Tips For Writing Your Real Life Story

Tips for Writing Your Real Life Story

I have something to say that will make some folks angry. It’s part of my story, though, so I’ll stick to it. The older I get, the less enchanted I am with fancy adjectives and metaphors when people describe themselves. Like, seriously? Just tell me who you are and what you do. I don’t want to sift through fancy phrases to get to the root of your truth. Just keep it real! Every person in the world should write their story. It doesn’t have to be a public blog like I have, even a private journal will do. Since we have the ability to leave our legacy in our words, why wouldn’t we? Like I was saying before, share it with less literal fluff.

When you’re sharing your story, whether in short form (hello, Twitter), or long form (your 1000 page autobiography), keep the following ideas in mind:

Write with the goal of telling your story, not selling your audience.

We’re often encouraged to think highly of ourselves, to sell ourselves, to never let them see us sweat. That’s great in some instances, but writing your authentic story is different. When you start your writing, don’t think about your audience. Your #1 priority is to tell your truth. Are you really honest, or do people just perceive you to be? Are you truly brave, or is that the role you play? What are you scared of? What does it mean if you aren’t afraid of anything? What does it mean if you don’t care? Your authentic story might not be full of drama. You might not be the most heroic, most kind, bravest protagonist ever. But, so what? You know what they say. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Put away the thesaurus.

Take away all of the writing tools you’ve learned throughout the years, and just keep it real. Use simple words. Don’t try to gloss over the truth. Did you “leap over the bounds of poverty and soared into the sun?”, or did you work hard to get off of food stamps and graduate from college? Too many similes and metaphors can muddle the message, and take away from the real story. I know it’s tempting to choose the million dollar words. It makes your story seem so titillating and interesting, but really, half of the time, when folks get all fancy-shmancy, no one even knows what they’re talking about.

Don’t be a tease. Tell it all, or nothing at all.

Listen, we all have skeletons in our closets. Once you decide to write your life story, though, tell it all! Don’t worry about what people are going to think about your life and your experiences. I’ve often seen writers start to share a juicy part of their life, and then cut it short right at the point when it was starting to get good. I’ve even done that in my private journals out of fear that I might lose it and someone would find it. You know what? So what! So what if someone finds your lascivious tales of co-ed debauchery, or if they find out you were in love with the bagger at the market. If you’re lucky, a movie producer will find it and turn it into a movie. If you’re not lucky, at least you’ll have an accurate telling of your life to pass on to your children, and to keep the legacy of your life long after you’re dead and gone.

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