How to write a life story? Life story writing tips

When it comes to life story writing, whether your own life or someone else’s there is no one set of rules. You can write a life story one way or the other. This website is not meant to be a writing contest. There are no specific requirements. You don’t have to define your story: autobiography/biography/story/memoir.

What we do want to read are compelling stories. Stories unique to you: your experiences in the time and place where you've lived. We believe that if a story is moving to you personally, it would be moving to all of us. Since people’s feelings and emotions are the same everywhere, since the beginning of time.

You can go about writing your life story in 2 ways. You can check out our set of questions prepared by a memory specialist and answer the questions that evoke memories in you. Or, you can just write.

How to write a life story? A few writing tips to keep in mind -

  1. Let it flow. The hardest thing is to sit in front of a blank page. Start by writing something. Anything. You can go back and forth and edit your life story as much as you like. You can chose not to publish your story until you are ready. You can use the "Show to friends only" option and receive feedback on your story without showing it to the whole world.
  2. Give specific details. Most of your readers will be your family members, but also visitors of the site of all ages and all countries. Remember they don't know anything about you or where you grew up. Many things you consider trivial are not so. Many things you take for granted, are not available everywhere. A person lives in a place and time and his biography is a mirror of that era. This is what is so interesting.
  3. Don't write as an accountant. There are the dry details that define you, you should put them on the paper, but beyond that there are the stories which make up your life and are the ones that interest us. You don't have to write everything that happened to you. You can write shortly about the big picture, and then tell us one story that has meaning to you.
  4. Divide to chapters - decide on order. There are two major ways to write your biography - by chronological order, or by subjects- without a timeline.
    If you want to write chronologically, name your chapters: Childhood, adolescence, 30-40, golden age, etc.
    If you chose to write without a chronological order, you can write by subjects: love & marriage, friends, good times and bad times, etc.

How do I start writing? Helpful questions to get you started

The questions below designed by specialists to help you focus on special events in your life and start writing easily. You are not required to answer everything. Read through them, we are sure that a few will trigger a life story.

    Childhood and teenage

  1. Where were you born? Did you live there for a long time?
  2. How were winters in the place you grew up?
  3. Childhood friends. What did you do together? Did you stay in touch?
  4. What is your earliest memory?
  5. What teen ager were you?
  6. How did you rebel against your parents?
  7. What traits did you inherit from your parents?

    Love and Marriage

  1. Tell us about the first time your heart was broken.
  2. Tell us about your first kiss.
  3. Tell us about your first time.
  4. Did you marry your high school sweetheart or did it take time to find your partner in life? How did you meet your husband?
  5. Did your parents agree to your match?
  6. Tell us about your wedding.
  7. What did you used to do when you were first dating?

    Being a parent

  1. Tell us about the birth of your first child.
  2. What is the difference between the raising and values you grew up on, and the values you raise your kids on?
  3. Do you have good relationships with your children?

    Career and professional life

  1. What did you want to be as a child? How did you choose your profession? Did you have one profession or did you switch jobs?
  2. Is money important to you?
  3. What was the worst job you ever had? What was the best?
  4. Did you ever get sacked?

    Historical events

  1. Where were you when President Kennedy was shot?
  2. What did you during the Vietnam War?
  3. Where were you at Martin Luther King assassination?
  4. Did you party in the sixties?
  5. Did the Cold war affected on you?
  6. Where were you when the twin towers were attacked Sep 11?
  7. What do you remember from WW2?
  8. Did you suffer in the great depression?
  9. What historical event greatly influenced your life?
  10. What famous people do you admire?

    Hardships and mistakes

  1. Were you ever a soldier? Did you take a part at war? Were you in the battlefield?
  2. Did you lose dear people to you?
  3. Did you ever immigrate? How was that like? Where from and where to?
  4. Did you ever experience a natural disaster? Hurricane or an earth quake.
  5. Do you have any scars? How did you get them?
  6. Tell us something you regret you did. What will you do differently if you had a second chance?
  7. Were you ever betrayed by a friend or a family member?
  8. Was your life ever in danger?
  9. What was the worst period of your life?

    Successes, happiness and leisure

  1. Are you considering yourself lucky?
  2. What was the happiest moment of your life?
  3. What was the happiest period of your life?
  4. What gives you joy and pleasure?
  5. Do you have many friends? In what way they are special to you?
  6. Interesting travels. What interesting countries did you visit?
  7. Interesting hobbies.
  8. What are you most proud of?

    Lessons, conclusions and beliefs

  1. What are the most important lessons you have learned in life?
  2. Are you religious? Is your belief sets your life?
  3. Is there somebody you look up too?