Everybody has a story to tell about their life. This type of story is called an “autobiography.” Like any good story, there needs to be some sort of outcome to it that offers a thought or teaches a lesson. It should be entertaining, but also as factual as possible.
This means knowing how to start writing a book about your life can be a tricky experience. Here are some steps that can help you to get started.
#1. Get to know what it means to be a writer.
In order for your book to be written, you must become a writer. How this feels is a little different to each person. One of the best ways to get started is to read the autobiographies that others have written. This can help you to see the structure of this book and help you to find your writing voice. Then begin to practice writing so that you can discover how to incorporate your writing voice into the story of your life.
#2. Know who will be reading your book.
Even though this is the story of your life, it must be told in such a way that the intended audience will understand what it is being said. Are you trying to market your story so that it can be mass published? Or do you want to write your story so that it can become a family keepsake? When you know who will be reading it, you’ll have a better idea of what stories you should include within it.
#3. Create a core concept to tell.
What have you learned during the days of your life? What lessons do you wish to offer to others? There is one core idea that must become the primary concept of your life story. It can be a tale of perseverance, overcoming hardships, or some other theme that is important to you. Without this theme, your life story becomes more of a set of individual short story memoirs than an actual autobiography.
#4. Research yourself.
Your memories are going to be the foundation of telling your life story. The only problem with memories is that they tend to fade over time. This means it becomes necessary to research yourself so that you can be as accurate as possible. Interview your family and friends. Look at family photos. Tell the stories you’ve always told one more time. Look at your letters, blog posts, and other items that you’ve created over the years. This will help you to tell your story with more consistency.
#5. Get organized.
An autobiography is usually a story that has a natural beginning and ending. You were born. You’ve lived through today. This creates a natural chronology, but this isn’t the only way to write an autobiography. You can also tell the story in a way that offers a natural progression to the lessons you wish to offer to a reader. If you’re overcoming an addiction, for example, the logical start to the story might be the reasons why you feel that you embraced the addiction in the first place.
#6. Stay focused.
When you tell someone a story, it is easy to get sidetracked onto a tangent. This might be fine if you’re telling the story in person, but it can be distracting when you’re writing a book about your life. Keep your focus and stay true to the ideas that you wish to convey. It also helps to eliminate distractions that might keep you from writing.
#7. Be as descriptive as possible without being overly descriptive.
Be descriptive, but don’t be descriptive. How do you make this happen? The main thing to remember is to write how you talk. This will make your autobiography seem conversational in nature, as if you were in the room telling the reader this story in person. You don’t need to focus on specific details to the Nth degree. Focus on the moments that matter instead.
#8. Edit your work, and then edit it some more.
The editing process can be difficult because you’re essentially reviewing your life story to determine what should stay and what should go. It is important to remember that this is a story to a reader, not necessarily real life, and they want consistency in spelling, grammar, and structure.
Knowing how to start writing a book about your life entails hard work, a specific focus, and an overall theme. Follow these steps and you’ll be able to get the creative process started.