Write an Autobiography

Write an Autobiography

What is an autobiography?

An autobiography is a story that you can tell about your own life. It is written to retell interesting or important events from your life, from your point of view. An autobiography is meant to provide insights into your feelings and reactions. It can include interactions between you and the people who are significant in your life. An autobiography can inform or entertain or both. You can write your autobiography as a narrative or you can use various multimedia tools to tell your story, such as a website, a video, or even a collage.

A memoir is another term for autobiography.

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Context
An autobiography is usually written to hold memories, to keep the past alive, to work through personal problems or to better understand one’s life. Autobiographies use a narrative structure to tell what happened.
Steps

Step 1

Choose a part of your life you want to highlight. To make your choice, ask yourself:

  • What event from your past stands out most in your mind?
  • Is there anything important in your life that is recurring and that you love (ex.: playing a sport, making art, dancing)?
  • Are there any people who have had an impact on your life?
  • What makes you who you are?
  • Is there a special photograph that captures a part of your life?

 

Make a list of as many important events or people you can think of! It will make it easier to see a pattern

Step 2

Brainstorm all the details of your chosen event. Use a brainstorming tool to write down all the pieces of your autobiography in point form or as short notes. This is not the time to expand on your ideas, just get them on paper.

  • What happened?
  • When did it happen?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Who was there with you?
  • How did you feel about what happened?
  • What was your reaction to what happened - what did you do or say?
  • Why is this event important to understand who you are?

 

Planning tools to help you

Step 3

Use your brainstorm or planning document to write your autobiography. You can write your autobiography as a text, or you can use other formats, such as a comic book to tell your story.

Remember to:

  • Write in the first person
  • Introduce yourself in the first paragraph
  • Give details as to time and place
  • Use descriptive language
  • Express your thoughts and feelings
  • Choose an image or series of images for your autobiography - the image should have something to do with what you wrote about, or can be a portrait of you in any medium (photo, drawing, caricature, etc). Insert your image into your autobiography, paying special attention to placement and caption.

 

Sample autobiographies to inspire you

Step 4

Review your autobiography, or have someone else review it (peer-review). Make sure they use a review tool to track their comments and suggestions.

When you review your own work, look for the following:

  • Is the autobiography written using first person narration? (ex.: "I was walking home from the bus when I saw...")
  • Does the first paragraph introduce the author of the autobiography (you)?
  • Is there enough background information to set the time and place of the autobiography?
  • Did you use descriptive language to express your thoughts,feelings or opinions?
  • Are there enough details to make the autobiography interesting?

 

Review tools to help you