Writing an Autobiography

May 9, 2016

What is an Autobiography?


"an autobiography is a person's own biography, or written account of his or her life, distinguished from the journal or diary by being a connected narrative, and from memoirs by dealing less with contemporary events and personalities."


I               Writing your Bio for the back of your book

                *             write in third person

                *             list facts, not wishes

                *             list your experiences that are relevant to why you are writing the bio

                *             add a “hook”:  an unusual hobby, or event in your life may be an option

                *             add a photo if you have one – it lets people relate to you

                *             list any groups you are involved in:  writers groups, etc. that are relevant

                *             you only have the readers attention for a few moments, make them count. 

                *             Write tight and precise

                *             one or two paragraphs should be enough

                *             be honest



II             Writing an autobiographical book


Start with a Life Map:


A life map can help you gather lots of information you may or may not know about yourself.  It is a prewrite to writing your autobiography. 


*             Gather magazines and catalogues and start flipping thru them and cutting out things that  “speak” to you.  Pictures, words, phrases, etc.


*             Get a large poster board or a binder with pages where you can glue these things into it

for future reference.  Categorize them if you can.


                *             Ask yourself questions about the clippings:

                                *             do I see patterns emerging here?

                                *             does anything I picked out actually shock or surprise me?

                                *             what do I need to do to fulfill things on my life map that are not 

                                              yet completed?


                *             Remember that most everyone has something important to say that someone

                              will be interested in.  Everyone has memories to share.


                *             Start by writing down everything you can remember from your past.  You can put

                               it together later.  As a thought about something or an event comes to you, jot it

                              down.  You can elaborate later.


                *             Make lists.  Lists of anything and everything:  family members, events, favorite

                              movies, music, authors, etc.  These things define you.


                *             Start keeping a journal.  Write in it as often as possible.  Even if you think it was

                              an insignificant day, something may come of it later.


                *             Think about the emotional things in your life and write them down.  i.e.  I am a

                              strong democrat,  I do not believe in abortion, etc.


                *             Write down your 10 favorite “Likes”….10 “dislikes.”


*             Interview people who know you.  They may be able to give you insight.  Especially people

              who know you when you were young(er)…family and friends.  They can tell you things

              about yourself you might not remember.


Regardless of how you start, just start making notes, jotting down thoughts that come to mind.  Carry a notebook with you at all times so that when a memory strikes, you can write it down.


Have fun with it!

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