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14 April 2014

Write Your Life Story
Michael Oke
How To Books
Publication Date

Biographies are not just for celebrities. 'Normal' people's lives - your own, in fact, can be so much more fascinating and interesting. With the help of this book, you can experience the joy and fulfilment of writing about yourself, and produce a unique record for generations to come.

My children and friends always told me I should write my life story down. I grew up in East Germany and the country doesn't exist any more, my children will never experience it, so I think it will be really good to tell them how different my upbringing was before this part of history gets lost. Maybe one day it would be a very interesting read for my grandchildren and great grandchildren. 

But … I'm not a writer. I never had any formal training nor attend any courses and felt quite unsure about the whole process.   So I sat down on my PC… and than? Started to put a few paragraph headings , thinking it can't be all that difficult. I won't need to create characters nor come up with a fantastic plot. It's all there. Well, I got stuck almost straight away and it wasn't so straight forward and I was overwhelmed. 

This is where Write Your Life Story came in. The book is written for people like me, and it is presumed that you have no experience of writing and no idea where to start. It starts you off right at the beginning and provides a full structure and takes you all the way to the end. The following is covered:

  1. Reasons for writing your life story
  2. Defining the project
  3. Preparation
  4. Planning the Structure
  5. Considering Alternative Structures
  6. Preparing to tell the story
  7. Some writing tools
  8. Inspirational extracts
  9. Undertaking the research
  10. Ready to write
  11. Difficult areas
  12. Revising the manuscript
  13. Presentation
  14. Production
  15. Publishing
  16. Producing your own book - general and technical considerations
  17. Advice from those who have written
Yes, you will still need to write the story yourself and time investment is needed, but if you want a structured approach, work through the paragraphs one by one and you will end up with the story written. 

This book was an excellent purchase and I can only recommend it for anyone thinking of writing their own life story who does not really know where to start and how to proceed to the final product. It may not be so useful if you have writing / researching / publication experience - as you will know most of the information I guess. One other point to mention is that my copy is quite old (from 2003) and of course, the publishing world has moved on enormously (eBooks), in fact, eBooks have probably revolutionised publishing, so some aspects of the book are slightly outdated now. Still, this was the most useful books I bought on that subject.