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How to Choose a Career Path for Students

How to Choose a Career Path for Students

Being as challenging as it is, education is just the beginning of your many journeys of independence. Once the time comes to decide your future career and education, this can put a lot of pressure on you, especially at a time when you are expected […]

Guide to Grammar and Writing

Guide to Grammar and Writing

While grammar is something we learn in the early years of our education, there are so many rules and regulations when it comes to grammar, we can’t know them all by heart. If you’re a writer or simply have to write something on certain occasions, […]

How to Start Writing a Book about Your Life

How to Start Writing a Book about Your Life

Have you ever read an autobiography? Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, for example, is an exceptionally powerful one. “DEAR SON: I have ever had pleasure in obtaining any little anecdotes of my ancestors.” That’s how it starts. But, Benjamin Franklin was an exceptional person, after all. That’s the point: autobiographies are for exceptional people. You’re exceptional, too. You have a special story that’s worth sharing. The only thing to learn is how to write a life story about yourself.

If you think about it, most of us are already sharing our personal stories nowadays. What do you think social media is? We pour out pages and pages with our opinions. We publish photos as testimonials of our daily life. All that can belong to the genre of “creative nonfiction.” Turning a life story into a novel, however, is something else. It has to involve elegance, creativity, and some warmth and humor.

You want to learn how to write a life story about yourself? Read on. We’ll tackle the process step by step.

Why is writing important in life?

Even if you’re not planning to publish a novel about your life, writing is still important. Have you ever wondered why your professors have been trying to teach you how to write?

  • Writing is important for expressing opinions and ideas. Just open your Facebook feed for a moment. In between all those cooking videos and funny images, what do you see? Opinions and ideas. They are everywhere. Check out the comments under a post that shares important news. You’ll see that some people have strong opinions, others don’t. You’ll notice a classification among those that have strong opinions: some can express them, others can’t. That’s the big difference that writing skills can make.

  • Through writing, you’re creating ideas, too. If you set your mind free and you allow the flow of your thoughts to take you wherever it takes you, you’ll notice new ideas coming up. Creativity is a process, which the writing practice supports.

  • Writing about your life is important because it gives you a chance to reflect. Journaling is one of the main practices that therapists recommend for promoting mental health. It helps people manage anxiety, cope with stress, and deal with depression. When you maintain a journal and you go through your previous entries, you witness your memories without distorting the reality. You see your progress. You remind yourself of the important things you forgot.

So yes, writing about your own life is important. When you’re ready, you can turn those writings into a book that sells. How do you get to that point? How do you start? We’ll give you the tips you need.

Step by Step Guide: How to Start Writing a Novel about My Life

  1. Read the Great Work of Others

Explore any online library and you’ll find a list of autobiographies you can start reading. Here are few suggestions to start with:

  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

  • A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

  • Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

  • Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama

  • Fidel Castro: My Life: A Spoken Autobiography by Ignacio Ramonet and Fidel Castro

Whoa, that was a big list. It’s just the surface. When you start exploring autobiographies, you’ll find one interesting read after another. You don’t have to read them all. The important thing is to read as much as you can.

No, you won’t copy these authors. However, you’ll learn what it means to write well. You’ll understand how an experience can be structured as a story worth reading. That will give you ideas on how to tackle your own project.

Keep taking notes as you read through these autobiographies. What’s the author’s style? How do you feel when reading about the determining moments of their lives? What made you laugh and what made you cry? Did you adopt the point of view of some of these authors? Why? How did they develop their arguments?

Ask yourself these questions and take notes. They will inspire you to find your own voice.

  1. Practice Writing Before You Start

Did someone mention voice? Before you start writing the book about your life, you have to find your own. Having a strong voice means you can leave impressions. It means you can present a clear description of events and heighten the emotions just enough to make them more powerful.

Practice different techniques. Remember what you liked about the way notable people wrote their autobiographies. They had a signature voice.

What’s the most important characteristic your closest friends name about you? Is it wit, humor, seriousness, logic, or anything else? Ask them about their impressions. If they think you’re witty, maybe you should focus on that aspect of your personality and turn it into your style of writing.

In writing, there’s a strange rule: you find quality through quantity. The more you write, the better you become. So write! Start a blog. Write in your journal. Write in a way that’s most comfortable for you. When you’re ready to start this big project, you’ll know.

  1. Brainstorm and Develop a Plan!

Brainstorming is a great technique that gets you started on any writing project. Here is an idea how to do it: Try to summarize your life in three sentences. Think: what are the things and events that define you?

Once you’re done with the thinking, write whatever comes to your mind. You’ll find your focus through this technique. Maybe it’s a cause you’ve been fighting for. Maybe it’s a sad moment. Maybe it’s a relationship, or maybe just a feeling that has been present for years.

