Nova A.
Nova A.

How to Write an Autobiography - A Step-by-Step Guide

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Published on: Aug 23, 2021

Last updated on: Jan 3, 2023

How to Write an Autobiography

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An autobiography is a common academic assignment. However, many students get confused and think that it takes a lot of time and planning.

Therefore, when you don’t know how to write an autobiography like professional writers. Continue reading this blog and get an idea of the perfect autobiography.

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What is an Autobiography?

An autobiography is a great way to tell your life story to the readers. It should be written non-fictionally about the significant events of your life.

Moreover, an autobiography is a first-person account that highlights one's life. It comes through the writer’s own life and in his own words.

The main purpose of the autobiography is to:

  • Present the life experiences and achievements.
  • Present the facts based on their memories.
  • Present what and who you are.

However, some students get confused between autobiography and biography. They both are not the same and are written for different purposes. In the biography, the author writes about another person’s life instead of their own life.

Furthermore, an autobiography is famous among the general reading public. Its main focus is to capture the important aspects of life such as career, family, relationships, and life lessons.

Therefore, when you write the autobiography, you need to follow five main principles:

  1. Make it logical.
  2. Reveal some personal experience.
  3. Make it easy to read.
  4. Do not bore the reader by adding irrelevant details.
  5. Avoid using complicated language.

Thus, an autobiography is not just a collection of life stories but also the recreation or the discovery of one.

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Types of Autobiography

Before starting writing the autobiography, the author should know its types. Below are the different types of autobiographies, and each has its different purpose of writing.

  • Memoir

    A memoir is written about the author’s memories of specific events in their life. It presents the facts that they were experienced as a person. Also, it is written from the first-person point of view.

  • Personal Essay

    The personal essay is the oldest form of autobiographical writing. Here, you need to share your life story with the reader. Therefore, that they feel as if they were a part of it. This type of autobiography does not focus much on the story but the tone and style.

  • Confession

    Confession is another type of autobiography, which is written by those who have done something wrong. They want to write about it and help the readers to learn from their mistakes.

  • Spiritual

    The spiritual is the common type of autobiography, and it is written from a religious or spiritual point of view. Some authors want to share their religious experiences with readers and need to pull others into their beliefs.

    For example, an autobiography of the famous Pope Pius II tells about his career that leads up to becoming a pope.

  • Full Autobiography

    Full autobiography or traditional autobiography contains the complete life story about your life. It covers all the aspects of your life from birth to the present day.

    Its main purpose is to let the reader know about the real you. In this type, the authors write about important life events and preserve memories.

How to Write an Autobiography?

Writing a good autobiography is not a daunting task if you follow proper steps or procedures. However, some students get stuck and think about how I write it like professional writers.

Here are some steps that you should follow to make your writing phase easy.

1. Choose a Title

The title of the autobiography should be short and memorable. It is the first thing that the readers read, so try to make it attention-grabbing. You can title it with your name like “My autobiography” or pick something engaging and interesting.

2. Write about your Life Timeline

Before starting to write the autobiography, you have to research your own life. First, you have to create a timeline of your life and include all the important dates and events. Write down everything that you can remember and then retrieve the information that you need.

Therefore, in this step, you should write down information about your ancestry, grandparents’ lives, and so on. Also, your family history will help the readers know about you as a person.

3. Identify the Main Characters

It is the essential step of writing a perfect autobiography because every good story has characters that make the plot interesting. Therefore, it must be included in your autobiography.

The main characters of the story can be your parents, grandparents, and other close family members. Despite these characters, you have to think about your immediate family. Discuss how they have affected your life and play a vital role in your autobiography.

4. Retrieve the Best Stories

When you start writing the manuscript, you have to pull out the main stories. Then combine them to create a picture of your life.

Here are some topics that most autobiographies cover and the readers find interesting.

  • The crisis story.
  • The childhood story.
  • The story of facing difficulties in life.
  • The coming of age story.

Despite these, you can also write on any topic of your life that you want to share with your readers.

5. Write in your Voice

The autobiographies are written about your personal life, and people would like to know what will happen in someone else's life. Therefore, try to write in your style and voice rather than a typical college essay. Write in a way that the readers easily understand without any difficulty.

6. Be Revealing

It is an essential component of a good autobiography. Therefore, it is important to reveal truths about yourself and your life.

However, it doesn’t mean that you list only your accomplishments and keep all the negative material under the rug. Discuss your talents, flaws, qualities, etc., that help the readers to know about you.

7. Create an Outline

An outline is necessary to create whether you write an essay, autobiography, or term paper. With the help of an outline, you will easily create the autobiography and structure your ideas. A good autobiography outline must contain an introduction, body section, and a powerful conclusion.

8. Decide Where the Story Start

The beginning of the autobiography should be attention-grabbing. Start with telling any major event of your childhood, your college experience, and then discuss the story of your career.

9. Select Theme

Use a theme in which you can easily tie stories together. Choose a theme that helps you to create a cohesive picture of your life.

Here are some ways that you can use for picking a great theme for your autobiography.

  • Choose an aspect of your personality that you feel is interesting.
  • Consider the things that are most important in your life.

10. Use Chapter Divisions

With the help of chapters, you can easily discuss certain life periods or events. The chapters will allow you to skip forward and go back in time. Also, describe the new theme without confusing the readers.

11. Editing and Proofreading

Once you complete writing it, start the editing and proofreading phase. In this stage, check the dates, names, descriptions of events, and other details you put in the autobiography.

Also, remove all the grammatical, punctuation, and vocabulary mistakes. You can also send it to your friends or family members and get an opinion from them. However, make sure that your autobiography is free from all mistakes and errors.

Autobiography Example

Tips for Writing the Autobiography

Here are some tips that help you in drafting a well-written autobiography.

  • Explain the type of person you are.
  • Brainstorm the topic ideas.
  • Identify your audience.
  • Define your purpose.
  • Gather relevant information.
  • Pick a theme and stick to it.
  • Relate with your readers.
  • Organize your story.
  • List all the events in chronological order.
  • Engagingly write your life story.
  • Life-written stories should be attention-grabbing.
  • Before deciding to write, read the autobiographies of another writer.
  • Proofread it and then submit or publish it.

Now, you get to know how to write an autobiography, but you still need help with your college essay; don't worry. Consult

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the format of autobiography?

A typical format for an autobiography is chronological, which means writing the life story in order.

How long is a short autobiography?

In a short autobiography, you have to keep everything concise. So it should be 2,000 to 5,000 words long.

Nova A.


Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

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