Writing Your Story
The best advice on how to begin writing is just that; begin writing. It doesn't matter what you write about - just write. Where you begin isn't important. You could begin at the beginning, with your birth, but that's not necessary and may not be the best place. Most people will feel most comfortable writing about an event. Pick any: a sports event, your wedding, the birth of a child, what you did this morning. Click here for ideas. You could also write about your philosophy of life, current events, how you describe success, a lesson learned. Once you decide on the subject - just do it. Write!
You will be telling your story from your point of view, called the 'first person' point of view (POV). It's your perspective of what happened: 'I did this...'
A few Don'ts...
Don't worry about grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc. It doesn't even matter if those aren't your best skills. You are writing a 'rough draft.' Rewording and correcting come later, so don't expect to write the perfect copy on your first try. Let your writing come as it will; polish later.
Don't get stuck thinking about where to start or getting the right 'first sentence'. Begin the story with the second sentence, or in the middle, if that's more comfortable. Just write.
Don't let lack of the right word impede the flow of writing. Leave a blank line to save a space for it and go on. When you think of it, you'll be able to add it to your story.
At least at the beginning, don't try to entertain, to be clever or funny. Just write.
My life is so boring though...
Small moments in your life can be as important and interesting as life-changing ones.
If time has passed without anything being written, create a schedule. Choose a reasonable time period, even if it's just twenty minutes a day upon rising or an hour each Sunday at noon. Make a commitment. The minutes will fly by and the paragraphs will grow into the Story of your Life.
Writing triggers various, random memories that will come flooding into your head. Keep a pad nearby to write thoughts/ideas as they come.
You may not want to start out with something painful, unless you find it cathartic. If it helps, the first draft may be written in the third person, as though it happened to someone else.
Chewing the end of my pencil...
Still can't get started? Call a relative or old friend to discuss an event or anything that comes to mind. Make notes while talking or use a tape recorder to record your side of the conversation so you'll remember things later.
Can't write about yourself right now? Write about others in your life; and, when the creative juices are flowing, write about yourself.
All authors have bad days. Maybe even bad months, when they can't write anything publishable. Just keep writing. It will come. Write frequently and your Story will take shape and grow.
Using your environment...
Some people need quiet to write - 'a room of one's own'. Others feel the creative juices flow only in the company of others while listening to their ideas. If this is you, join a writers' group. Check local newspapers for groups. Many community colleges have small workshops, as do some community centers, senior centers, etc.
Who is my Reader?
Write for yourself, not for your family, etc. Don't worry about who may disagree with what you are writing. It's your Story and only you can remember it your way. If you write something that may hurt someone, you may keep that private so no one else reads it. Don't put restrictions on yourself.
How much detail should I include?
Write what you remember about that day/occasion. Who was there? What was the weather like? But it's not just the what, how, who, when. Involve all your senses to bring color to your story, to make it rich and vibrant. Close your eyes and recall the smells, the sounds, the feel and tastes of that day. Do you smell a fragrance, taste a food or hear a song that takes you back to that day? How did you feel during that time? What were your thoughts about that day once it was over? When you remember that event, what single moment sticks out above the rest? You want to relate all your experiences.
Write as though you are talking to a stranger sitting next to you on a bench. Or write about life as you would give advice to your children. If you cannot get the feel of that, dictate what you want to say into a tape recorder, then transcribe it.
That person sitting on the bench doesn't know anything about your life. So when you bring someone into your Story, explain who they are, how they are related to you or to the event you are writing about. If you don't, the reader may be confused or frustrated. Refer to the person by the same name throughout the Story. If you introduce a person by her first name and later refer to her by a nickname, your reader won't know who you're talking about.
Try not to leave gaps in your story or have inconsistencies.
Include descriptions of the locations in your stories. Describe the room as well as the town if it's interesting or related to the event. Your home, neighbors and town are also part of your story. Describe them.
Your journey continues. Write about your life as it is happening.