If You Value Your Life, Write A Book
Placing Literary Value on Your Life
Which Came First? The Writer or Biographer?
In the literary world, avid readers love biographies and autobiographies. These genres are among the most popular on bookshelves today. For writers, biographies of famous celebrities can be difficult. Giving a celebrity a whole new slant after hundreds of biographies have been previously written is always worthwhile. It can also be immensely daunting for a novice writer to find the unique angle to make the biography feel new and interesting. So for budding biographer, the most interesting celebrity might be you, the writer.
Writing Places Value on Your Life
A single day in your life can have its unique moments such as downfalls, opportunities, disappointments, humorous and not-so-humorous situations and special feelings. Shouldn't a lifetime of these daily events be recorded for posterity? Writing a biography or autobiography of your life is an exercise in objectivity. You'll write about you, the main character, as an author. Waking to each new day is a once-in-a-lifetime moment, captured forever in writing. The best reason for writing your own autobiography or a biography of your family is the value to future generations. How will your great grandchildren seven generations removed know your feelings when disaster struck or how you coped with loss? How they know the true essence of the times in which you lived, if it's locked away in your mind? There simply is no price tag on the value of your passage through life. If you value your life, write a book future generations will appreciate most.
Journaling Journey to Your Literary Work
For those skittish about writing a book, begin with a journal. The sooner you begin to write a journal, the more material you'll have for your book. Journaling isn't the same as keeping a daily diary of events. In a journal, you are free to write when the mood strikes, or a special event warrants documenting it for future reference. Re-read your journal entry after a few months. You may have already forgotten a sequence of past events. Some writers find a new novel in the subjects about which they've written in their journals. A journal can be the first step to writing about your life. Whether you choose to publish your life's manuscript or not, the value of who you are is contained within the pages of your book. The validation of your experience, knowledge and contribution to civilization is easily observed as you begin your first chapter.
Chapter One- Your Life and Times
Any good novel opens with a "hook" for readers. It's in this hook that readers thirst for more. Choose a single, memorable, life event for your hook. For instance, your wedding day, a childhood school memory or a special life accomplishment. This is your life. Give your hook a large piece of the action in chapter one. At the end of this chapter, you'll need a "lead in" to the next chapter that gives your readers a hint of what's to come. The last sentence in chapter one is the clue to the opening of chapter two. Linking chapters doesn't have to be cleanly cohesive. So long as there are underlying links that contribute to the whole purpose of your book, readers will want to read on. Use descriptive words as you feel them when describing a particular point in your life and times. This is how your book becomes a novel and not just a running list of chronological life events. One other tip is to dig deeply into ancestry to add a bit of comparison to the present. This is a fun tool that often uncovers unusual similarities from one generation to the next.
Ask Permission for Special Content
If your family is like mine, they will either be total hams and want to appear to be super stars or quite the opposite, too shy to want to be mentioned in your book. This is where a person-to-person discussion of these issues comes in handy. Of course, there may be family members or events that are too private to mention. It's your life, your book and your call on content you feel is appropriate to increase the literary value of your life. When your manuscript is completed, edit, edit, edit is the best tip for a perfect, reader-ready book. To be fair, ask several family members to review the final edition of your manuscript. You'll enjoy the varieties of literary comments forthcoming.
The Gift of A Life To Future Generations
Any book worth writing is a book worth being published. Given today's difficulties with getting a book published through traditional venues, your life's work can be self-published relatively inexpensively. Your book makes a wonderful, surprise gift for birthdays, anniversaries and graduations as well as special holidays. Once you've completed your first book, you will feel a certain sense of gratification at your accomplishment. Enough, perhaps, to encourage you to write a second book?