More info was requested by folks that want to write their life’s story, but just don’t know how to do it.
You life story is not one story. It is a series of stories. You are not even the same “main character” from the start to the finish. You change. Situations change. The cast of characters changes. Even the setting change.
Trying to tell the story of anyone’s life all in one lengthy tale is both an overwhelming job and one fraught with problems. Most such attempts end in a rambling, hard to follow tome without a clear connecting message or adequate transitions.
Fiction books have chapters. So do lives. Each chapter has its own beginning, middle and the end. Each chapter has a story to tell.
a well done life history is an anthology of stories with some common characters, messages and settings running through it.
So here is another way to write your personal story. I’ve divided it into 15 examples but there can be many more – I am sure you will think of some to add to this list:
1. Cookbooks and memories of when foods were served
2. Photo books with stories centering on pictures
3. Diary format moving chronologically but allowing some periods to be skipped
4. Genealogy format tying generations together
5. Collection of family anecdotes
6. Collection of stories about family member when they were little (well- until they were grown up)
7. Telling the story of family heirlooms
8. Stories of family homes like the Little House on the Prairie series…
9. Letters interspersed with stories about the writers and recipients
10. History of both parent and/or grandparents
11. Essays on memories, feelings and beliefs
12. Record of trips
13. Record of family lore or myths, important in the family
14. Poetry/songs/music used or important in the family
15. Record of special occasions or events.
Additionally6, common threes running through stories should include traits, passions, vocations and anything that recurs in a pattern.
For example, if the life story is about someone who lived courageously, recounting incidents of this would help bring together the whole book. Or, if the person being documented loved gardening, reading, or cooking, that passion would make a good amalgamating focus. For many people, a career makes a good hub for their stories. Even seemingly random things like luck can be a repeated pattern.
Remember: Breaking any task into smaller parts makes it easier to do. All lives are both composed of smaller parts and have some central themes and recurring patterns that unify the parts.
Finally, when facing the mission of writing about a life —your own or someone else’s, remember that some is better than none. Any record or stories left is likely to bring pleasure and/or information to someone.
So, let’s get started……