5 Tips To Writing The Story Of Your Own Life
It seems incredibly easy to write about yourself. You know exactly what has happened and many events are very important to you. But if a good memoir could result from simple enumerating and describing of events, anyone would do it. Any person can tell about their life, but the point is to make it interesting to the reader. Here are some tips on what you should do if you are eager to prove that you are a real memoir writer.
#1 Try to Make a Difference
Sometimes, it happens that a story of someone’s life is much more exciting than any fictional one. Don’t think that your life is quite ordinary. Anyone has a unique experience and anyone is able to make it work for others. The point here is to put it in the right words and believe in yourself. We have plenty of vivid examples when memoirs by renowned authors didn’t interest the audience. We also have other examples when people of really great professions, such as astronauts, scientists, and artists, have made the stories of their lives the bestselling masterpieces. Even those whose lives are quite common are able to find their ways to reach the reader.
#2 Never Write for Money
A writer as a profession is very inspiring today. The times when once a popular writer could be penniless and die in oblivion are long gone. Today’s famous writers are wealthy and influential. That is why more and more people try to become writers. Some of them mistakenly choose memoir as ‘the easiest genre.’ Moreover, their initial goal is to sell their stories but not to convey anything to the reader. The overwhelming majority of such ‘writers’ get really disappointed with the result. So do their readers.
#3 Mind the Structure
There are many stories of real people’s lives that start like ‘I was born…’ Even if you decide to build your plot as a timeline, you have to expose your ideas at the beginning. Otherwise, readers will see it as a typical sequence of facts. Your story is to have a clear introduction and the development of the plot. The climax must be the most difficult part of such story. Because, unlike those of many fictional characters, your story has not ended yet. So, one of the main tips to write the story is to make the climax correspond to your main idea.
#4 Find the Main Theme and the Main Idea
Yes, the story is about what happened to you. But this is not nearly enough for the central theme. Try to be as specific about who you are as you can. From the first lines of your story make it clear why you’re worth reading about. For example, you run your own business. Put it as following ‘the one who managed to do something’ or ‘the one who faced particular circumstances.’ You have to stand out from the crowd. Don’t try to be superior or wiser than most people. It is not actually you who should teach readers something but your experience. The way you faced it and the conclusions you’ve made are to be the basis of your main idea, which is an initial part of your life story telling. Even the driest CV has the main idea, that is you’re good for the job, for example. The main idea in literature is different, but it is as important. It is a hard task to work it out. It can correspond with the thoughts the reader already has. But your arguments and standpoint are to be original. It only seems that it is impossible to copy someone else’s work when you write your own story. All the people are different for sure, but their ideas can be quite similar. Try to find your own opinion before you start writing.
#5 Live Your Life as if You Are Writing a Story
Presumably, you have something to write about now, but a person never stops developing. Your decision to write a story of your life is a great step forward, but it shouldn’t be your ultimate goal. Remember, you can write more new stories after this one is finished. It’s only up to you what it’s going to be like. Take new chances. Don’t wait for your memoir to be a bestseller. You can still succeed if it fails. On the other hand, if it doesn’t, don’t stop at the top! Seek new experiences and create new stories.
Even professional writers can struggle with writing their own story. First of all, it’s quite private, and some are not sure what they can reveal and what they should hide. Secondly, when the idea of a fictional novel comes to you, alongside it comes the plot. When you write a memoir, the sequence is quite the opposite. Besides, the lack of self-confidence can prevent many writers from picturing their lives. The task is really hard. But knowing the basics of the genre, creating a good plot, and believing in yourself will help you get into the exciting and diverse world of autobiographical literature.
Sophia Clark graduated from the University in the City of New York with B.A. in Journalism, 2011. She is a creative writer from New York who loves to share her thoughts with readers. In her free time, she enjoys writing fiction as well as reading it. Her big dream is to publish a novel one day.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal…check our About Us page for more. Also here is info on our On Classic Articles