Whatever those defining moments are, you’ll identify them through the brainstorming process.

Then, you’ll develop a plan for the book about your life. Think of it as an outline. It doesn’t have to be too specific. Just list the most important events you’re going to write about and note down few ideas. When you start writing, the initial ideas will evolve.

  1. You’re Mentioning Other People, Right? Ask for Their Permission

It’s important to do this before you get too deep in this project. You have the right to share impressions and memories. However, if you’re naming other people, you’ll need their permission. They also have the right to their privacy. Maybe they remember the events in a way that’s different from yours.

If you don’t get permission and you still want to write about those events, you’ll have to change their names and make sure the real persons behind those names cannot be easily recognized.

  1. Make the Start Exiting

I was born in a small town in Iowa. The year was 1963.”

This sounds like a boring start. It doesn’t promise much. Many other people were born in a small town in Iowa in that same year. What makes your life so special?

Then there was the bad weather. It would come in one day when the fall was over. We would have to shut the windows in the night against the rain and the cold wind would strip the leaves from the trees in the Place Contrescarpe.”

That’s how Ernest Hemingway’s autobiography starts. He doesn’t start from the day he was born. He starts with an event that defines him: a moment spent at a cafe. He saw a girl that inspired him to start writing. That’s how the important part of his life began.

Think of a trigger event. Define that turning point in your life that made you grow into who you are. Describe that one, and you’ll have a great start.

  1. Explore Questions

You’re not writing this story just to get it off your shoulders. You don’t just want to describe your life. People may be interested in such a book if you’re really, really famous. It would still be stripped off literary value. If you want to write a really good autobiography, you must get to the bottom of things.

Ask questions about the most important events you’re describing. Why did you do that? Why did a person decide to leave you? Why do you care so much about this cause you’re devoted to? Why didn’t you make a commitment to something else?

When you get deeper into the events, you get material that will turn plain descriptions of events into a memoir.

Are You Ready?

We told you how to start. When you get through that point, it will be easier to continue. You will follow the plan and you’ll keep developing it. At one moment, you may even notice that the words are pouring themselves out. You’re finally expressing the things you’ve been carrying inside for so long. That may be a torturing process, but it’s also liberating in a strange way.

If you have a great life story, it would be a shame not to turn it into a powerful autobiography. Follow the steps described above and start with the process of preparation.

What Is Greek Life in College?

What Is Greek Life in College?

When you’re still not at college, you imagine it as the best place on Earth. You expect crazy parties, pranks, beer pongs, and a lot of competition between different groups of students. Those are the expectations imposed by the way Greek life is portrayed in […]

When It’s Time to Stop Researching and Start Writing

When It’s Time to Stop Researching and Start Writing

When you are an aspiring writer or a student, the process of research can be very beneficial. It will allow you to explore and fire up your imagination like never before. But sometimes we get too absorbed in the preparation process so we tend to […]

Why You Should Write Every Day: Benefits and Reasons

Why You Should Write Every Day: Benefits and Reasons

Writing is a part of our daily lives. We communicate via e-mail and text messages every single hour. But does this improve our writing skills? Not really. Perhaps you have been working on your novel for years but you can’t make yourself complete it? Or you want to expand your vocabulary by learning some obscure words? Then make writing a habit.

There is no need for writing pages and pages of material every night – a hundred words will do. It will not only make you better at communicating with your audience or co-workers but you will clear out your mind as well. Just stick to it and you will see the improvement. So if you want to become a better writer, just start writing!

You will improve your writing

Writing is a skill and if you don’t practice it often, you might lose the ability to communicate with your readership the way you want. This is a real problem for professional writers and authors so they try to jot down at least a couple of sentences on a daily basis. If you want to work on your style and productivity, you should do so as well.

You can write about your daily life in a blog or a diary but don’t forget to try other unconventional styles such as a stream of consciousness if you don’t feel inspired at a given moment. And don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or structure – the goal is to write down your thoughts and ideas as they come.

Dealing with stress

Writing in a journal can do wonders for your mind when you are dealing with a lot of stress in your daily life. It can be a great coping mechanism because you will be able to put all of your feelings on a piece of paper instead of keeping it inside. So if you are not ready to share your problems with the others around you, writing can be a good substitute.

Keeping track of your mood and feelings might even help you cope in the future because you will be able to recognize the things which might trigger your stress, anxiety, or depression. Keeping a journal is not obsolete and it will give you the relief you need when your life gets too hectic. Plus, research confirmed that people who write down everything they are going through in their life can overcome difficulties quicker than the others.

Expanding your vocabulary

We live in a modern age of texting and emailing so a large number of us do not use our full vocabulary often. Instead, we try to say as much as we can by using short sentences or abbreviations. But if you want to maintain or expand your vocabulary, you simply have to write more.

