Storytelling is as old as time itself. For thousands of years, our stories have bonded families, connected communities and inspired individuals. But when it comes to writing your biography, many people worry that their tale isn't worth telling.
"Who would want to read my story?"
"Aren't biographies for famous people?"
The truth is that everyone has a story to tell, and everyone's story matters. That includes you, reader! Here are our top seven reasons to put pen to paper and write your story.
1. Do it for your family
Maybe you feel like writing your biography is showing off. "What's so special about me?" you ask.
Let's turn this question around: don't you wish your parents and grandparents had written down some of their experiences? Wouldn't it be amazing have a record of what life was like for them sitting on your shelf? Your children and grandchildren will probably feel exactly the same way. You may underestimate how much your anecdotes and memories matter to them. Your stories are part of who they are–and getting it down on paper in your voice will mean a lot to them. Look at it as your family's biography. Writing your story doesn't have to be something you do for yourself!
“It's wonderful that my parents' story is finally in print and that the books will be passed down to future generations so that they will get to know their family history”— Audrey
2. Your story is interesting!
Perhaps you're worried your stories aren't interesting enough for a book. We've found that if you ask the right questions, everyone's life is interesting. You don't have to be a celebrity or politician to have a story worth capturing–especially if your audience is your own family.
If you think about members of your family, your thoughts probably land on loveable idiosyncrasies and funny moments, as well as challenges, achievements and milestones. The same is going to be true when a family member thinks about you. Anything can make for a meaningful or amusing anecdote. Once you start writing your biography, the problem is almost always what to leave out.
3. Writing your biography preserves your family heritage
Most biographies aren't just about the story teller–they also document family history. You can use your book to preserve memories of your parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents. Where did they live? What was a working day like? What was a big family meal or vacation like? These are precious details that will be lost if you don't take the time to write them down.
If you take the long view, you are a link in a chain going back generations–and that makes you the custodian of your family's story, as well as your own.
4. It's a rare moment for self reflection
Thought experiment: what would the chapter titles of your biography be? It's an interesting way to reflect on things. Most of us get so consumed by daily routine, family obligations and work that we neglect to take a moment to reflect on our life, the things we’ve accomplished and the people that we’ve touched along the way.
Creating a book and giving events a structure is one of the most important benefits of biography writing. It gives you a “big picture” view of your life and draws out the real themes in your life so far.
5. It might just be good for your health
Our customers often tell us that writing their biography was a surprisingly therapeutic experience. According to Psychology Today, “Every time you tell your story and someone else who cares bears witness to it, you turn off the body’s stress responses, flipping off toxic stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine and flipping on relaxation responses that release healing hormones like oxytocin, dopamine, nitric oxide, and endorphins.” That's medicine within itself.
“I came across Story Terrace in searching the internet for help to write my life story. I had made a few attempts at writing the story, to leave for my children and grandchildren. Lack of direction or discipline made me realise that I needed help if I wanted to have my story told”— Gerard Dieters
6. It's a great bonding experience
In the 21st century, families are often spread out across the nation–and even the globe. This distance takes away much of the storytelling that naturally occurs around the kitchen table, in the living room, or even driving in the car together.
Writing your biography is a great moment for your family to reconnect. Get them involved in the process–talk over their favourite memories, or ask them for their favourite photos. You can do this online, over the phone, or best of all in person. You may soon find yourselves all laughing together over old tales long forgotten, and new ones uncovered for the first time.
7. It's easier than ever to get it done
Biography writing doesn’t have to be a solo act. In fact, many celebrities and other well known individuals don’t actually write their own memoirs. Instead, they hire ghostwriters. If you use a ghostwriter, you can talk freely about varying parts of your life, and they will ask pertinent questions to fill in holes or get a better understanding of events. Story Terrace has made ghostwriters available to everyone–we work with over 500 qualified writers worldwide, and manage the entire book creation process, from finding the right writer to printing your books.
“We tell ourselves stories in order to live”― Joan Didion, writer and journalist