If you've ever needed the motivation to get your life down on paper then look no further. Here are 11 powerful reasons to write your life story.
Maybe you’ve been thinking about it, or maybe your children or grandchildren are nagging you to do it.
Whatever the case, you now have 11 compelling reasons that will make you want to put pen to paper, or hand to keyboard, straight away.
1. Leave A Legacy For Your Family
This is often the reason that resonates most with older people.
Writing the story of your life will ensure that you’re not just a name on a family tree. Think of it as attaining your own little piece of immortality.
Future generations will know and understand who you were, what shaped and influenced your life, and what life was like in your era.It’s a fundamental human need to know our past, how it links to the present and where we fit in.
By writing your life story you’ll be helping your descendants to understand where they come from and to know themselves better.
Below is a story about Bob McDermant and his life as an ambulance officer. This story is a great example of leaving a legacy to family and fellow colleagues.
2. Become A Part Of History
Let’s face it, history books can be pretty dry and it’s mainly from the stories and journals of ordinary people that we know what life was like in past eras.
When I was in secondary school I hated Ancient History.
Our text books were chock full of boring facts - dates of wars, who conquered who, what land they took, etc.
It contained nothing in it that I was interested in.
What I wanted to know was how the people of those times lived their daily lives, what they wore, what they ate, how they raised their families.
3. Understand Yourself Better
Socrates said, ’The unexamined life is not worth living.’
Often it is not until you put your stories down on paper and evaluate the highlights, milestones, struggles and disappointments, that you can put things in perspective and see the big picture.
While we’re in philosopher mode, Danish philosopher Kierkegaard said, ‘Life can only be understood backwards, but must be lived forwards.’
Writing your story enables you to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses, lessons you’ve learnt and how you’ve overcome adversity.
You can see patterns in your behaviour which perhaps you hadn’t noticed before.
You'll see how everything that has happened in your life, good and bad, has led you to where you are today.
You may decide to go on a long-desired trip, write that novel or take those art classes, visit the friend you haven’t seen in 30 years.
4. It Is Therapeutic To Write Your Life Story
Even if this is not the aim of writing your life story, it can be an unexpected bonus.
We’ve all experienced suffering and you may have lingering feelings of anger, sadness, grief or a range of other emotions from past events that you haven’t come to terms with.
This was the case for me when I wrote a memoir about my experiences with breast cancer.
Perhaps you’re not even aware of these feelings until you write about the events.
Getting them down on paper helps you to make sense of them and find meaning in them, facilitating the healing process.
5. Feel More Connected
Storytelling is one of our most basic forms of communication and we are hardwired to respond to stories.
Through telling your story, you find parts of yourself that are mirrored in others, and vice versa.
As Michelle Obama said, ‘When we share our stories, we are reminded of the humanity in each other.
And when we take the time to understand each other’s stories, we become more forgiving, more empathetic, and more inclusive.’
When others read your life story and make comments such as, ‘I can relate to that,’ or ‘That’s exactly how I felt when that happened to me,’ it gives you a feeling of connection to that person.
Sometimes you think you’re the only person to have reacted in a certain way to an event, or to have had particular thoughts and feelings.
To discover that others have had similar experiences is gratifying - often a relief - and helps you to appreciate being part of humanity as a whole.
6. It Gives You A Sense Of Purpose
Telling your story can give you a goal to aim for - a reason to get up in the morning.
You will feel that you are making a contribution to your family and society, that you are part of something that extends beyond yourself.
Elderly people in particular sometimes feel aimless, and that their life is not of much value or worth to the rest of the world.
Writing your life story is the ideal remedy!
But what if writing your whole life story is too much?
Maybe you could start with a memoir, which covers a particular time or event in your life.
Watch this quick 3 minute video about writing memoirs and what you need to think about before you start.
You can also use it as a primer if you DO want to write your life story in full.
7. It's Good For Your Health
Writing your life story uses a lot of your mental resources.
Digging deep into your memories, creating the structure of the book and the process of writing it all help to keep your brain active, especially important as you get older.
And being involved in something that you find fulfilling contributes to your overall physical and mental well-being.
8. You'll Make New Friends
When you embark on a major project, it’s often more enjoyable and motivating if you can do it with others.
Join a memoir/life story writing group, either in person or online.
The encouragement, support and advice you get from the other members will be invaluable.
Even if you think you know nothing about writing, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll be able to contribute to the group yourself.
It’s a great way to meet new people with whom you have at least one interest in common. If you can’t find a group, start one yourself!
9. It's Fun And Exciting To Write Your Life Story
What more compelling reason do you need to write your life story?
Retrieving and collating your memories involves looking at old photos and mementos, and foraging through boxes of family treasures you haven’t opened for ages.
You’re on the nostalgia train, which is a nice bit of escapism. Even more fun if you’re doing it with your family.
Once you start writing, it can be challenging, but at the same time enjoyable. The important thing for the first draft is just to get it all down, then you can go back and edit it later.
If you're using a ghostwriter/mentor, they can guide you on what to include or not, so that you don't go down too many rabbit holes and waste time.
If you don't even know what a ghostwriter is, here's a post I wrote about ghostwriters and how they can help you.
10. Discover Your Creativity
Writing your life story gives you a chance to be creative.
Transforming your life into words is one of the most creative pursuits you can engage in, and brings a terrific sense of achievement.
You don’t have to be a great writer - even if you’ve written nothing more complicated than a shopping list since you left school, don’t worry.
Just start and learn along the way.
You may surprise yourself, especially if you’ve been an avid reader all your life.
People who read a lot usually have some sort of ability when it comes to putting words on the page, because they’ve subconsciously picked it up from the books they’ve read.
It can be easier if you have a mentor to guide you.
They can help with such things as planning and structuring the book, the writing process and editing, or all three.
I have a mentoring service for those who are keen to write their own life stories and I offer an obligation free discussion about the best way to approach your book.
If you want your life story written but don’t want to do it yourself, I offer a professional ghostwriting service.
With this service, I write the book for you the way you want, but you are credited as the author.
Which brings me to the final point.......
11. It Can Be Done By Someone Else
Book a Free, No-Obligation Consultation Today!
Click the button below to find out more about having your story ghostwritten and to book an appointment with me.
A very powerful reason to write your life story is that you don't have to do it yourself.
There are people, like me, who can do it all (or part) for you and all you have to do is tell them your story. They'll do all the hard work.
If that's you, and you'd like to talk to someone to get the ball rolling, then click on the Book Now button above and let's have a chat.
The feeling of accomplishment in getting your life story into print is indescribable.
It's an achievement that you can be reminded of every time you look at your bookshelf.