Writing about your life, part 1

When you decide to write the story of your life, you wonder how you should get started, at least I did. Then I thought, “Start from the beginning.” So I began to write about being born during World War II and all the memories my relatives had from that time. That’s how it came to me: it may come quite differently to you.

As you move along with your story, you realize there are so many things you’ve vaguely forgotten that you wish you could remember more clearly, with more details. I was very fortunate to have my memory whiz sister Bertie (Roberta Elizabeth), who filled me in on so many things and even reminded me of people and events that I’d forgotten altogether. Sometimes we’d disagree about how some situation really went down, though, and that’s when I realized that an autobiography isn’t necessarily 100% true.

But I ceased to worry about that when I decided to put dialog in my book. I wanted to bring my story more to life with people having actual conversations. Of course I couldn’t remember these conversations word for word. In fact, I sometimes had to imagine how they must have been. But I’m not writing an exact history here, folks. What I’m trying to bring out is the essence of a life through many twists and turns, and I do whatever I need to do to bring that out, with the exception of making things up out of whole cloth!

Recently a friend asked me if a book could be written like a blog, in short segments. I said sure, why not? However your story comes to you, that’s how you should write it. Then, as you go back over it many times (which you will), you’ll find things that need to be removed and other things that should go into your story. Chronology doesn’t really matter, although my book is mostly chronological.

Writing your life story is a learning process in several different ways. First of all it helps you learn to write, or learn to write better, as the case may be. Then it inevitably brings new insights that can help you grow as a person. It’s one thing to live your life; it’s another to see it all written down in front of you. It can even surprise you!

Whoever you are, whatever your life has been and is about, if you like to write at all I recommend writing about your life, whether it’s in a journal, a blog, or an actual book. It can alter your perception of so many things and really open up a whole new way of seeing things, including yourself and others.

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4 Comments

Filed under the book, writing

4 responses to “Writing about your life, part 1

  1. Just getting down to start reading your blog…a bit at a time. And already….what a tantalizing start. Your use and mastery of the English language always promises a good read. Heidi

  2. awriterweavesatale

    encouraging advice since I’m pretty sure most of my posts are going to make their way into my third book -novel or memoir, who knows. But fact is I don’t remember half the conversations either. ONly the essence. And that’s enough to go on. That essential truth. Then you might have to think fictionally…

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