How To Write An Autobiography

Photo by Austin Prock on UnsplashSome people want to write an autobiography to simply share their stories with their family.

Others want to engage a broader audience. Those authors usually feel strongly that they have life lessons to share with the world.

If you’re working on tackling how to write an autobiography, you have already overcome the first barrier of deciding whether or not to share your personal story with others. You know it’s worth telling.

Now that you’ve decided, where do you start?

Here are some tips to help you get going:

Consider writing a memoir instead

An autobiography tends to be a bit clinical in its approach. For one thing, you have the burden of starting with the beginning of your life and moving forward through your entire existence.

When writing a memoir, you have the luxury of selecting a segment of your life. You can cover only the exciting part, like when you overcame a particularly gnarly hurdle or triumphed over near-impossible odds.

Most readers agree that a memoir is usually a better choice, because it’s more personal and reads more like a novel.

Read a lot of memoirs or autobiographies

You will learn a lot by reading the autobiography or memoir of someone you admire. Pick a hero you adore and read up on them. Most celebrities have written a few books (or hired a ghostwriter to do so for them). Reading these personal accounts will help you figure out how to structure your book.

It’s a good idea to read each book twice. Read it the first time for pleasure, then read it a second time to thoroughly review how the author communicated her thoughts to you. Could you really empathize with what she went through in the story? If so, analyze how the author achieved her goal.

Research your own life

Photo by Clay Banks on UnsplashTo be complete and accurate, your book must cover more than what you can remember. You will need to become a bit of a detective and delve into your family’s history! Take the time to interview family members and ask probing questions to uncover details.

Here are some areas you might look into:

  • Events leading up to your birth and your birth story.
  • The environment and circumstances of your family (and the world around you) when you were a child.
  • The background of your parents and grandparents.
  • Difficulties your family overcame to bring you where you are today.

As you interview various people, you are bound to discover information you never knew before. You just might make interesting connections about why you are the way you are.

Digging into the past has a way of jogging  memories loose and bringing more data to the surface. Be ready to follow any new direction and ask a lot of follow up questions.

Organize and outline

Once you have all the information gathered, make a timeline of your memories so you have them organized by date.

Then make an outline based on the individual incidents from your timeline. Determine where you want your story to start. If you decide to stick with an autobiography, you’ll need to cover your entire life chronologically. If you opt to write a memoir, you’ll want to focus on a key period from your timeline.

Identify your theme or message.

Every story needs a good strong message.

What is it that you want your reader to learn? What should they walk away with after reading your book?

Maybe your theme revolves around resisting corruption. Or perhaps you overcame a handicap. If you persisted through an obstacle to achieve a goal, that often makes for a good theme.

These themes might not be apparent when you first embark on your writing adventure. Through your research and organization, good themes should pop out—and what they are may surprise you.

If you need a little help, please email me. Finding the primary themes of a story is one of my fortes.

Start writing

This step can be one of the hardest, particularly if you don’t have much writing experience. My advice is to just start writing!

Even if you don’t love the way it sounds, even if you feel like it’s no good at all, just get words down on paper. Don’t ever let perfectionism stop you. Remember that before you publish, you’ll edit; that’s how the writing process works. However, if you never get anything down in the first place, it’s awfully hard to edit!

So, my advice is always, “Write, right now!”

Ask for help when needed

Photo by Noah Buscher on UnsplashWhether you are a novice writer or an experienced professional, writing your life story can be difficult because it’s so close to your heart. Some segments might be painful to recall and write.

If you need help, ask for it.

Consult a friend, an editor, or a writing coach to give you a fresh viewpoint and get you through those sticky spots when you run out of ideas entirely. I sometimes coach writers at an hourly rate. It can help you push through writer’s block.

If you can’t write an autobiography, hire a ghostwriter

Have you been trying to write an autobiography or memoir for nearly a decade and haven’t gotten very far? You aren’t alone. Writing your life story can be challenging.

Hire a ghostwriter. Professional writers are well trained in storytelling and research. Their level of assistance can range from minor help with re-writes and research to doing all the writing themselves under your name.

You will always keep the rights to your story.

If you’re not an experienced writer, hiring a ghost is the best solution.

As you embark on this new adventure of writing your autobiography or memoir, enjoy the process! And remember—Write, right now!

Additional articles you might find helpful:

Do you need help writing a book?

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

Should you hire a local ghostwriter?

Working with a Ghostwriter – What steps should you take?