So if you have found a word you really like in a thesaurus and want to apply it more often, start by including it in an article you might be writing at the moment or a diary entry. It is the best way memorize it and the word will become a part of your vocabulary.

You can earn money

Nowadays, content is everything. There are many work opportunities for aspiring writers so you can earn some money by doing what you love. But you need to be consistent and always deliver high-quality texts which are both engaging and educational. Therefore, practicing writing every day is mandatory.

So if you are a freelance writer, find a niche you like writing about, create your own blog, and don’t give up. Once the audience recognizes your articles as useful or informational, the readership will come and increase the traffic. When you establish yourself as a successful blog writer, you can try submitting your work to large publications. It is crucial to find your own voice and make your content interesting.

Take some time for yourself

If you sit in front of your computer for hours, writing with a pen and paper will surely feel refreshing to you. So forget about the technology and go old school. It will help you relax and wind down as well as make you more creative.

You can explore your ideas without the distraction of the social media or news outlets because the only thing in front of you are your own words. Writing down to-do lists or future business ideas will allow you to put more thought into the process and actually commit to them. You focus will be on the goals you have set for yourself.

Writing will fire up your imagination

Many writers struggle with finding inspiration or new ideas for their next story. While some of them do take some time off, others continue to write in hopes of finding a new direction that will stimulate them. This is an excellent approach because you will stay consistent and not lose the habit of writing something on a daily basis.

Every life event that happens to you or your friends can be used for your next project so write it down and try to expand the narrative. Your imagination will take you places by perfecting your storytelling skills and exploring other creative possibilities.

Conclusion

Writing every single day will help you find your voice, refine your writing style, and make you a better writer altogether. So it doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or you write professionally – you should get your ideas out of your head and see where they lead you.

Many aspiring writers think that it is enough to write once or twice a week. That is not true because writing is a skill and you have to work hard in order to get better at it. It does take some time but writing should become your habit. So even if you don’t feel like writing on a particular day, grab a piece of paper (or sit in front of your computer), and unleash your thoughts. It is important to be consistent and not give up.

How to Use Active Reading to Become a Better Writer

How to Use Active Reading to Become a Better Writer

Many famous authors such as Stephen King support active reading as a form of perfecting your writing skills. So instead of simply reading a book for your own entertainment, active reading will allow you to dive deeper into the text and pick up on different […]

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of eLearning?

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of eLearning?

Oh, the wonders of the Internet… It’s a place where you can find every possible piece of info you need. You want to learn more about the universe? There’s an online course for that. You always wanted to explore literature but you didn’t do enough […]

How to Be a Successful Writer

How to Be a Successful Writer

How do you do it? How do you become better at expressing strong opinions, creating awesome characters, and holding the attention of your reader to the very end of the piece? This post is all about how to be a great writer.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to write your first book or you’re an eBook writer. Maybe a blogger. Maybe even a student who wants to be more successful at academic writing. This guide on how to be a successful writer is universal. It helps you find that inner spark and keep it consistent.

The Ultimate Guide on How to Become a Good Writer

  1. Find the Passion

I recently read an online post by Nicholas Sparks, covering the business part of writing. My God, did it make writing look like a dry, money-driven activity! It wasn’t about how to be a better writer; it was about making you a better salesperson.

Yes, if you’re a blogger or writer, you’ll have to take care of that business part. But please, leave it for later. Writing is your day-to-day job and you should treat it responsibly, but its business part should never make you lose your passion.

Think: why do you want to write? It’s all about creation. You’re sharing part of you with this world. You have stories to tell, and people need to hear them. Even if it’s just a college essay you’re working on, you should find your passion before starting the research. Discover the aspect that makes you really interested. Visualize the results. Understand why you’re doing all this, and that thought will keep you focused on the work.

  1. Develop a Habit Out of Writing

You can’t just sit and write something special out of nowhere. I don’t know if other writers are that talented, but I can speak from my own experience: the talent is not enough. It takes a lot of practice and tons of mental warm up before you write something really powerful. Writing should be a habit for you.

Wait, didn’t I just say you shouldn’t turn writing into a routine? This is different. You’ll practice free writing on a daily basis, and that’s exactly what will keep the spark of passion going.

How do you do this?

  • Do you have a blog? If not, I encourage you to start one. Today! On the blog, you’ll publish small bits of content every single day. Pick a niche you’re passionate about. Even if you don’t get much feedback at start, keep going. You’re doing this for the sake of practice. Two months from today, check the first and last post on the blog. Will you notice a difference? Will there be progress?

  • If you’re still not ready to share your work with the world, you can always count on Penzu. Or you can keep a traditional diary. Pick whatever method that works for you; just keep writing every day.

