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How To Prepare To Write Your Autobiography

Unlike a memoir where the writer shares only a particular part of his life, an autobiography is a person's life story. It needs careful planning to ensure that it covers all the essential highlights in your life and shares your perceptions, thoughts, and emotions so that the reader can relate to the main character - you!

Our memories are fickle, and we mainly remember the events with the highest emotional impact in our life. So, how can you trigger your memory to reveal long-forgotten incidents and earlier childhood memories that can enrich your story?

You can start by creating a timeline with all the life events you can remember, leaving enough space to add memories as they surface. Start with occasions like your birth, school years, graduation, getting married, when your children were born, buying your first house, etc. 

Your family, friends, and others who were part of your life are valuable sources of information. As you remember the good (and bad) times you've shared, their stories can trigger your memories to reveal forgotten episodes. 

Freeflow writing can also help you to trigger your memory. Sit down with pen and paper (yes, it does work better than the PC!), and start writing about a particular episode in your life that comes to mind. It is essential to remember that you are writing without censoring or correcting anything. You are tapping into your subconscious. Because you are removing all restrictions, your brain will start making connections and revealing valuable information buried in your subconscious. Remember to add all these priceless memories to your timeline.

Dig out your old photo albums to refresh your memory about external things related to your story. If possible, visit these places in person. Even though it won't look the same anymore, a surviving landmark can trigger a memory, helping you experience how you felt when you lived or visited that place. Alternatively, do some research online or in your local library. It would help if you could get information about: 

- clothes and fashion

- your cultural environment

- places you've lived and visited

Before you start to write your autobiography:

- Select the key episodes that will form the foundation of your narrative.

- Tell people where you come from and the essential people in your life.

- Share the experiences that shaped your life, using the first-person voice to help readers connect with your inner thoughts and emotions.

- Be vulnerable by sharing your failures and showing them how you have responded to or recovered from them. It will help readers relate to you and give them hope to grow through their failures. 

You also need a catchy and exciting title that will grab people's attention and make them curious to read your story. Although you can do it before you write the first draft, doing it afterward is often better since the way you write and structure the narrative can influence your title. 

Are you ready to start the process? Arrange a get-together with your friends or family, grab the photo album, and start remembering the good old days!



- How to Write an Autobiography: 8 Steps for Writing Your Autobiography






Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Susan van der Walt