April 7, 2016 Emily McCracken

Writing your life story can be easier than you think

There are hundreds of great reasons to write your life story down – to build a safe place for your memories, create a keepsake for your family, or make sense of your own journey. But the thought of chronicling your whole life on paper is an intimidating one, and you don’t have to dig deep to find reasons to stop before you’ve started. However, we at Story Terrace believe that because every life is extraordinary, every life story deserves to be told. So we’ve compiled a short list of comebacks to those pesky excuses!

“I can’t remember everything that’s happened to me, especially in my childhood…”

Fear not; your life story shouldn’t be a catalogue of everything from your first pram ride to what you had for breakfast three minutes ago. You don’t have to start at the start; for example, you can begin your story from an important day, a mundane activity or the feel of the pen in your hand right now. Then go ahead and explore your life in any way you want, including only the moments that you feel are significant.

If you need a zap of inspiration, try looking through old photographs, diaries, calendars (suddenly being a hoarder pays off!) and even text messages and emails to see if anything sends an anecdote running wild in your mind. Has your life so far been a path of discovery, a great love story, a quest from rags to riches? If you can see a running theme, it may help you to structure your memories.

“I’m a terrible writer!”

So you’re not a natural wordsmith. Enlist the help of someone who is! Ghostwriters are easier than ever to hire and work with. Just share your story with them, and they’ll expertly write it up for you under your own name.

If you’re determined to put pen to paper yourself but are fretting that your writing doesn’t resemble anything Booker Prize-winning, don’t worry. It’s your life story, so it should sound like you. Your friends and family will treasure a written record of your familiar voice, unique imperfections and all.

“I just don’t have time…”

This is another great reason to enlist the help of a ghostwriter. After you’ve discussed your story at length, you can leave the writing to the expert while you go about your busy daily life. It’s like putting ingredients into a bread maker then going out for the day, only to come back to find a warm loaf waiting for you.

If you’d rather do the writing on your own, try setting yourself small goals. For example “I will write 300 words every week”. Even if it means your book is a long time in the making, any progress is good progress. Specific goals tend to invite more productivity than vague plans such as “I’ll do some if I have time”. And if you surpass your goals, what better excuse is there to celebrate? Sounds like motivation!

“I’ve never done anything interesting enough!”

“I’m not a celebrity or politician,” you protest. “Nobody would want to read about my life, right?” Wrong! Every life is exceptional, regardless of how famous you are. A chronicle of your own loves, losses, wins, failures, travels and discoveries is something that you, and the people who love you, can cherish for generations.

So, really, what are you waiting for?