The accidental memoir. How to start your autobiography without even trying.

The accidental memoir.

Writing your life story is too much of a commitment. There are a hundred reasons why you can’t do it. You’re too busy, no one cares, your life has been dull and you’ve told your stories to all the people who count. Besides, you can’t write.

There. Parked.

Still, it’s a niggle. You’re not getting any younger. Anything could happen.

So, do this. Write one page of your story. Keep the attitude strictly French. Blasé. Laissez-faire. Let things take their own course. One page, five hundred words, give or take. One page. A snippet. A tiny window onto your existence, just enough to leave a future reader tearing their hair out for the want of more.

Start anywhere, write about anything, or choose one of our ideas.

From your childhood.

  • The beginning.

What stories have you been told about the day of your birth? Where did it happen? Were you named after anyone? How old were your parents? Were they married? Where were they living at the time? Was your birth planned?

  • The influencer.

What is the verdict on your childhood? Happy, sad, dull, frightening? One person in particular will have played a powerful part in the way your childhood turned out. Write about that person and your relationship with them.

  • Your home.

Describe one of the homes you grew up in. You are a fly on the wall. Start your tour from the front door and go through every room describing what typically happened in that room and the pictures, furniture, or the view from the window. Whom do you see, what are they saying?

  • The neighbourhood.

Where did you grow up? What kind of town did you grow up in? What kind of people lived there? Did your people fit into the neighbourhood? Describe your street and neighbouring streets. How did you get around and whom might you meet?
The accidental memoir.

  • The school.

Write about your first day at school. Who took you, what were you wearing, and how did you get there? Then go on to write about your teachers, your friends, the lessons and games you remember, and what you did after school.

  • The birthday.

Write about the first birthday you remember. What happened that day and whom did you share it with?

  • The passion.

From an early age you had a passion for something that has defined your life to a greater or lesser degree. Describe that passion, whether it was encouraged or discouraged, and the event or series of events that led to it.

From your adult life.

  • Defining moment.

Write about the worst, the best, the most serendipitous or iconic moment in your life. Describe what happened and how you felt in detail. Then write about how that moment came about and what you did afterwards.

  • The lesson.

Something you were involved in or survived taught you how much you have to be grateful for. Begin with a few lines about what you took for granted before your experiences then write a bit about what happened and what you learned.

  • The secret.

You discovered something about your family or you’ve kept something a secret for many years. What’s the story behind the secret? Why do you think it’s time to reveal it? Who will gain or lose from its telling?
The accidental memoir.

When you’ve finished you’ll have 500 words written by you about your life that didn’t exist before. You’ve created something. You’ve started your memoir.

Now why not sign up to a Johnnybio chapter and add your 500 words? Then select another question from the online interview and write another 500. Before you know it you’ll have written your story. Accidentally.

Johnnybio has the whole path from chapters to a published biography all worked out for you. Try Child and Teenager free now, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter or G+ for our latest tips

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