Tips for Writing Your Life Story
Do your friends keep telling you that your life would make a great book? If you've heard it more than once, chances are you've got something there. But how do you go from living a great story to writing it? We've got you covered: check out our top tips for writing your life story.
1. Sit down and tell your story. Unless you've kept a diary, it's hard to recall every piece of your life. The first step is to tell the story. Type, hand-write, or get out a tape recorder and imagine you're talking with someone who's never heard your story before. You may not finish in one sitting, but the process will jog your memory and help you remember details. It doesn't matter whether you remember everything in chronological order, either: you'll organize the story later (see tip #5). The important thing is to get the story out.
2. Turn to memory triggers if you're having a hard time recalling the details of your life. Photo albums, letters, even report cards can help recall memories from time gone by. Listening to music that reminds you of specific moments in your life helps, too.
3. Be honest about what you remember and what you don't. If you cannot remember a moment in your life, it doesn't belong in your book. Don't make it up--just don't include it.
4. Keep a journal with you at all times. If you remember something, write it down as soon as it comes to mind. Don't wait until you get home or in front of a computer--trust us, you'll forget! These kinds of memories can be fleeting, so it's best to capture them on paper as they arrive.
5. Once you have all your material, it's time to organize your life. If you recorded yourself speaking, now's the time to get the audio transcribed. Create separate folders (either physical or digital) for each period of your life, and fill them with the relevant material you've generated. This way, when you go to actually write your memoir, you're not hunting through dozens of files to find that section on your first date or the day your child was born--it's already in the correct place.