Research your autobiography

autobiography researching


Autobiography home


"I don’t need to research, I know what happened in my life"

Yes well, maybe you do but you need to get it sorted out and in order. If you’re lucky you’re the sort of person who’s kept a diary which is invaluable when writing an autobiography.

If not you need to start making lists, lists of family members, boyfriends or girlfriends, places you’ve lived, holidays you’ve been on, schools and courses you’ve attended, military service, places you’ve visited, illnesses you’ve had, and events (parties, weddings, funerals, birthdays) you’ve attended. Cross-reference the lists (when you went to X’s wedding, who went with you?), put in dates, talk to friends and family to make sure you the dates are right.



If you can get them you need photographs, letters, e-mails, family bible. Don’t just rely on the ones that you own, get them from your family and friends. Get in touch with people you’ve haven’t seen in years, get their pictures too. You’ll need to keep careful records if they want their pictures back – and they probably will.

That’s research. Gathering all the data you can, bringing it all together in one place and organising it chronologically, cross referencing, making lists of what you’ve got on every one and every place.

As you compile all this information you’LL be reminded of more things, make notes about the events, what happened in them. You may find at this stage that one particular theme begins to stand out, some common thread throughout your life and if you can find this it’s a great way to hang it all together when it comes to the writing itself.

There’s one more reason why you need to keep track of who has sent you what, when you write your autobiography you need to credit the people who have supplied you with information and pictures using footnotes and endnotes.