It must be as honest as possible.
You might want to Taylor how you write your narrative for the audience. It’s safe to presume how you want to write for your family and friends will differ from how you’d write for the public.
You want to include fiction-writing and non-fiction techniques:
Using fiction techniques doesn’t mean manipulating the truth. It means employing fiction techniques such as vivid scenes, adopting a hero’s journey structure and creating compelling characters to write a more captivating narrative.
This also includes finding a healthy balance between showing and telling. Fiction benefits from more showing and less telling, but memoirists get to enjoy a balance of both.
2. Write, Write, Write
The wonderful thing about ‘writing my life story’ is there is no need for invention or creation—only remembrance.
While this does not make writing a memoir any more straightforward than a novel, it means you will have more than enough content to write.
If you’re thinking, “I need to finish the story before Christmas“you must write, write and write to the last scene, then edit, edit, edit and proofread until you are happy with it.
3. Think About Specific Events
Memoirs are a subgenre of autobiographical works and capture a specific moment in the writer’s life. Memoirs cover particular events or memories rather than the ‘life as a whole’ focus of an autobiography.
When story writing, it is vital to remember to concentrate on one aspect of your life rather than meandering through your entire life journey.
Once you’ve found a specific point in time, put pen to paper and start scribbling ideas down. Keep doing this for different chapters in your life; you can then organise them later.
4. How Do You Want To Organise Your Story
There are many ways you can tell your tale, so knowing how you want to organise it is imperative.
For example, Do you want to focus on one part of your life? Do you want to skip from past to present? Or, do you want it to be in chronological order?
There’s no right or wrong answer for this, it’s entirely up to you, but having an idea of how you’re going to structure it will help as you write your life events down.
As mentioned earlier, try writing about specific periods on your life; you can then arrange them how you see fit.
5. Pick A Theme For Your Story
Adding a theme is an excellent way of getting people to pick up your book. When picking your theme, you should think:
- Is there something I want to share with people?
- Is there a running theme throughout in life?
This could be small things like life growing up with military or non-existing parents.
Any theme that a reader could relate to is a great place to start.
6. Get Friends And Family To Jog Your Memory
Remembering all your life events and what lead to those points can be an extremely difficult task. But you don’t have to do it alone.
If you’re struggling to remember key details from certain events, try asking friends and family that were there on the day.
They are guaranteed to remember pieces that you didn’t. Doing this can totally change your perspective of the life event or that time of your life.
The perspective that is given to you by friends and family in invaluable when your writing your story.
Ring up old/current friends, family members and whoever else you can to reminisce on the past events. What you learn might shock you.
You’ll also be surprised at how many other stories might come from that one. As they say, memories spark other memories.
7. Use Photos To Relive Your Memories
There’s no better way of jogging your memory than looking at old pictures, after all, that’s what we took them for.
Reliving old memories through your pictures is a blessing. And it can be beneficial when you’re writing your story.
Looking at pictures can help you remember the smaller details of that event by showing you who was there, what the weather was like and much more.
Dig out some of your old photo albums and see what you can remember.
8. Add Emotions To Trigger Your Readers Emotions
Writing your story isn’t about trying to know their socks off, it’s about knocking everything off.
And the best way to do this is by triggering emotions in your readers; this could be:
- Making them life
- Shock them
- Make them cry
- Make them happy
The list really does go on and on.
Take your readers on an emotional journey that inspires them to keep reading till the next chapter and beyond.
9. Use Video And Audio To Record Memories
If you not much of a writer, writing your memoir will seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking to record your story without writing anything you still have options.
You could start making audio or video recordings to your documenting events that happened in your life.
These recording could then be sent to a writer who can out all your stories in a logical order.
Working closely with a writer in this manner can be very beneficial for finishing off your story.
10. Enjoy Writing Your Life Story
The most important thing to remember when memoir writing is to enjoy it. Looking through the past might not always be pleasant, which can make it hard.
But the therapeutic benefits that come with it can be truly joyful.
Try to find enjoyment in the closure of past experiences and gain perspective on where your life went.
Nothing brings more emotional and psychological healing than telling your story from your perspective.
As Socrates said, and Plato later wrote, there is wisdom to be gained by examining every life.
As you reflect on your life and write your story, it is crucial to use literary techniques to produce an engaging and meaningful story that stimulates your readers’ imaginations and touches their hearts.
After all, a message is only as effective as its delivery. What are you waiting for? Start writing!
Get in touch
If you’re looking for help to publish your life story, we can mentor you or write your story for you.
Send us a message at Share Your Life Story. We make it easy for every person to turn their life into a meaningful piece of literature.
How Can I Write About Myself?
Writing about yourself doesn’t have to be as daunting as you’d imagine. It’s actually pretty easy once you get started.
If you want to tell your story, you want to include:
- Who you are
- Relevant information, good or bad
- Your achievements
- Personal details
- A friendly tone
- Reflections on your past and how it shaped you today
Following these steps will help you put pen to paper, and more importantly engage your audience.
How Do You Know If It’s A Memoir?
It can be pretty tricky to tell the difference between a memoir, autobiography, or biography.
In general, a memoir uses fictional methods to engage their readers while giving an honest account. Memoirs tend to be more of a collection of memories written by the person instead of a story.
Can I Hire Someone To Write My Book?
Many people will struggle to write their story, and it’s not an issue. More people than ever are hiring freelance writing teams to help finish their memoirs. Ghostwriters (writers for hire) are used to author a book on another person behalf without taking any credit for the work. If you think you’re going to struggle don’t be too proud of hiring a freelance writing team.