How to Become Successful in Writing Your Life Stories
By Jessica Freeman/Family skeletons, secrets shared with friends only and secret relationships dangle in the closets of all our minds. Every person has its own unique, interesting story that molders when kept in the dark. Writing our life story is one way to open the closet of our lives widely, in order to uncover the hidden secrets and treasures. However, not everyone opts for this idea.
If you are good at writing and want to share your story with the world, the first thing to do is sit down and begin writing the truth of your life. Every writer is faced with the fear of revealing the secrets and becoming vulnerable. They are also scared of the idea that no one will find their life to be interesting. But the fact is, you will never know unless you try.
When you decide to reach for your story, you will find the process to be both healing and revealing. Of course, no one is born to be a writer or has the talent to do this. But is this really that relevant when you are speaking of your life? After all, even little girls tend to write down their love lives and everyday events in the diaries. Great life story may be the only way for a person to share an amazing story worth knowing.
If you wish to become successful in doing this, there are several things we recommend:
1. Define What Fits within Your Story
The great life stories are based on real experience that can come out of every area in life: education, camping, parties, hanging out with friends, falling in love, meeting a new person, having an adventure and whatnot. However, if you decide to write about your life, you should make sure that the things you collect are related and relevant. A life story should include relevant points that are interrelated to all other things you will include. ‘‘Your memoir is not an autobiography. The difference is that an autobiography spans your entire life, and a memoir focuses on one particular moment or series of moments around a theme. ‘’ – said Shannon Hernandez in TheWriteLife.
When picking out what to include and what to exclude in your life story, you should always develop certain criteria. What kind of life stories do you find to be interesting? Do you have any particular celebrity whose lifestyle you admire? When you understand this, you can aim to tell your life story in that direction.
2. Summarize Your Life Story
As soon as you realize what you want to write about, it is really helpful to think about how the story will go. Leigh Newman, a writer for Huffington Post advises: Try to summarize your life in two or three sentences. Take your time. Think about your past.’
This method should help you form the story’s structure. It is short but captures super short flashes of your story – the beginning, the middle and the ending. If you determine these three things, you cannot get stuck in the middle thinking of what you should say next.
3. Think of the Best Strategies for Telling Your Story
The writing flow may go easily, but the subject of skills and techniques used can be a problem if you do not plan it ahead. The best possible strategy depends on the story you are telling. Whether you are writing about an adventurous event or deep feelings, the strategy should definitely differ.
The one sure strategy that applies to all cases is to stay on the subject and remain natural. After all, you are expressing your life story and who better to do that than you, right?
Try adding the information bit by bit. Not everyone is familiarized with your life. While writing, you will discover whether your information is not told yet or has been exhausted. You may even decide that a certain source of inspiration did not fit the story you were telling. But first, think of the way you will write this. Editing is the final step.
Take a peek at the guidelines presented in the episode ‘Storytelling Skills and Techniques’, posted on Create Your Life Story.
4. Make Sure That You can Corroborate the Authenticity of Your Life Story
I am not talking about proving that the story is yours. If you wrote it, this is the smallest problem you have. I am thinking of corroborating the story to your reader. When you write a story that someone should read, you should make sure that they believe you that the particular story is a story of your life.
The only way to corroborate your story is by telling the truth and the truth only. Take, for example, Jamaica Kincaid. Wanting to keep the emotional focus on the level she imagined it, Kincaid decided to edit her manuscript Annie John by deleting her older brothers out of it. At the end, even though her story was basically true life story, she decided to publish it as fiction.
5. Focus on Your Audience
Writing your life story for the general public is not an easy task. In order to write for a different reading audience aside from yourself or your friends and family is not a simple task.
In order for your life story to become a success, you must define your audience and focus the storytelling on this research. Remember that your story should not only become successful, but the purpose is to also show people why your life made a difference and why it is important.
Picking out the audience for your story will help you pick out what parts of your life you want to talk about.
6. Maintain a View of The Whole Picture
Telling your story does capture your perspective, but people may not understand everything if you tell them just one side of the story. Research a bit and try to realize what the situation was for all sides. Of course, your life story should be based on your feelings and experiences, but it is always helpful when you maintain a wider view of it. As John Stuart Mill once stated: ‘In all intellectual debates, both sides tend to be correct in what they affirm, and wrong in what they deny.‘’
There is no formula as to what a good life story should include. However, if you wish to open the door for your skeleton, you better talk about a unique experience. Aside from writing a carefully crafted piece, you must make sure that your story captures interesting parts of your life.
Jessica Freeman is a freelance writer at Australianwritings. She is interested in traveling and online learning. She enjoys writing on education, technology innovations, and blogging tendencies. Find out more about Jessica’s work by visiting her writing blog. You can also follow her on Facebook and Google+.