If you want to write a biography, you don’t have to wait half a century first. There are enough examples of young people who have something to tell you. In some cases it is something very beautiful, in others something very burdensome. The reasons why a person decides to write his or her biography are manifold. However, you do not have to be a celebrity to write a novel about your own life Writing a book to be able.
How to write a biography?
Athletes, celebrities, young entrepreneurs, activists such as Greta Thunberg, but also refugees, people who have left a sect or people who have had to overcome serious personal crises – they can all tell something that interests, inspires or encourages other people. However, it is not possible to mention every detail of a life in a biography. That’s why biography writing is also about the art of omission. Therefore, you should first determine what is most important to you before you start writing a biography.
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So you should be clear about where your focus is: do you want to become a famous author with the book about your life Become an author or write it for friends and acquaintances? This decision influences everything else: Do you want to try a publishing house or do you decide to Self-Publishing and/or do you exclusively want a Writing an eBook? Do you take a Book editing or have a friend proofread it for you? To decide this, you need to be very clear about your motivation.
Difference between biography and autobiography
The general difference between autobiography and biography writing lies in the person who writes the book. An autobiography is a review of one’s life. A biography, on the other hand, can also be written by someone who has never met the person portrayed personally. However, many find the prefix "auto" too unwieldy, so instead of "writing autobiography" they simply say "writing my biography".
However, autobiography and biography have one crucial thing in common: both rely on sources such as documents, photos, conversations, etc. For example, if you were writing a biography about Wolfgang Borchert, your research would certainly begin in the Wolfgang Borchert Archive of the Hamburg State and University Library.
Fig 1: Research on writing a biography, z.B. in the bequest and autograph collection of the Hamburg State Library
In general, biography writing is about reporting as completely and authentically as possible. However, if you only want to portray a certain aspect, for example, how you overcame a blow of fate, then it fits better to write "memories" or "memoirs".
In contrast to biography writing, memoirs allow you to talk about whatever you feel like at that moment, without having to meet a requirement of completeness. However, memoirs are usually written by personalities who have achieved something great. In their memoirs they do not present their complete personal career, but concentrate on the historical moment. For the not so famous people the memoirs are then called "Lebenserinnerungen.
Finally, you can also write an autobiographical write a novel, in which elements are omitted, added or changed. Unlike biography writing, the autobiographical novel mixes fact and fiction. It is not clear to the reader which parts are true and which parts are made up. In this case, by the way, you should make a Novel editing if you decide to have your work professionally edited.
Writing your own biography: When and Why?
The biography writing can help to process events, to give a meaning to the own life story or to give courage to other people with the own example. There are no special conditions for biography writing, such as a minimum age or a certain level of celebrity. Anyone who wants to share their experiences and preserve their memories can tell their story.
In sociology, biography work is a recognized research approach. The basic idea is that through writing, people gain access to their creativity, which they can in turn use to shape and cope with their lives (Cf. v. Engelhardt, 2018).
In addition, biographies are interesting for sociological research, as they always provide insights into a particular society and milieu. For example, shows Prof. Liebold from the FAU Erlangen on how such texts can be analyzed with documentary methods. To do this, she researches recent autobiographies of the business elite and elaborates on specific patterns of elite self-representation (cf. Liebold, 2018).
Another sociological focus is the Archive "German Memory. Eyewitness interviews are about how people experienced history and how historical experiences were processed.