May 13, 2019

How To Write An Autobiography: A Step By Step Guide

Someday you will write a great story out of your own head that will be a comfort and help to many.”-by an anonymous writer to Helen Keller

An autobiography is mainly a written record or a statement of one’s life and experiences. Do you feel you have a story worth sharing? Then writing an autobiography can be the best way to communicate your worldview. You never know how inspiring your perspective of life might be for someone else.

You need to write autobiographical essays for your college application and class tests as well. Universities of the UK quite often ask students to write essays to evaluate their writing skills. Composing autobiographical essays will increase your imaginative faculty as well.

How do you begin to write a compelling story of your life?

Kick start the process of writing an autobiography with these easy guidelines:

Create an autobiography template:

You can create a stellar template by yourself or visit the websites of reliable academic service providers and go through samples of templates. Take a look at this autobiography template and arrange your paper accordingly:

Figure 1: Autobiography template

Read autobiography examples to generate ideas

Go through some famous autobiographies that have received acclaim all over the world.

Take a look at this list of some world famous autobiography examples:

“The Diary Of A Young Girl” by Anne Frank “Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela “My experiments with truth” by mahatma Gandhi “A brief history of time” by Stephen Hawking “My autobiography
“The Diary Of A Young Girl” by Anne Frank
“Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela “My experiments with truth” by mahatma Gandhi “A brief history of time” by Stephen Hawking “My autobiography” by Charlie Chaplin “Moon walk”  by Michael Jackson “An Autobiography” by Agatha Christie “The Summing Up” by W. Somerset Maugham “Three Singles to Adventure (Three Tickets to Adventure)” by Gerald Durrell “Walden; or, Life in the Woods” by Henry D. Thoreau

Choose an author whose personality inspires you and start reading immediately to complete this reading list at the earliest. Their wisdom and experience will surely improve your understanding and help you to compose brilliant autobiographical essays.

Choose an autobiography format

An autobiography can be written in several different formats. Choose the most suitable autobiography format from the following and write about the journey of your life in an interesting manner.

  • Traditional: A “Long walk to freedom” by Nelson Mandela is a brilliant example of a traditional autobiography. This type of autobiography covers the life of a person from his/her birth until the present day.
  • Memoir: This autobiography format focuses on a specific aspect of a person’s life. You can choose to talk about a particular event, place, relationship or a phase of life that has contributed and influenced your personality significantly. Instead of stating a brief list of facts, your memoir should provide a reflection of your worldview and personal feelings.
  • Application for college: These autobiographies are written with an obvious intention in mind. Students write this one to convince the college authority why you are a suitable candidate for the course and how their curriculum will develop your knowledge and skills.
  • Personal autobiography: A personal autobiography has two fundamental aspects. The primary one is that it must talk about an incident that has shaped and influenced your worldview. Secondly, it must describe the situation in vivid detail to appeal to the reader’s senses. You can use imagery and dialogue to provide a holistic viewpoint. This will be the shortest form of autobiographical writing colleges and universities will ask you to write.
  • Fictional autobiography: This is the most common form of autobiographical essay you are assigned during your school years. It demands you to state personal viewpoints of an inanimate object by sharing the story from its perspective. It can be a little difficult at first. However, with a little bit of brainstorming and creativity, you will surely be able to breathe life into the object.

Read autobiography examples:

Take a look at this excerpt from Ernest Hemingway’s “A Clean, Well Lighted Place”. This is a great autobiography example of Vignette. Given below is an excerpt:

“It was very late and everyone had left the cafe except an old man who sat in the shadow the leaves of the tree made against the electric light. In the day time the street was dusty, but at night the dew settled the dust and the old man liked to sit late because he was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference. The two waiters inside the cafe knew that the old man was a little drunk, and while he was a good client they knew that if he became too drunk he would leave without paying, so they kept watch on him.”

  • Follow this example to get a glimpse into the style of writing an autobiography of a fictional character or object.

“It was spring! Finally, the time had come for me to glide and drift with the clouds. The last six months in the wooden box was extremely boring and frustrating. ‘Sled’ and ‘Cutout’ had warned me about this before. Winter was not a good time for kites. But Spring was fascinating! oh! What a great time it was. The birds, the wind, and the sunshine that made my shiny papers light up like a star; I was in love with all of them. It was an exhilarating experience and I was mad with joy….”

Brainstorm to generate ideas

Writing an autobiography can be a challenging task if you are attempting it for the first time. You will have to figure out a gripping and appealing story to grasp the reader’s attention. You can read autobiography examples for better insights. Answer these questions to come up with some amazing ideas for your autobiography.

1. How has this event challenged your worldview and contributed to shaping your ideas?

2. What are the details that will be worth the reader’s attention

3. What is the mood of the incident and what tone of writing style will be most suitable to enhance that emotion?

4. How did you change as a person after that particular event or incident?

5. What are the challenges you faced and the lessons you have learned

  • Make a list of challenging experiences

Divide all your memories and experiences into definite categories and select the most challenging and unique incident you have encountered in the course of your life. A properly structured and organised list of ideas will help you to gather your thoughts and proceed with it in a logical and consistent way.

  • Write the first draft

You have to use the first person narrative to write your autobiographical essay. Make sure that you do not switch between “I” and “You.” Maintain the first person narrative throughout your entire paper.  Try to make your first draft as perfect as possible. There is no point in wasting time to correct the mistakes you can avoid in the first place.

  • Start with a bang

A strong first impression is mandatory to excel in your paper and secure the finest grades. You must convince your audience that the story is unique, original and worth a read. Talk about something everyone will relate to. For example, if you are writing about a childhood experience, try to generate a feeling of nostalgia to create a connection with the readers through your experience.

However, the most crucial part will be to connect all the paragraphs and follow a logical progression of thoughts throughout the paper. Start with something tantalising like, “Though I know life is not a bed of roses, I never imagined I would encounter a situation as grave like this one.” End each of the paragraphs with a particular agenda in mind. It must excite and keep your readers engrossed to continue reading.

Key takeaways:

1. Always write in first person narrative

2. Begin with something intriguing

3. State the background details and setting of your story vividly

4. It will be best to avoid clichés like quotes if it is not extremely relevant

5. Make sure you compose a smooth transition from the introduction to the story

6. Finish with an engaging, memorable and moving conclusion that will leave a lasting effect on your readers.

Are you having difficulty in brainstorming for innovative ideas? Do you need some samples of autobiography templates to organize and structure your paper? You can seek help from academic experts. They will guide you with all the basic steps and assist you in preparing a winning autobiography at very nominal rates.

Are you on the lookout for autobiography examples? Visit

If you are not confident about your writing style, feel free to visit our website. Just upload the details you want us to include in your paper while placing the order with us. Our proficient assignment writers will include all the necessary details and compose top-notch papers that fetch straight A+.

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Bella Phillips

Bella Phillips is an academic writer at who is associated with the company for the past Six years. He has finished his master's degree from the University of South West England and has served as a guest lecturer at several colleges

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