Tips to Writing an Autobiography

Tips to Writing an Autobiography

Tips to writing an autobiography will enable you to get started even if you do not know where to start the process of writing an autobiography. An autobiography refers to an account of the life of a person written by the same person. It is simply a story that a person writes about themselves. You may be required to write an autobiography by your learning institution or write one as a great keepsake for your family and friends. Regardless of what motivates you to write an autobiography, these tips will be of great assistance.

Read other people’s autobiography-One of the best tips to writing an autobiography

Reading autobiographies of other people that have already been printed or committed to print is a great way of learning how to craft yours. You can easily find examples of autobiographies of great people on the internet.

Such autobiographies include:

  • Nelson Mandela’s Autobiography- Long Walk to Freedom
  • Billy Graham’s Autobiography- Just As I am
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

You need to choose a category of personalities that you find inspiring. It is also important that you read more than one example of an autobiography so that you can learn how to share the great story of your life with other people. Reading autobiographies that have been written in different styles will also enable you to determine the best style for writing your autobiography.

Understand the target audience

Perhaps, this is one of the basic tips to writing an autobiography. Knowing the persons that will read the autobiography will determine how you write it, your tone and diction. If you are writing the autobiography to be a keepsake for your grandchildren, you will choose a tone and words that are different from the one that you would use while writing for the public in general. While writing an autobiography for your family members, you may describe the people around you and family settings in fewer details.

However, you should include anecdotes and interesting facts while explaining your perspectives and memories of events. For an autobiography that targets the general public, you have to create a detailed picture using words so that they can understand characters and settings in the story. Take time to determine how best you can describe the events and people to strangers and what such people would like to know and understand.

Establish the core concept of your autobiography

A great autobiography has a central theme or idea unifying the whole story. This can be great faith like the case for Billy Graham’s autobiography or the secret for success in what a person does or used to do like the case for Benjamin Franklin. This concept can be seen as the major story in the life of a person. Determining the major or the reoccurring theme in your life will help you in weaving the story together.

Revisit your memories

This is also one of the major tips to writing an autobiography. It entails thinking about different times in life. This requires you to recall different periods, events and people that you have mingled with over the years and their impact on your life. You can look for family photos, talk to grandparents, parents, new and old friends, your spouse, current and former workmates among other people. These will remind you great and entertaining details and stories of your life. You can take advantage of family re-unions to gather such information. Including important and interesting details will make your autobiography more interesting. While doing this, try to answer these questions: What? Who? When? How? Where? Why? For instance, remember what happened, who made it happen, when did it happen, where did it happen, why did it happen? And how did it happen?

Organize the story/create a detailed outline

This entails determining where to start the story, how the information will flow and what the end will be. For instance, will you start writing the autobiography with where you were born and when or your childhood and your first love? Basically, you do not have to start the autobiography with when you were born. You can include the history of your family at the beginning. Include the details of your ancestry such as the lives of your grandparents and your parents. You can do this especially if you have interesting facts about your family and how your grandparents and parents influenced you to be the person that you are.

You can also start by sharing information about something that happened to you as a teenager and how it affected your life. It is also possible to start with something that happened to you while in college or your career, children, relationship or an event that occurred altering your life forever. One of the greatest tips to writing an autobiography in this step is that, regardless of where you opt to start, it is important to have a detailed outline that will keep you focused and organized.

Remain focused

An autobiography requires time and concentration. For your ideas and information to flow smoothly and coherently, you must remain focused. Find time when you can go to a quiet place every day to write the autobiography. This will enable you to immerse yourself in your memories as your thoughts and ideas flow smoothly and in a coherent manner. You can opt to write in the early hours of every day or late night hours. Just find time that you find suitable for you and then make writing the story every day your appointment.

Have inspiring items surround the place where you write the autobiography from. These can be inspirational quotes or family photos. Being focused can be difficult but if you are committed with a mission statement describing your inspiration, you will get through the writing process by referring to it any time your motivation goes down. If you experience writer’s block, take a break and visit sources that inspire you or give you more tips to writing an autobiography.

Keep your autobiography interesting

After writing a scene, read it before moving on to the next one. Find out if it has boring or awkward sentences or phrases. Make sure that every part of the autobiography will move your reader smoothly and in an entertaining manner. Make your autobiography charming by including relevant and interesting characters. For instance, your ex-girlfriends or ex-boyfriends can make scenes more interesting. The enemies that you had in life and how they affected you can also make your story more interesting. Talk about mentors, bosses, coaches and teachers who may have influenced your life.

If you had a role model or a personality that you admired, include them in the story with a brief explanation of how they impacted on your life. Remember that if you write a scene and then realize that it has long sentences, unnecessary wording and details, you should cut them out to make the autobiography interesting and easy to read. Make your writing as descriptive as possible. You can do this by having a mental picture.

Use the right writing tools

In case you face challenges, look for autobiography templates. These are available online and in books. These tools will help you determine the questions that you should answer in every part of the autobiography and how to answer them. Other important tools include word processing and thesaurus dictionary. These will help you in every step of writing the autobiography. Avoid using complicated or big words in order to impress the readers. Among the major tips to writing an autobiography that you should always remember is to use a language that enables you to tell the story better.

Edit your autobiography

Even professional writers have difficulties in editing their work. However, editing is very important in improving the final autobiography that you present to readers. Therefore, consider enlisting a professional editing service or asking capable friends to read your draft and then suggest corrections. This will make finishing the autobiography easier. Nevertheless, make sure that there are no grammar and spelling mistakes in the final autobiography. Remember that you do not have to make all changes that family members or friends suggest. You are the author and unless a professional editor say otherwise, the final say lies with you.

Bonus tip

Before considering the autobiography complete, put it away for some weeks and then go through it afresh. Find out if it says what you wanted to say. Also find out if you missed some stories or events while writing the autobiography. Nevertheless, do not strive to become a perfectionist and want to make your autobiography the best book that has ever been written. Just make sure that your autobiography tells the story of your real life in the best way that you can.

Writing an autobiography can be enjoyable and enlightening. However, it can be challenging especially if you cannot follow these tips to writing an autobiography or you do not have time for writing it. Nevertheless, you do not have to struggle with the autobiography especially if you have a tight schedule or other reasons that hinder you from writing a good autobiography. Simply contact us for more tips or professional help with an autobiography.


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