How to write an autobiography

How to write an autobiography

Imagine that you have had a full life. You've done a lot of stuff and you wouldn't want anyone to forget about it. In fact, it is even possible that other generations could learn from your experiences. But knowing how to write an autobiography is not easy. We could even say that it is one of the most complicated things you can face.

And it is that you not only have to tell in a certain way, but you have to be persuasive enough to get that reader hooked on your experiences and want to know everything that has happened to you. More considering that you may not be anyone. Do we give you some advice?

what is an autobiography

First of all, you should know what an autobiography is and how it differs from a biography. They may seem the same but in reality they are not.

If we go to the RAE and look for autobiography, the result it gives us is that of

"a person's life written by herself".

Now, if we do the same with biography, you will see that the RAE takes a few words from the above. Biography means:

"story of a person's life"

Actually, the difference between one term and another it rests above all on who is going to write that story. If the protagonist himself does it, we speak of an autobiography; but if the one who does it is a third party, even if it is a relative, then it is a biography.

How to write an autobiography: practical tips

autobiography writer

Making clear the differences between autobiography and biography, it's time to dive into how to write an autobiography. And, for this, nothing better than giving you a series of tips that will help you get the most out of it.

read others

And specifically, we are talking about other autobiographies. Thus you will be able to see how others do it and it will give you an idea how you should do it.

Yes, we know that the last thing you will want is to “copy” others and you will want to do it your way. But sometimes reading others you realize different points of view that must be taken into account when writing.

Also, if you're going to get into that literary genre, the least you should do is understand it and know more about it. Therefore, if you read other people who have also written autobiographies, you will see how they "win" the reader with their stories.

Make a compilation of fragments, stories, stories...

to make an autobiography the first thing you need is to look back to remember those important parts What do you want to include in your book? Therefore, use a notebook and a mobile to write down all the ideas, situations, moments, etc. What would you like to tell in your book?

You don't need to follow an order. Right now it's a first draft, a brainstorm that you will later organize based on the story. But this is important because this way you will know what to put in the book and how to tell it.

If you go blind, chances are that as you refresh the memory, you must be going back to add more (and it's more work).

Think about how you are going to write the autobiography

A person writing his autobiography

It is often mistakenly thought that autobiographies should follow a chronology. That is, from birth, or the notable date, to the present. But actually it is not true. While the vast majority of those in this genre are like that, The truth is that it does not have to be done like this all the time..

There are more ways.

For example, you can start from the present and work backwards. You can create fragments of your life that have marked you or that have meant a before and after and have determined your path... Or you can jump where, for a specific theme, you tell an experience of your life.

think about the characters

Throughout your history it is possible that some people or others have entered your life. That some are part of the situations that you narrate in the book, and others are not.

Apart from having you as the main character, you should have 2-3 more that are fixed and that they help you to give solidity to the plot, because that way the reader will recognize them and will not get lost. But you must also include others, secondary, tertiary, enemies, acquaintances... Don't forget pets either.

The good and bad

Book with an autobiography

Life is full of good things and bad things. In an autobiography you can't just focus on the good things, but you also have to talk about the bad. Not only does it make you more human, but it gives you more solidity when it comes to giving you credibility. And, by the way, it takes away a bit of the "arrogance" that you can distill by thinking that your life "is rosy" when in reality it doesn't have to be that way.

Now, we do not mean that you are going to count all the failures, or the fact of going from being a hero to a villain; but yes those in which there have been tensions, problems and how you have solved them, or not.

leave an open ending

Your life goes on, and therefore your book cannot end. It is true that when you publish it you will not know what the future will bring, but for that very reason you must leave it open. What some of them even do is tell how they see themselves in the future, what will happen to their lives, their projects, etc.

That, believe it or not, piques curiosity a bit and if you have managed to win over readers, it is most likely that sooner or later they will ask you if you achieved everything you said for your future or if there have been problems in those dreams.

Said of another, you create expectation.

look for readers

Once you have the autobiography done it is very important that there are other readers who can give you their point of view. It's okay to trust family and friends, but look for people totally alien to you to find out if they hook you, if what you've said is really interesting.

And, as advice, have a lawyer read it. The reason is because you may have told something in your book that involves a legal problem and no one better than this professional to point it out to you and to tell you how to put it to avoid complaints or problems with the law.

Knowing how to write an autobiography is easy. Carrying it out may not be so much. But the important thing when writing a book is that you create a story that stands on its own and also gets others hooked and get something out of it. Have you ever written the story of your life?

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