Writing Your Own Life Story by John Greeves Everyone has a story to tell and writing often comes from personal experience. Never think you’ve led a humdrum life and therefore you have nothing to say. My lifetime has witnessed presidential assassinations, the first moon landing and I’ve been part of the baby boomer generation of the swinging sixties. These events and other provide a backcloth to my life, just as succeeding generations have their own key events which shape and give context to their lives.
Like everything else it’s where to start. The best advice is to cast away those nagging doubts and begin. All writers have different starting points, some prefer to be highly structured, drawing up lists, outlines and clear objectives for their writing (don’t let planning however, turn into avoidance activities). Such a typical outline might include birth, childhood memories, school days, teen years, young adult, marriage, career, middle years and retirement.
What everyone possesses is a rich nugget of possibility waiting to be mined. Themes such as childhood, family, dreams, journeys, love, tragedy, humour and obsession all spring to mind. I know my nephews, nieces and even grandchildren are always badgering me for stories about my life. If this is the same for you, then it’s time to write it down and put away the photo album. Writing your own life story is a relatively cheap pastime and has many benefits which may propel you towards other interests such as research, family history, computing, writers’ groups, photography and meeting other people.
Others may choose to avoid a linear approach, preferring instead to write about individual landmarks that focus on significant turning points, changing careers, grandparents, meeting your first love, making do and being happy; whatever is pivotal in your life. It might be later when you decide to fit these pieces together or it may be you decide to follow a single pathway. Everyone has special memories in their life. Use the phrase ‘I remember’ to evoke those poignant times. If writing seems hard, then concentrate on those individuals, which have impacted on your life. Put the person into a well-known context or link them to an incident to show their particular strengths or weaknesses. Be sure to record all
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