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Your Life Story

This is a step by step guide to recording your and your family’s life story and a guide to providing photos for the book.

Writing with Pen


Your life and the lives of your family are important. You have taken on challenges and won the day. You moved the human condition forward and bettered the earth. Tell your story and Inspire yourself and others!

You will leave a legacy – your story and the story of your family. You may think you have lived an unremarkable life, but succeeding generations will be interested in hearing it. What you consider normal and mundane will be interesting and slightly exotic to them. 

You will help protect the history of your family. You may be telling all the stories you can about your life and your take on things, but that won’t assure you that it will be remembered the way you are telling it! We rely on written or recorded information much more than verbal histories. Record your story and make sure it is woven into the history of your family.

You may inspire someone else with your story. Remember those challenges you conquered? What about those problems you solved? Someone else, somewhere on the planet needs to hear how you did those things. They need to understand that it is possible and they need to be inspired by the way you conquered and solved them.

It opens the door to reconcile open issues from your past. When you review your life from start to present, you will encounter unresolved items. Reviewing your life and accomplishments can cause you to see how you have

overcome real and perceived obstacles such as these. Reflection can help you move past the feelings and perhaps provide a path to reconciliation with relatives and friends.

Writing your biography:

  • Provides an opportunity for self-reflection and self-awareness.

  • Helps to process and make sense of life experiences and emotions.

  • Allows you to pass on your legacy and values to future generations.

  • Can serve as a therapeutic tool for healing and growth.

  • Gives you a chance to document important events and memories for posterity.

  • Offers a creative outlet for self-expression and storytelling.

  • Helps to clarify personal goals and aspirations.

  • Enhances communication and relationship-building skills.

  • Improves writing skills and creativity.

  • Can be a source of inspiration and motivation for others.

Computer Work
  • An autobiography is a nonfiction story of a person’s life, written from their point of view.

  • A memoir is a type of autobiography that focuses on a particular period in the author’s life rather than their whole life.

It is best to record an autobiography. An autobiography should include all the most important details of your life story and/or the life story of the family member about whom your write.

  • A description of your personal origin story. This can include your hometown, your family history, your formative years, some key family members and loved ones, and touchstone moments in your education. Profile people and teachers who have influenced you.

  • How did you get your name? What have been your nicknames?

  • Write about you personality - why you are like you are and what triggers your emotions

  • Significant experiences. Add accounts of each personal experience that shaped your worldview and your approach to life in the present day.

  • Detailed recollections of episodes from your professional life - often these are the turning points that your autobiography will be known for the moments that would inspire someone to pick up your book in the first place. Be sure to give them extra care and attention.

  • Personal stories of failure. Follow your setbacks with a good story of how you responded to that failure.

  • Your philosophy on life. What wisdom would you like to leave to your family? What aspects of life are important to you? How do you define your character?

  • Write about the people that have inspired you. Who were or are your role models? Why or how did they affect you.

  • What are the events that have defined you? What significant events have helped shape your destiny, outlook on life, relationships etc.?

  • What do you aspire to? Your romantic life, your faith, your aspirations, your dreams and your spiritual profile

  • Profile your family. Describe those closest to you and their character. Their lives and your relationship with them. Their influence on you.

  • Write about your friends, your pets, your workmates and your sporting and/or club companions.

  • Discuss your passions - your favourite authors, movies, music and songs, art, theatre, food and drinks, games and activities, desires etc. talk about your dates, engagement, wedding and break-ups.

  • Talk about being a parent -giving birth, nurturing, educating and how you might have helped shaping the next generation

  • Write about your belief systems, your politics and your relationships with the community

  • Write about where you have lived. The country, the town, village, suburb and the homes you occupied etc. – what are the favourite memories

  • Profile your travels. Where have you been? What were your experiences? Favourite places? People you met. Friends you made. Life-changing experiences.

  • Talk about things that have triggered your emotions. Things that made you proud, sad, happy, excited, disappointed, angry, terrified, joyous, laugh, cry etc.

  • Write about your significant achievements in life. Honours gained, inventions, awards, trophies, educational awards, workplace moments etc.

  • Write about your career. Why you chose it, milestones and achievements, etc.

  • Write about things that you have collected, built, crafted, painted, made and dabbled.

  • Write about your cars, caravans and modes of transport - what is your dream vehicle?

  • Write about famous and notable people that you've met, people you wish you hadn't met and those you would like to meet

  1. Procrastination is your worst enemy! Make a start … “I was born…” 

  2. Use a structured approach – Create your major headings, then sub-headings for each major etc. as below – then simply write sentences where required.

  • Major headings

    • Sub headings

      • Sub-sub headings

        • Key words

          • Sentences 


I have prepared a long list of prompts to help you write your story or the story of another family member. They are a sequence of simple memory joggers that will help you structure your story or, for that matter, a story for anybody who has a story to be told. Not every prompt requires an answer and some may be irrelevant, but using a prompt system makes the task so much easier. (n.b. If all you can do is to answer the prompt questions with brief replies and you do not have the ability to write the story, I can generally create the prose required from your answers) ...

