Topics to Write About in an Autobiography

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An autobiography is a snapshot of your life and times that can be enjoyed by current and future members of your own family as well as by anyone looking for insights, inspiration or just an entertaining read.

Family Matters

  • In addition to telling readers who you are, where you were born, and who composed your immediate family, you can write about your ancestral roots, cultural/ethnic identity, and religious affiliations. Photos are a great supplement to autobiographies because they enable readers to relate to the individuals and locations you're talking about.

Historical Context

  • Although the star of the book is you, readers will want to know something about what was going on in the world as you were growing up. These topics include politics, inventions, wars, natural disasters, transportation, social issues, entertainment and the prices of cars, houses, and groceries.

Childhood and School

  • How you were raised, whether your family moved a lot and what subjects and teachers you liked best in school--they all had an influence on the lifestyle, relationship and career choices you made as an adult, and your readers will want to know what those were. Autobiographies often include references to influential role models and life-defining moments.

Time Out for Fun

  • If you were good at sports, crafts or hobbies, or had a talent for acting, dancing, singing or playing an instrument--even if you never pursued them professionally--be sure to write about them in your autobiography. If you traveled a lot or had family vacations that generated silly or nostalgic memories, include these, too.

The Workplace

  • Reminisce about your first jobs, your worst jobs, and what you learned about yourself in the process. Explore whether you chose the job or the job chose you. Speculate about what you'd be doing if money were no object.

Your Philosophy of Life

  • Share your outlook on the future, the past, the world and your fellow man. Examine the events in your life that have contributed to your optimism, pessimism or apathy. Chime in with your two cents about controversial social issues. Identify what you think your purpose is on earth and the legacy you'd like to leave.

References

  • "4,000 Questions for Getting To Know Anyone & Everyone"; Barbara Ann Kipfer; 2004
  • "The Book of Self-Acquaintance"; Margaret Tiberio;2001
  • Photo Credit Image courtesy of morguefile
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