Why write your life story? 

There can be many reasons why a person gets to a stage in their life when they feel they want to tell someone their life story, and their life experiences. This can take several forms, from talking to family and friends to wanting to write something down on paper. Nevertheless, I have found a pattern in my encounters and quite possibly there are five main reasons people want to write their life story book.

Writing stories for my grandchildren

With well-established family traditions, there can be a strong draw for a senior family member to perhaps want to capture and record some of these values to be shared by future generations. Otherwise, in an ever changing world, these ‘old ways’ may become lost.

These stories may include children’s tales stories and fables from an individual’s cultural background. An important aim can be to encourage a grandchild’s imagination and love of lifelong reading. These morality stories can be interwoven with a person’s life and can be a treasure trove of fantasy and timeless truths for children.  Illustrations can also play an important part in this form of storytelling.

Sharing life experiences with others

Another important category is one where a person’s life changing events can provide stories that may inspire or help people going through similar situations. This could be the loss of a love one, a complex divorce, a lived through trauma and other life transforming incidents.

It could be a businessman talking about the secret of his success; it may be about growing up in a certain environment. While for some these stories may help some people through what they must face, for others it could allow them to see things they would never be part of or consider could never occur in their own lives and they will be able to see things, potentially, from another person’s point of view. Another way of putting it, would be to say that readers of these stories can experience many lives while only living one themselves. Overall though, helping others is a major driver for these story tellers as reflected in their altruistic behaviour.

Cathartic healing process  

Sometimes a person needs to get something off their chest. And going through their story, telling others can be a big release. This again can relate particularly to traumatic episodes in a person’s life. In writing their story, it is possible they can begin to understand or put some meaning to what has happened in their life.

Life writing is a process of looking back but it is also a way of rebuilding and preparing for the future. This may also help others that read a person’s story who will face similar issues or have been through them already.

Family tree stories

As many families tend to live apart these days, there can be a need to pull the story of a person’s relatives together, to bring the family tree alive. These examples of family tree stories can provide a record for future generations. Otherwise, in time they can be forgotten.

This activity can also bring the generations together as they learn about their heritage as a family. For some this can be an illuminating journey.

We have a good story to tell

Then they are people that through their life experiences, they come to the realisation that they quite possibly have a riveting story to tell. They believe they have a page turner and all they need to do is to write it down.

This may indeed be the case and through their drive and determination to succeed they will set about telling their story. Often though they seek help, as they either they don’t have the time or the necessary skills to see the project through.

What all these reasons have in common, however, is a need to work out how best to structure the stories that need to be told. Where to begin and where to end them are key questions. Readers will want to relate to the characters involved, their motivations, and the tensions and conflicts they face. These are all key ingredients in telling stories in a compelling manner creating can’t put down books. A ghost writer can gladly assist in all these areas.


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