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Blog 03.06.2022

How to Know if You Should Write Your Life Story |

Should You Write Your Life Story?

It’s not hard to find books people have written about their lives. Some writers are world-famous celebrities, while others are successful businessmen, businesswomen, or entrepreneurs. Some have managed to make it through devastating life experiences such as the holocaust or 9/11, while still others have invested their lives in an out-of-the-ordinary career or a career that has brought them into regular, close contact with the rich and famous. Looking at many true-life stories on the market may leave you feeling that your life isn’t interesting enough to write about. After all, who would want to hear from someone who isn’t famous, doesn’t know anyone famous or has never been through a life-changing catastrophe?

Truth be told, a lot of people enjoy reading true-life stories of other people, even if the authors aren’t rich, famous, or outstanding. True-life stories of real, ordinary people are relatable because the overwhelming majority of people don’t live in the limelight. Individuals enjoy reading about other people who have made it through life’s struggles or who simply have insight into a particular lifestyle, upbringing, or situation. It doesn’t matter where you were born, where you grew up, what you do (or did) for a living, or who you know. Your life is interesting enough to write a book about. The only question that remains is, how will you showcase it in the most appealing light?

Choosing Your Target Audience

Not every life story will be interesting to every single person. Before you start writing, choose a target audience for your book. If you are writing primarily for extended family members, choose stories and photos that would interest your relatives and acquaintances. If you are writing for professional colleagues (i.e., fellow schoolteachers or other managers), tailor your book to appeal to people who work in the same profession as you and would be familiar with terminology related to your industry and profession.

Are you writing your story to make a point or illustrate a life lesson? If so, you’ll want to ensure your point is clear so that readers have no doubt about what you’re trying to say and why you’re saying it. Make sure your book appeals not only to those who are likely to agree with you but also to those who don’t agree with your position. If you’re writing your life story to help people who have been (or are going through) difficulties you’ve gone through in the past, make it clear that this is the point of the book so people who will benefit the most from your story will want to read it.

Choose Your Format

There are several ways in which you can share your life stories. An autobiography tells the story of a person’s life from birth to the present. It offers detailed insight into one’s childhood, upbringing, youth, education, and adulthood. It may also share intimate stories about people the author knows, including educators, family members, friends, and colleagues. A memoir, on the other hand, talks about a specific event in one’s life. People who write a memoir often set the stage by telling a bit about their childhood, education, and/or professional life, but the main part of the book talks about a notable event, be it a traumatic occurrence, outstanding professional achievement, or unusual aspect of one’s life, work, or travels. Other alternatives include writing a collection of essays about your life, work, and/or thoughts or even writing your story as a fictional novel. If you are writing an autobiography or a memoir, it’s important to stick to the truth as closely as possible. Don’t over-embellish your accomplishments. Today’s internet sleuths are savvy at winnowing out falsehoods and will have no qualms about publicly calling you out on your misrepresentations.  

There is no one format that is inherently better than the others. Your target audience, the reason why you are writing the book in the first place, and the main point you want to get across in your book will all determine which writing format is the best option for you. If you aren’t sure, try writing a few paragraphs or even chapters in different formats to find the style that resonates with you.

Every single person has a unique life, thoughts, outlook, and viewpoints. This means your life is, without a doubt, interesting enough to write about. However, if you do decide to write about your life, you’ll need to put some time and effort into thinking about who would be most likely to read your life story, the format you want to tell your story in, and which stories and thoughts you want to put on paper. Don’t rush the process; rather, start keeping a journal and writing about your thoughts, feelings, and life stories bit by bit. As you think, write, and talk to others who shared important life experiences with you, you’ll gain the insight you need to share your story with those who can benefit from the wisdom, insight, and experience you have to offer.

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