 

Why You Should Become an Author

Most people want to write at least one book within their lifetime. It makes sense! For some, it’s a burning passion. They won’t be satisfied until the goal is completed. It is very unfulfilling to be stuck in the middle of a project, isn’t it? Contact me, if you need help.

Why do people want to write a book?

It’s been my experience that people don’t desire to write a book because they crave fame and fortune. Instead, they have something important to say and want to share that message with an audience. Maybe it is their memoir, or useful information in their particular field, or a just fantastical story. They seem to have a communication bottled up that they wish heard.

Hire a ghostwriter

While most everyone has something to say, many don’t have the time or skills necessary to put a book together.

That’s where I come in. I’m Laura the Friendly Ghostwriter and it’s my job to do what I can to help.

I speak from experience when I say that you will gain a sense of pride and self-confidence that’s unparalleled when you publish your first book. There’s nothing like seeing your name in print and getting reviews of praise from readers.

Writing the book yourself

If you decide to tackle your book project yourself, my advice is to write from the heart and focus on helping others through your message. Your book will stay with readers long after they’ve finished it, influencing their lives and the lives of those they talk to about your book.

Perhaps you’ve already started on your book, but haven’t been able to finish it due to time constraints or writer’s block. Whatever the reason, don’t give up! You’ll run the risk of leaving an important life goal hanging in limbo, not to mention all the lives that could have been influenced through your message.

Complete your book

If you’re reading my blog, you’re most likely one of the many people who yearn to see their words in print, to see their name on a book cover. If so, then I urge you to find a way to complete your book. Too many people let the dream of being an author go unfulfilled.

I’ve ghostwritten thirty books and have personally authored one, Chess Is Child’s Play – Teaching Techniques That Work. When I receive notes from readers about my book, it brightens my day tremendously. There’s nothing else like it! It’s wonderfully rewarding.

Whether you’re just getting started or already several chapters deep, if you find yourself stuck, let me know! I’d like to help in any way I can, be it offering writing tips and tricks, helping with self-publishing, editing or proofreading, or taking on your book project to free up your time. I have a large network of talented writers, editors, and proofreaders and can help find the perfect match for you.

Feel free to email me any time. I’m here to help!

Additional articles you might find helpful:

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Ghostwriter?

Should I Write and Publish My Memoir?

Questions for a Ghostwriter

It’s Good Business to Write a Book!

Four Different Ghostwriting Methods

Can I Be A Writer?

Are you asking yourself, “Can I be a writer?” If this question is burning deep within you, I want to tell you that the answer is, “Of course!” It takes hard work and dedication, but yes, you can be a writer.

Begin by writing about things you are very familiar with. Write about what you know. You can research any topic and write about that subject, but it is much easier to start by writing about what you know well. In order to write about something you must be knowledgeable about it. You can’t fake it. Your readers will be able to tell that you don’t know your subject and will lose respect for you.

Last year, I was hired to write numerous articles about mortgages. I had worked in the industry for five years. Besides being a mortgage director, I would also give seminars and lectures on the mortgage industry to clients and colleagues, so I was familiar with how to explain various complex concepts to people who were unfamiliar with the subject.

Even though I was a mortgage expert, I would still Google the various topics requested of me. After all, it was possible that there were angles I hadn’t considered or new information on the subject I could learn. Research is always an important part of writing.

I was surprised by how many people wrote articles about real estate and how mortgages work, who didn’t have a clue about the area. They obviously weren’t familiar with the subject and unfortunately would copy articles from other authors who were equally clueless. It was a mess! Because I knew the area so well, I could quickly sort out the correct information from the incorrect.

So the lesson there is, watch who you’re counting as an “expert.” As a rule of thumb, if you’re researching a topic you should find three articles that support a fact (but make sure the three articles aren’t duplicates of the same article). Most likely this will keep you from making an error in trusting the wrong source. It isn’t foolproof, but it has worked for me. Of course I use common sense as a guide as well.

However, the best way to make sure your information is accurate is to stick to subjects you know well, especially if you’re a new writer.

If you want to be a writer, you must write and write and write. Work hard to write your best and improve continually. Share your work with others and get feedback. Make sure to get constructive criticism from people who are more experienced than you and continue to write and write and write. Don’t let anyone tell you to stop writing.

So, for those who are wondering, “Can I be a writer?” please know that you can. Am I suggesting that you’ll be a best-selling author overnight? No. However, if you work hard and practice your craft, you can achieve your goals!