How to Record Your Life Events
Interested in publishing your life story?
Do you want to pass on your story to others?
Wish you could make your life events memorable?
If you’re interested in sharing your important experiences and your personal knowledge, you’re about to learn how to write your life events and what to include.
How to Start Your Life Story
If you want to record your life story, the first thing to do is begin keeping track of your life events. Now before we go any further, let’s get one thing straight. Recording the events of your life doesn’t have to be a stressful thing. It’s not meant to add pressure to your already busy life. You don’t have to write everything that happens every minute of the day. In fact, you don’t even have to write every day or every week. And if a month or two goes by and you haven’t written anything… no big deal.
There are a variety of ways you can record your life events.
- Keep a journal/diary
- Take pictures
- Record video
- Start a health notebook
- Write down the funny things your kids say
- Save your monthly/yearly calendars
- Create a scrapbook
- Save newspaper clippings
- Organize photos in a photo album
- Save your emails
- Record conversations (with all other parties’ permission)
- Use your phone to record your thoughts
- Store mementos
- Keep letters
- And more!
Lastly.com can also help with collecting and archiving the information and details surrounding your life changes. You can quickly upload your photos and videos to store in one place. You can easily create a timeline of your life as well as a family tree. And you can conveniently insert your stories to align with your timeline. Whatever process you choose, Lastly.com can be a helping hand along the way.
Important Elements Every Life Story Needs
Crafting a readable story about your life is a bit like an author creating a great work of fiction or nonfiction. You don’t have to recall every event in chronological order, although this may make sense for most stories. Flashbacks also serve a purpose, and they can be used quite effectively when needed.
Some experts suggest creating a three-sentence life story. How would you sum up your life in three sentences? Put some thought into it. Play with different ideas. After you’ve decided on your final three-sentence life story, then you’ve got the theme for your complete life story. The points in your three sentences should be your focus throughout. You can include life events, activities, secrets, life lessons, and people that support your theme.
Every story needs a beginning, a middle, and an end. Every story needs an overarching theme. But most importantly, every story needs three classic elements: characters, conflict, and resolution.
The characters of your life have all influenced you, whether small or large. We all leave a trace. You don’t have to introduce every minor character who has walked in and out of your life, but certainly introduce and reflect upon the most important people in your life. Did you meet someone for five minutes, but they changed your thoughts or opinions? Touch on the emotions behind each relationship. If you make an effort to be truthful about each person, then readers will be able to relate to them.
No life passes by without conflict. Throughout the normal course of life, we have conflict with other people. Events and circumstances occur, creating situations that we didn’t foresee. Every person faces challenges and overcomes adversity—the very things that build personal character and provide the rich life lessons we want to pass on. Take the time to describe these events, including the emotions and how the events changed you.
Finally, all conflicts end with a resolution—whether happy or sad, positive or negative. Talk about the resolution for each conflict so that the reader can understand the emotions behind it and how it changed you. This is truly where your life lessons can be passed on. Each person can make their own interpretation of the events and their aftermaths. And that is where your legacy lies.
Life Events to Include in Your Story
When you think about the full scope of your life, it can be difficult to find a focus. That’s why we suggest the three-sentence life story above. But what if you’re stuck with deciding which life events impacted you?
If you’re in doubt about what life events to include in your life story, try this quick reference list.
- Places you’ve lived
- A favorite family member or friend
- Someone you had a special friendship or relationship with
- Your spouse
- Your work life or career
- Childhood memories
- Sports, school, community or career achievements
- Personal triumphs and tragedies
- Life crisis
- Local, regional, national or world travels
- A turning point in your life
- A major weather event
- Decisions you’ve made
- Marriage and divorce or domestic partnership
- A deceased dependent, family member or friend
Most Popular Types of Life Stories
Think about your life and the people and events that you encountered. What have you had to overcome? What have you learned? According to world-famous and renowned author Kurt Vonnegut, there are only six possible major story arcs that occur in any story ever told.
- Rags to Riches (rise)
- Riches to Rags (fall)
- Man in a Hole (fall then rise)
- Icarus (rise then fall)
- Cinderella (rise then fall then rise)
- Oedipus (fall then rise then fall)
Still other authors and readers classify stories under a different set of categories.
- Man against man
- Man against nature
- Man against himself
- Man against God
- Man against society
- Man caught in the middle
- Man and woman
Whatever your story theme, you can tell your story in a variety of ways. Some of these story themes occur while overcoming an obstacle or “monster,” while others may occur in a comical fashion, through a journey or a quest, or through a tragedy or rebirth.
Finally, there are also a variety of lessons or universal messages. The following themes, as well as the themes listed above, are all common human experiences that everyone can relate to.
- Peace and war
- Good and evil
- Circle of life
- Coming of age
Which of these themes have occurred in your life? And how did the situation present itself? Perhaps you’ve experienced more than one theme in your life? That’s Okay. You can focus on both. In fact, many books tend to have more than one intertwined theme as different characters interact and experience their individual life journeys.
How to Make Your Life Story More Compelling
Perhaps making your life story more compelling is the biggest mystery when we sit down to right. Yes, you may have led a long, rich, fulfilling life. But will that matter to others? Will people want to learn from your experiences in addition to their own? How can you write about your own life changes and make them captivating for others to read?
The answer is drama! Yes, drama is what interests people. It’s what compels us toward fight of flight. It’s what challenges us to act our worst or our best. So, think about the dramatic events and circumstances you have encountered throughout your life. These are the stories that will make your life story more interesting. These are the life events that make people want to know what happened next.
Drama, or conflict, along with resolution creates the magic in our lives. Nothing good in life comes without a little bit of bad. No gain or reward comes to us without having to sacrifice something first.
Going one step further, how you tell your life story also makes your life events more compelling to read about. Here is some practical advice for gathering your story together.
- Don’t be too verbose.
- Keep your story tight.
- Write about interesting people who are also complex.
- Write about things that disrupted your world.
- Develop a unique “voice.”
- Don’t forget about the supporting characters in your life.
- Use the five W’s: who, what, when, where, and why. Plus, how.
- Get up close and personal.
- Show, don’t tell.
- Show people’s reactions, both internal and external.
- Don’t leave out the tension.
- Use good dialogue.
- End with a bang!
How to Publish Your Life Events
Once you’ve written, edited, and revised, revised, revised your story, you may be ready for the final step: publishing! Most people—unless they are famous, wealthy or have made a great contribution to society—don’t opt to seek a mainstream publisher for their life story.
Aside from traditional publishing, you may want to select one of a few different routes. You can print your story and bind it yourself. You may want to find a local printer or office supply store to print and bind it for you. Or you may want to look for a self-publisher, who will help you through the process of formatting your story for book printing and find or create cover art for you.
No matter which publishing route you choose, it’s important to research your options in advance to ensure that you will get the result that you desire—and that you can afford.
Time to start your own life story!