How to Write an Autobiography

Letters that say "About Me"_For AutobiographyAn autobiography is the account of a life written by the subject and is based on that person’s memory.

Although an autobiography is subjective, some sociologists have noted the autobiography offers the author the opportunity to rewrite history.

Anyone can write an autobiography, and it can be a fun project. To make the process efficient and effective, it will help to be organized.

Keeping notes in order will help keep your focus and events in chronological order. Begin by jotting down notes on index cards or scribble them down on a pad of paper or use a word processing program and establish notes in an electronic file.

One of the important decisions to make is the cutoff date for the autobiography. Your story may conclude at a certain milestone or event, or it may be a continuing effort until reasonable thought has diminished to the point of no return.

Another important decision is to identify the reading audience. This will determine the tone of the autobiography. An autobiography written for the general public may take on a more formal tone than one written for the family history book.

Create an outline of the events and incidents to be included in your story. Begin at a time before you were born and highlight where your family came from and why they settled where they did. That will offer readers a flavor of what is to come and establish your place in the story. Write down everything you can think of and edit the list later on. (Find out more about how to create an outline)

When writing, include details to enrich the content. That will give readers the opportunity to draw a parallel between their lives and your story, making it more compelling. Details will help readers understand events they have never experienced before and draw them further into your story.

To help remember the details, review old photographs, interview others in the photographs and family members and friends who may be familiar with the event. An afternoon of reminiscing over coffee or lunch will help jog the way back memory bank.

Establishing daily or weekly writing goals will help expedite the project and give some definition to the time frame to complete the project. Without goals, it will be tempting to postpone the writing process in favor of other things and not complete the project.

Complete your first pass through your autobiography without editing. There will be time for editing and reorganizing thoughts after a draft is complete. Editing as you go along may allow events and facts to escape and important thoughts may be passed over and forgotten.

Ask a trusted family member or friend to read your final draft and offer suggestions and criticism. They may add facts to an event or milestone or perhaps remember something a little differently than you that could turn out to be a little closer to the facts.

Also, take a look at this article about writing your Memoir.

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