Writing About Your Life: Ideas To Help You Get Started
Writing about your life seems like an easy endeavor until you find yourself unable to begin. Where’s the starting point? Will anyone want to read your story? Why write about your life at all? Whether you’re writing a memoir or an autobiography, you should treat it as more than a journal. The process will involve more preparation and research than simply finding a notebook, pen, and a good writing spot and writing whatever comes to mind.
To get started, you must lend structure to your brainstorming session by thinking of aspects of your life like an actual story: the characters, settings, events, and so on. You may write down these details, type them out, or record them with a voice recorder—whichever allows you to simply ramble for now.
Use the following guide questions to make sure you have a productive brainstorming session.
Describe your family members: their defining physical traits, mannerisms, favorite color, favorite food, favorite outfits. Talk about your relationships with them. How have they influenced your life? (Yes, pets are family too.) What are some of your favorite memories and things to do together? What are tough times that you’ve been through with or because of them? Is there one family member that stands out for you?
How did you meet your friends? What brings you together? What has tested or strengthened your friendship?
- Places you’ve lived in
- Places you’ve visited
What makes a place feel like home? What are the things that you like and don’t like about it?
How often do you travel? Are there places you like to return to? Places you’ll be avoiding from now on? Is there a place that has affected you in a profound way?
What kind of work do you do? Is it your dream job? What do you like and not like about a workplace? What is your relationship with your boss and your workmates like?
- Your earliest memories
- Stories passed down by older family members
- Your memories of family gatherings, holidays, and traditions
- Rites of passage
- First love
- Goals you set for yourself
- Early/middle adulthood
- Your career achievements, setbacks, and highlights
- Highlights of your courtships
- The highs and lows of marriage
- Lessons learned from parenthood
- Late Adulthood
- Pivotal moments
- Important dates in history
- Unusual encounters
Has something happened to you that changed the course of your life? What successes have you celebrated? What crises have you weathered?
Did you ever find yourself in the middle of history being made? What was it like?
Ever met your heroes? Bumped into a celebrity? Had a brush with the supernatural?
- Do you play or follow any sports? Who are your role models?
- What kind of literature do you read? Who are your favorite authors? Which author or work has inspired you to become an author yourself?
- What are your favorite films? What music do you listen to?
- Who are your favorite artists? Do you make art yourself? What inspires you to make art? How often do you experience creative blocks and how do you overcome them?
- Do you have a hobby? What does it involve? Is there a community for it? How long have you been doing it?
- What do you believe in? What’s your spiritual community like?
- Did your earliest religious or spiritual beliefs follow you into adulthood? What changed, and how?
- What are your philosophies?
As the words accumulate, themes will emerge and help you shape your notes into a more cohesive work.
You’ll also get into the habit of describing people, places, and experiences with as much detail as possible.