  1. Exercise the Body and Rest the Mind, Too

How do you feel after an entire day spent in front of the computer? Is your mind foggy? Do you feel like you’re unable to function properly? Do you need tons of coffee to survive through such days?

Too much writing can lead to a mental burnout. You faced the same effect during exam week. You were studying for entire days and nights. You were completing papers and kept looking at the screen for too long. Sooner or later, that behavior resulted with intellectual exhaustion. Your brain was no longer able to process more information.

How do you prevent this state of being? You need to practice writing every day, so you’ll keep your mind fit for the big thing. However, you need to exercise your body, too. Take a break. Don’t make it a Twitter break, though. Use this opportunity to move your body. You don’t have to do extreme physical exercise. Gentle yoga will be enough to get your body active and your mind calm.

Active body – calm mind? What kind of connection is that? When you focus on the movement of your body, your brain is free of the stress it goes through during the writing process. You’re not straining it to think of new, better ideas.

When you show up to any doctor with the complaint that stress affects your health, they will tell you the same: exercise to relax. Do that every day. You’ll notice that when your mind is calm, the brightest ideas get to surface.

  1. Dig Deep

How many times have you tried hard to recreate knowledge and ideas without success? You know you have that information at the back of your mind, but it’s in a hidden folder. You just can’t get hold of it.

Imagine that piece of info as a needle that’s buried under thousands of other needles. It’s blocked in your subconscious levels and it won’t show up.

How do you get out of this writer’s block?

  • You have to learn how to communicate with your subconscious. There’s tons of information, memories, and feelings down there. Exploring them can be frightening, but you have to do it.

  • When you feel blocked, bring all issues out into the open. Don’t try to hide anything from yourself. Write stuff in your diary. Let your subconscious tell you the way out.

  • Meditation helps, too. When you close your eyes and get yourself to the point where you don’t cause thoughts on purpose and you’re just an observer of the mind, you’ll notice how it works differently. It becomes free to show you the ideas.

  1. Make a Schedule, But Don’t Live by It

Okay, this will sound contradictory, but I promise it makes sense. When you want to complete a project, it’s important to plan some milestones. You should definitely try to write something every single day. Otherwise, you’ll lose your initial passion through the procrastination, and you’ll abandon the project for better times. Don’t let that happen.

  • Plan your days in a way that allows you to work on this project continuously, even if it’s just for 15 minutes.

  • Schedule some milestones. For example, you can plan to complete the research stage for a term paper within a week. At the end of the week, you’ll reach a milestone: research completed. Then, you’ll continue with the parts of the term paper, step by step.

  • You get the point: when you plan your approach, you know you can do it. Your schedule gives you a precise timeframe that seems possible.

That being said, you should never become a slave to your schedule. Creativity cannot be forced. The plan should only stimulate it. You’re a writer, but you’re also a creator of ideas. You can’t schedule a flow of ideas. If you notice that today is not your best day, don’t force yourself to do the work. It won’t be any good.

  • Try working on the project for 15 minutes.

  • If you can’t get your inspiration flowing, take a power nap. 20 minutes of sleep should be enough to freshen you up.

  • Try exercise, too!

  • If nothing works, it’s simply not your day. That’s why it’s important to make the schedule flexible. Give yourself more than enough time for the completion of this project, so you won’t be caught off guard when these lousy days occur.

  1. Be Professional about It

Okay, I admit: Nicholas Sparks was right to some extent. When you intend to make a living out of writing, you have to act professional about it. It’s practically a business consisted of few phases:

  • Generating ideas

  • Creation

  • Publishing

  • Promotion

Whether you’re publishing a book or you’re working on a blog, you have to maintain a professional attitude towards writing. If you’re building a brand around your name, it’s important to hire the right people in your team. They will deal with the promotion, so you can stay focused on the thing you do best: writing.

How to Become a Successful Writer: Does Talent Matter at All?

I’m all for honesty here. Yes, it does. Talent matters. However, persistence is what will keep the talent growing. Without actual work, you won’t benefit much from your talent for writing, will you?

Maybe you don’t consider yourself to be a talented writer. You’re forced to write various projects because the curriculum demands them. Even if that’s the case, you can work your way towards successful completion of the projects. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover that inner writer? Give yourself a chance.

Let me sum up the key takeaways. If you’re wondering how to be a successful writer, these are the main aspects to focus on:

  • Your passion

  • The habit of writing

  • Exercise and rest

  • Your subconscious

  • The plan

  • Your professional attitude

Easy, right? Well, not so much. It’s hard work, but let me tell you: it’s worth the effort. When you complete that project and you see that it’s even better than you imagined it, the feeling is priceless. Have you experienced such feeling of completion?

Now, it’s your turn. If you want to become a better writer, then take action! Don’t forget to share your opinions in the comment section.