Me, write an Autobiography?

Me, write an Autobiography?

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…

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16 thoughts on “Me, write an Autobiography?

  1. I love the part where you include the importance of not having any excuses. In reality, there shouldn’t be any and after reading this article I realize that if I wanted to I could start now (and even write as I go). That might be the best option with revisions in hindsight. I could easily say I’m young, I haven’t accomplished enough but I will, etc. but start now and see how it ends up and have more to write about. At the end of the day it could be a great read for somebody and could be helpful too!

  2. Hi,

    Thanks so much for this article. I really enjoyed reading it. I have been thinking about writing a book for a long term now. However, I have never actually known how to get started. This article didn’t only give me an idea of how to start, but it also gave me the motivation to actually start. So thank you for that!

  3. Your article was very entertaining.  You’re correct- you never know what connection you will make with people until you start.  I find that went I write… I start with an idea of where I think I’m going and sometimes that changes as I progress through the filling in the details.  Those things tend to bring on a life if their own. Even when it’s your life the process of writing takes you to some unpredictable places.

    Great job!

  4. When I wrote my first book about some personal experiences I had endured in my life, like you I wondered who was going to read my book. But then there was some interest and it actually started trending a little bit. 

    To me it was the greatest feeling ever of knowing someone had found my writing worthwhile to read. They had invested there time and money to read about me, which encouraged me to write even more. 

    I would say to anyone who has ever wanted to write a book, go for it. This world is an experience feeling type of world. Who knows what awareness your experience will awaken in another. 

    1. That’s a good point, Jag.  Congratts on your first books success.   It’s like you said, you never know what effect your book will have to others.  Thanks for stopping in!

      Clay 

  5. Now you’ve got me interested in reading your autobiography! Sounds like you’ve had a pretty interesting life.  

    I’ve thought about writing a book on a few occasions because whenever I tell people my life story, they always say how fascinating it is.  But again, i really don’t know who my audience would be.  I guess like you say, it’s more about passing down your legacy to your children and grandchildren so they have an idea of who you were and all of the things that you went through.

    Great article! You have spiked my interest in writing a book now 🙂

    1. That’s good to hear, Nicki!  If there is anything that I can do to help, just let me know.  I appreciate your visit…

      Clay

  6. this was a great article.

    There are so many people in the world who have the need to write a book. They just don’t have the support they need to complete the task. When you give the idea for us to be writing a book for their grandchild to read later on then that makes it well worth writing a book.

    Yes we come up with the excuses about why not to write a book. You gave us the best reason to write a book for our grandkids to know what kind of life we lived with an autobiography

    If I wanted to write a book how many pages or words would be considered a book.

    Thank you for this wonderful article. Keep encouraging people to write it is good or them.

    1. Hello, Quinn, and thanks for reading my article. 

      According to SCWBI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), early readers should be about 20 pages (5,000 words) and chapter books should be from 40-60 pages (10-15,000 words).

      My first book was only supposed to be about 170 pages long, but once I started writing, I didn’t stop until almost 500 pages had been written.  Nobody was more surprised than I was!  Thanks for stopping by…

      Clay

  7. Wow I never really thought about it before, but I think I will get started today.  I actually have a few friends who have published books.  

    The one wrote about how he grew up selling magazines door to door. The book is called Mag Kid, or something like that.  I was surprised when I heard that he was involved in that business, it is really more like human trafficking, and I was sad that he had to go through that.

    The other author is my friends daughter, she writes fiction books. Even though she is still a child, she has written 5 published works!

    1. Wow… They sound like a couple of really talented kids.  Thanks for checking out my website, and drop in again sometime!  Have a great day…

      Clay

  8. I like the title of your webpage, The Art of Writing A Book”. I had thought of writing a book and didn’t think my English grammar was good enough to began, less known finish. I congratulate you on your achievement. My niece just published her first book titled, Worth the Wait” Lesley Blunt. (Amazon) 

    Some people have the patients for writing and collecting or gathering information needed for the task. So, My hat is off to you/ Great Job!

    Your page was warm and inviting which makes a difference to the audience. 

    I trust that all your hard work is very rewarding! Good Luck.

    Regards,

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