There are so many people in the world who have been thinking for years about writing an autobiography. But there are also many people in the world who think of a million reasons not to write their autobiography. Most of us are humble in nature, and don’t really see a lot of value in the lives we live. But then again, when we compare our lives to the average Joe, things look a bit different.
In this article, I would like to walk you through the process of writing an autobiography. Now, I am not an expert by any means, and as you probably know by now, this is not a website for experts. This is a website for everyday people who have been thinking about writing a book. If you have been thinking about write an autobiography, lets see if I can inspire you a bit more.
Who would want to read about me?
Well, that’s a good question. I think to answer that you need to ask yourself this question; Why you want to write a book? There are lots of reasons for writing, and once you know why you want to write, you can move forward. Perhaps you are a survivor and want others to learn from your experiences. Maybe your life is extraordinary, and you want to encourage your audience.
Some people just want to make money, and that’s probably the worst reason to write a book, if you are a true author. When you are motivated by money, you usually lack the driving force to write a good book. I wanted to write so my children and grandchildren would know that it is possible for become an author, and so they could know who I was, and what I did during my life. The best thing about my goal was that it was fulfilled as soon as my book was published.
But I don’t even know how to start
Neither did I. I pondered this for a good month before I started. Then it dawned on me that a person’s life happens over many years. Every year, more things happen. So, why not start the book like I would a
resume’ and do it by the year. So, I started a new document on my computer and started it just like that. The first chapter was 1983. The second chapter, 1984, and so on.
The next thing I did was look through photo albums, my Navy service record, and my yearly evaluations from the Navy. Whenever I saw something that happened in a certain year, I wrote it down. Even if it wasn’t something I wanted to write about, it reminded me of something else. Before I know it, I had twenty-five chapters covering twenty-five years. Once I started filling in the blanks, the book just flowed out of me.
Later, when I was reorganizing the chapters, I combined some of the more boring years when not much was happening. Once I had my entire career in my head, it was like telling one big story! It was actually very easy to write after I became organized. A few weeks later, my rough draft was finished and boy, was it rough! That’s when all the fun began.
What if my story is too boring?
Well, that’s usually only a problem in the beginning. Once you really get into the meat of your story, you will think of lots of things to fill in the gaps. My book was pretty easy, because it encompassed every part of my life. Once I started writing about my adventures will the Coca Cola model, the CIA, and the Navy Seals, everything just else just kind of flowed out.
You need to keep in mind what your goal is. As long as you stay in focus, you will be fine. Now if your goal is to sell a million copies of your book, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Only 2% of all published writers actually make enough money off of their books to support themselves. The rest of us fall into that starving artist category. But I, personally, am fine with that, because I have accomplished my goal.
So, who would buy my book?
This is a question that you would be much better off answering before you start writing. If you are writing a book about surviving cancer, you probably won’t sell many books to Harvard educated middle aged businessmen. If you are writing a book about the great quarterbacks of the 1970’s, you can pretty much count out housewives. You have to be realistic and know who your writing too.
Knowing your audience ahead of time can save you a lot of time, money and heartache. If you are paying a publishing agent hundreds of dollars to advertise your book, you had better know where they are advertising it. You advertise agent has already been paid, so as long as they advertise, they have done their job. You need to get deeply involved, and you need to know who you audience really is.
Any more excuses?
If you have ever had the thought of writing and autobiography, you should know that there has never been a time when it would be easier than right now. You have computers, email and the internet to do your research. You can literally pick up your manuscript and work on it anywhere that you can take your laptop. There is even a way to write and publish your book for free. Yes, I said free. Just look at the to of this page and check our the “How to Write a Book” section.
Writing my first book was one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my life. If my granddaughter googles my name, she will see my books. If she would like to buy a copy in Japan, she can do that too. Wouldn’t you like to leave your story with your grandchildren? Remember, if you never try, you will never know what you can do. So, get on with it! Crack open your laptop and start writing…