Help Me Write My Life Story – 8 Step Plan
Stories have always been my thing. Always. Which is why when I hear ‘help me write my life story’ I’m at the front of the queue hopping up and down with excitement. Because when someone is ready to write their life story, they’re ready to shed the skin that carried them through and are ready to see how it shaped them and how they’ve evolved. And I’m going to give you my 8 step plan to achieve this.
Stories that captivate and interest readers most are the stories we carry within ourselves, the stories we tell ourselves to make a situation more comfortable, and the stories we’ve been conditioned to believe about who we are and what we’re capable of. This is very relatable stuff. There is no story more worthy than yours – no matter what it involves.
Pages you may be interested in:
Your Life Story Has Worth
Your life story is more valuable than you realise. It’s not just about where you’ve been or what you’ve experienced, it’s about the psychology behind all the decisions you made, and all the feelings and emotions which led to the next decision and the next.
Your emotions, your feelings, your reasons and your purpose is what makes your life story interesting and relatable. These elements are what make your story worth writing, worth discovering and worth reading.
It goes without saying that when you set out with an idea to ‘write my life story’ or to seek help to ‘write my life story’, that you won’t have all the answers yet. And that’s OK. Even the most well-practised writers will struggle with this one.
You may know where you’ve been and know of the experiences that you’ve shared with others – yet the juice of the stories you hold are waiting to be unlocked and discovered through the writing process.
Never Underestimate The Writing process
‘Help to write my life story’ is a process. There will be a process you need to follow. And I’m going to split this process into steps. The writing process will take you on a journey asking you to look at moments through a lens. This process is worthy of your time, even if writing your life story is just for you, you can be the one who benefits most of all through the writing process.
8 Steps To Help Write My Life Story
1. Journal or make notes of all your experiences that you want to include in your life story. Think about them as episodes. Make a list. For step one, write a sentence for each.
2. Now you have each experience listed as an episode, with each episode you can begin to pad out the experience with: people involved, places it took place, and what happened.
3. In Step Three, you need to consider what risk was associated with this event or episode. Risk is everything when we write stories. Risk is conflict. Conflict means that something is in jeopardy – at risk – and that something needs to be resolved. Conflict can be ‘big’ where it effects lots of people, or it can be small internal conflict where you or someone else has been compromised.
4. When you understand the conflict of an event, and you’re aware of how it was resolved, you can begin to become aware of the reasons why the conflict arose. You can look at how easily the conflict could have been resolved, or how difficult it was to fulfil everyone’s motivations and needs. You can determine how the event was resolved. You can look at who lost, who was fighting, who wanted more or better, and who gained or lost-out with the resolution of the event. There will always be winners and losers. Even when everyone is friends, people will make sacrifices for those they love. The sacrifice could be the conflict leading to the resolution, which may also lead to more conflict, unless peace is found with the sacrifice. Life is never dull. There will always be people who sacrifice their needs for their love or loyalty to others. The conflict doesn’t have to be movie worthy – it just needs to be real.
5. When you established what was won or lost within an event or episode, you will begin to understand motivations, feelings, emotions of all those involved. Make lists in your journal as this information emerges.
6. Once you have followed all the previous five steps, and you have all the detail for each episode, you will move on to structure. Be careful to allow yourself enough space so that you contain each event or episode in one place. Don’t mix them up. This will become very confusing. Consider, with regards to structure, do you want the events you recorded to appear chronologically, or is the way events tie together found in a different order? Find the order that fits right for your life story and tell the story from the most simple and straightforward approach. This could be from the beginning, or it could be from the end working back to where it all began. This step is to understand which event you’ll write first, and which ones will follow.
7. Establish your theme or themes. What does your story involve? Does it involve adventure, betrayal, romance, trauma or a myriad of themes?? Obviously, life stories can and most likely are, more messy and eventful than fiction (which is typically quite neat) – sometimes life isn’t so neat and includes many events and themes.
Be mindful of each event you listed and decide whether it fits into a theme or several themes, and consider if some themes are reoccurring through other events or episodes you’ve recorded. The more you’re aware of your themes and how each event or episode links to the one ahead or the one behind, you will begin to see the type of path your entire story takes. You will begin to see your path of evolution – your story arc – and your character development.
For example, one event might be uplifting and the following one might be traumatic. This path will follow a story arc, and it’s worth knowing what that story arc looks like as you’re writing, so that you’re aware of how you grew through these moments and whether you’re choices, decisions, or emotions began to shift.
A story arc might look something like this:
8. The final step is to take all the information you’ve noted for each event or episode from steps 1 through 5, and write each one as a chapter. Setting each out as a chapter will mean everything within that episode will be contained within the focus of one chapter. You may discover when you come to the end of writing each episode into a chapter that what you’ve written is too long for one chapter. This is perfectly fine. When you finish, you’ll have the opportunity to split long chapters into shorter ones later on.
The next time you think ‘help me write my life story’, sit down with this 8 step plan. Read it a dozen times if you need to so that the steps become more familiar. This is a great way to write your life story so that you actually finish it. It may feel complicated to begin with but that will only last a moment. Once you start writing, the process will take over with little effort from you.
Another option would be for you to follow steps 1 through to 5 for each event / episode as you think of them. Take one event, follow the steps, then go onto another event. Keeping it contained in this way might allow you more focus and help avoid overwhelm.
There’s no one better to write you life story than you. You’re the heartbeat of your story – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You’re the one that will write it to its fullest riches. All you need to do is begin.
Respectfully your guide,