How to write your life story
Im an editor, a book editor at that, and I have seen and edited
autobiographies, Ive also published several million words on a variety
of subjects. So I know something about writing.
This article will give you the basics on how to write your autobiography,
and guidelines on related subjects such as copyright, editing, publishing
and legal concerns.
Different aspects are dealt with on the left menu.
You might find bits of this article discouraging, thats because
serious publishing is very (very!) hard to get into and there is one basic
rule "anyone who can be dissuaded from writing, should be"
but if you read this and you still want to do it: Go for it!
So, you think youre interesting?
There are a lot of reasons for wanting to write an autobiography, some
of them are good and some of them are bad.
Here are the main bad ones:
"To make a load of money"
Unless you are a celebrity: forget it, you wont. There is one other
possibility: you are a fantastic writer with an amazing story to tell,
and you can tell it in an utterly riveting way that will appeal to the
mass-market. In which case, you dont need to read this.
Nasty. The only problem here is that no one else is going to be interested,
so theres no revenge. There are legal risks as well. Merely changing
the names is not enough. It might as well be fiction, youd be safer.
You dont like the truth so youre trying to pretend it all
happened differently. In which case youre writing fiction instead.
Legal risks here too, and potential ridicule if anyone actually does read
How about some good reasons:
"You want people to know"
You have a real story to tell and people need to know the truth, perhaps
its a lesson in how not to live a life.
"Pass on family history"
Immortality for some? You dont want the experiences of your life
to be lost to future generations.
Sometimes the best way to end-cycle on a traumatic incident is to get
it out into the open. Though perhaps this is best for you than others,
it might have involved them too and they need to know.