So you want to write about yourself, but what are you writing
So you want to write about yourself, but what are you writing?
Congratulations on partaking in one of the most meaningful and challenging journeys of your life as you write your story down on paper. You know you want to write about your life, and you may, or may not know if your end goal is to have a private record for your family/ friends, or a published book. Regardless it is nice to be able to explain to those closest to you exactly what is eating up all of your time. Naming your project will also help you find more relevant advice on how and where to start.
So are you writing a biography, a memoir, a personal essay, or does your project fall somewhere in between?
The major thing that defines a biography is that it spans a person’s lifetime. Biographies are often about people of notable achievement, and aim to pass on wisdom or knowledge either from the main character, or from the actions and consequences of his/her life. An autobiography is a when the individual writes their own book about themselves, while a biography is the account of someone’s life written by someone else.
A memoir centers around part of someone’s life, usually a particular experience. Memoirs can be light hearted or serious depending on the topic, and usually seek to pass on insight or a message based on the experience. Though there is a lot of overlap between memoir and biography, memoirs are more often about the experience itself. The reader is taken on a journey almost as if reliving the experiences of the main character. A biography is often more focused on an individual’s journey through their lifetime, each experience detailing for the reader how that individual’s life has been sculpted. If you want to read more about what a Memoir is, the following article has some very interesting insight: https://bookriot.com/2018/02/16/what-is-a-memoir/
Sometimes categorized as a type of memoir, a personal essay is a short piece of work focused on a particular instance or experience. Personal essay collections sometimes tie in a number of short stories that may not be directly connected but can tie into an overall storyline. Personal essays may focus on creatively drawing out the emotions of the reader and really connecting them to the experience.
Though some people believe that labelling a work creative nonfiction means that they can take certain liberates when it comes to writing down their experience, the truth is that creative nonfiction should be accurate and factual just like any other type of nonfiction writing. The main thing that defines creative nonfiction is that it is written in a way to make it read more like a novel.