Life story gumption trap

If you have you been thinking about writing your life story but have been put off because the whole process seems just too daunting then read on. Like many other people you probably think that the only approach is to start at the beginning and keep writing until you get to the end and this is exactly why so many people fail. If you want to succeed you must avoid falling into the classic life story gumption trap – you can’t start because you don’t believe you will ever finish.

Not another year-by-year account

Life stories which plod on chronologically are typically too long and are often boring because it is tempting to include every little detail. Not many people will actually want to read a year-by-year account of your life unless it is particularly exciting or unusual so why not try something different.

Write your story piece by piece

Don’t write your complete story from the beginning to the end. Instead break your life story down into manageable bite-sized pieces.

To find out what each of those bite-sized pieces could be, grab a piece of paper and scribble down 10 things about yourself. Write down things which would give future generations a taste of who you are, what your interests and passions are and what memorable events and experiences have shaped your life. This process may take a while but once you have come up with 10 ideas, each idea on your list could provide the basis for a narrative.

Length is not important

Don’t worry about how many words you write. Each narrative can be as long or as short as you want. Some topics may lend themselves to brief snapshots which focus on just one or two elements such as mood, characters (this could be you), setting, period etc. whereas other topics may inspire you to write something longer. Whatever you write will provide the basis for a longer narrative which may end being your complete life story.

Forget about the order

Because you are not writing your complete life story from beginning to end the order doesn’t matter. Just pick out something from your list that inspires you to write – it could be something that happened last week or something about you as a child.

Once you have written a collection of short narratives or stories you could piece them all together to form a book. In the meantime you will have a collection of stories about your life which you can share with family and friends (they may even have some memories about you which you could add to your list).

Related blog posts:

Writing your life story – get started with these memory jogging tips
Write your life story on a postcard

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Life story gumption trap
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