• How to Start Writing Your Life Story #4

    #4 of 5

    In addition to finding the right motivation and focusing on your muse, it really helps to have list of the little stories you want to tell, and an …

    outlineDid you dread writing outlines when you were in school? I did.

    This outline is different because it has already been written for you—you already lived it. All you have to do is type out titles for what happened in your life and group it by time period.

    At a writing conference I heard an author say that the outline was like the scaffolding to his book. It was there to help him get started and get the building up. But once the real content was enough to hold on its own, the scaffolding came down because he didn’t need it anymore. The structure had a life of its own after awhile, and he could change it around or tear things off and add things on wherever he needed to. I thought this was a really helpful image, and very true about my own outline. It helped me remember where I was going, but there was a lot of room to add more little stories in between or take out the stories that didn’t get the right point across.

    My outline started with senior year of high school—a time in my life when I had so much depth of emotion—and moved from there to college years, post college years, and ended with my wedding day. This time span made sense for the topic of my book: finding the person who is right for you and choosing to marry that person.

    So your outline might look as simple as this:

    (By the way, this is not my real outline! It’s just a funny example off the top of my head so you can see how easy it can be. Writing my real outline would be too much of a spoiler for my book.)

    My Book Intended to Encourage and Entertain Christian Teen Girls

    I. The Wrong Guys

    A. Senior Year of High School

    1.     I dated this guy

    2.     I dated that guy

    3.     Oh my gosh then I met this guy

    4.     Graduation

    B. College

    1.   Then I dated another guy

    2.     Couldn’t stop thinking about that first guy

    3.     Ouch he married someone else

    4.     Then I met this guy who became my best friend

    5.     Graduation

    II. The Right Guy

    A. Post College

    1.   I traveled here

    2.     I learned this

    3.     I learned that

    4.     I grew up and I really care about people now

    5.     Best friend guy asked me to marry him!

    B.    Wedding

    1.     Planning

    2.     How I changed

    3.     The wedding day

    4.     What really mattered

    I know you will forgive the lack of indentations.

    So you take the most interesting thing that happened to you in your life and jot down the sequence of events. It might seem like you can’t make a book out of it. But you can. The crazy thing is that the more you write, the more you remember. The more you remember, the more you make connections to your childhood and other things that happened in your life. So your content grows and you learn things you never even realized about yourself.

    Three benefits to using an outline when you are writing:

    1.  An outline helps you remember where you are going with your story.
    2.  It helps you think ahead about the next section you need to work on.
    3.  It helps you to determine when your first draft is complete.

     Let’s recap. You can do this. All you need is:

    #1  the right motivation

    #2  a muse

    #3  lists of memories

    #4  a simple outline

    #5 There is one more post in this series! Look for it next week.

    I really hope you are a few steps closer to sharing your story.