Everyone has a story. We’ve all experienced some kind of trauma … whether it’s on a “Grand Canyon” scale or a “few dips in the road” scale. The important thing is, we all have our own personal map of experiences to draw on. And we all have memories that stick out of that map like little pins, poking us now and then.
Have you ever heard a song or smelled a fragrance that triggered a memory? And then that memory triggered another one? They may not have been in chronological order, but that doesn’t matter.
If you want to write your life story, all you need is a pen and paper (or a computer), a handful of experiences, and your memories.
You can start by thinking about a few things:
- special times in your life and what they meant to you
- how you see yourself as opposed to how others see you – and why
- dreams that have come true, and those that haven’t
- risks you have taken or would like to take
- the attitudes and choices that have helped define who you are as a person, and what caused them
Then start writing. Write about special people in your life, or about satisfying events that have taken place, or your participation in a social organization. These are all good starting points for your story. And the thoughts sparked by the suggestions above can help flesh your story out.
Here are three great approaches to what might at first seem like an overwhelming task:
- Write from the perspective of specific topics or themes that run throughout your life. Examples: Love. Death. Moving. Fear of spiders.
- Divide your story into major events and present them chronologically. Examples: Graduations. Jobs. Marriage. Divorce. This allows you to show more detail, express deeper thoughts and emotions.
- Reflect on your interaction with others, like family or friends, group affiliations or church. What attracted you to them? What did you (or they) have to offer? What did you get out of the experience? It’s helpful to include some history here.
By starting with a specific experience and then describing your memory of it, you will find the beginnings of your own life story. All you have to do is think it through and start writing. The great thing is, no one else has the exact same story to tell!
So what are you waiting for?
Good ideas. I’ve written lots of snippets of my past (stories of 100-1000 words) and have wondered if about pulling them together into one or a couple of collections.
I had to smile at your opening question on your book as I had lost all contact with my first love (6-7 grade) for decades and a chance encounter 3 decades later with someone who had gone to the same high school with her had the unpleasant task of telling me she had been was killed in an accident.