Although an autobiographical essay is based on your own experience, writing it may turn out to be challenging. Students may write such piece as a form of application, a college assignment, or for their personal enjoyment. While writing, you’ll have to keep in mind many details such as the right structure and format, following the requirements, keeping your audience involved, etc. In this article, you’ll find the key strategies and concepts that will help you to write an excellent autobiography.
First Steps: How to Write an Autobiographical Introduction
The first thing to remember is that you’ll have to write not about your entire life, but only about its particular aspect which can be discussed in detail throughout the essay. To create an outstanding piece, you should choose a story that means much to you and make it appealing to others. It's also quite useful to look through autobiography essay template samples and outline the main points in advance.
Here are a few options for you to consider:
- Describe your accomplishment such as getting a dream job, winning a prize or being awarded, your graduation from school.
- Tell about a trial in your life such as a class you have difficulty with, getting an injury, losing a family member.
- A meaningful or inspiring life experience – picking up a new hobby, meeting a partner or a friend, going on a journey, describing a story from the life of your family and what you learned from it.
- Next step is to define what the purpose of your writing Why did you choose this exact story? What is the main idea you want to convey through it?
- If you are to write an autobiography for a job application, you should read through the given instructions carefully. If an application includes a range of questions or a prompt you need to answer, ensure that your story responds to these.
- If an autobiography is a writing assignment for your class, be sure to learn its guidelines first. Choose a story that will definitely fit this assignment. Ask a school instructor to help you if you get some questions.
It’s also important to keep in mind the target audience. Think of who you are going to present your essay to. Keep in mind the expectations and needs of your potential readers, and write them down not to forget while writing.
- If the autobiography is a part of your application, think of what the potential employer may expect to get to know about you.
- If you are writing the autobiography as a part of your school assignment, think of what an instructor will expect to see in it.
Next, generate some great ideas for the essay, you may try one or a few of these activities:
- Listing – writing down all ideas that can work for your essay.
- Freewriting – writing nonstop for at least ten minutes, then choose some parts of this text for your essay.
- Clustering – writing the key idea in the center and adding all that relates to it in a cluster.
- Questioning – write down simple questions like “Who? When? Why?” and then add answers to them.
Finally, create an outline for your autobiography. Once you have enough ideas, write a detailed plan which will help you to make a final draft of the essay. It helps you stay organized and not miss out a thing.
Writing an Introduction, Main Body and a Conclusion
Once your outline or a final draft is ready, it’s time to start writing the essay. Like many other types of essays, an autobiography should include an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion. Make sure you cover all the parts. You may use the list below as a template or a basic plan.
- An introduction. Begin your autobiographical essay with a catching sentence which engages the reader’s attention, conveys the key idea of the piece, and acts as the story’s preview. Start telling the story immediately, from the first sentence of the introduction. Describe the timing and the setting of your story, using unique, vivid sentences that speak to the reader. Avoid broad or generic introduction phrases, as well as quotes. End the introduction with a sentence that keeps the audience excited and willing to learn more. The last sentence should connect with the next paragraph.
- The main body. Having introduced the story, you should make a smooth transition to the main body of your essay. Describe the story step by step, revealing the progress. Use your draft or an outline, to include all important details.
- The conclusion. Make the conclusion interesting and memorable. The ending of the story should wrap up all loose ends and reflect the experience you’ve gained. To make the conclusion sound special, you can refer to the beginning of the story, talk about its significance or an unexpected experience.
More Tips for Writing an Autobiography
- Write your essay in the first person; don’t switch from it to the second (from ‘I’ to ‘you’).
- To enrich the story, include dialogues where appropriate, memorable details, describe emotions and moods.
- Try presenting the events in a non-chronological order; you can start telling from the middle or the end.
- Stay true to yourself; use the autobiography to reflect your personality and experiences. Remember about the sense of humor.
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