The seven ages of our lives can also be a great help in getting some structure to your story. I have prepared a simple document which will help ...

As an example, my biography is on-line and can be viewed and read on-line at ...


Recently one of the most significant developments in technology has been released – AI (Artificial Intelligence) text and image generators. 

  • ChatGPT, created by a company called OpenAI, is a natural language processing tool driven by AI technology that allows you to have human-like text created. The language model can answer questions, and assist you with tasks such as composing emails, essays, and code. 

  • OpenAI is also responsible for creating DALL-E, a popular AI art generator. 

  • ChatGPT is the fastest growing app of all time. In January, only two months after its launch, UBS analysis estimates that ChatGPT had 100 million active users!

  • ChatGPT can write and debug computer programs, compose music, teleplays, fairy tales, and student essays; answer test questions (sometimes, depending on the test, at a level above the average human test-taker); write poetry and song lyrics.

  • ChatGPT remembers previous prompts given to it in the same conversation; journalists have suggested that this will allow ChatGPT to be used as a personalized therapist. To prevent offensive outputs from being presented to and produced from ChatGPT, queries are filtered through OpenAI's company-wide moderation API, and potentially racist or sexist prompts are dismissed. ChatGPT can write introduction and abstract sections of scientific articles, which raises ethical questions. Several papers have already listed ChatGPT as co-author.

You can use CHATGPT extremely effectively to help you write your story:

  • Tell it to rewrite from the 1st to the 3rd person

  • Ask it to describe your hometown in a particular year

  • Get it to write prose from a bundle of facts

  • Ask it to write an emotional passage for your book

  • Get it to proofread your book

  • Get it to rewrite a particular section in a specific style

  • Ask it to write about a particular time in history in your lifetime

  • Ask it correct your spelling and grammar

  • Ask it to translate any text from any language

  • Get it help you when you have writers block

  • Test out your writing ideas by asking it to evaluate your writing

To use CHATGPT to help you write your story ...

  • Download the PROMPTS TABLE (see button to right -->)

  • Answer a number of questions

  • Drag mouse over questions and answers and COPY (CONTROL C)

  • Open CHATGPT

  • Enter "write prose in 1st person - [then paste info from PROMPTS TABLE (CONTROL V)]

This will convert all your answers into nicely written paragraphs ready for your book!

Typing with Prosthetic Hand

There are many sources for reinvigorating your memories and making it significantly easier to write your life story. These can be:

  • Your photos

  • Your family

  • Your diaries and journals

  • Your home

  • Your friends

After a long life, it can be sometimes difficult to remember specific incidences in your time on planet Earth! 

There are many things that you may have collected, saved or have access to that will help prompt you into remembering important things in your life:


  • Pets you’ve owned

  • Houses you’ve lived in – Photos/Plans

  • Cars

  • Collections

  • Humour/Cartoons

  • Your heroes

  • Your friends

  • World Events during your lifetime

  • Locations you remember

  • People Associated with Locations

  • Workplace/Colleagues

  • Clubs/Associations

  • Certificates

  • Newspaper Clippings

  • Book Covers

  • Maps – Google Earth

  • Street Views – Google Maps

  • Poetry

  • Afterword

  • War – Medals/Ships/Battle Details

  • Cemetery – gravesites/ headstones

  • Signatures

  • Sports

  • Popular Culture of the times – Films/Books/People/Politics

  • School work from childhood

  • Advertisements of the times

  • Fashion of the times

  • Notable connections

  • Plunket cards/books

  • Music – Yours/of the times

Family Photo Album
Flower Cake

First and third person are ways of describing points of view. First person is the I/we perspective and Third person is the he/she/it/they perspective.

While first-person writing offers intimacy and immediacy between narrator and reader, third-person narration offers the potential for both objectivity and omniscience.

My preference is 1st person for a personal life story:


  • First-person point of view, of course, can only speak for the narrator and can only see things through the first-person narrator’s eyes.

  • Writing in first-person should come naturally if you’re used to writing journal entries, blog posts, or personal essays. 

  • First-person establishes a kind of intimacy between the narrating character and the reader. It also invites the reader to identify with the one narrating the story from their perspective.

  • First-person is more subjective than third-person, which can be a problem if the reader finds it difficult to identify with the narrator’s attitudes, reactions, and general worldview. 

  • If they do resonate with the reader, though, first-person can draw the reader in more effectively than a dispassionate third-person narrative of the same story.

Executive Pen

A number of websites provide pre-designed templates that allow you to write your story by entering information at various places and then the template package does the rest. Some of these templates can be found by clicking on the buttons to the right →

You don't necessarily need to write a book to publish your life story - there are many options available to you:


  • Publish a book

  • Create a photographic history (album with captions)

  • Create a website

  • Create and publish an eBook

  • Make a children's book of family stories aimed at the young generation

  • Record your story as a video (upload to YouTube)

  • Make a sound recording of your life

  • Publish a photobook with stories

  • Engage a professional ghostwriter

  • Set your life story to music

  • Detail you life as a poem

Reading Books

To make your published story interesting, you might consider incorporating some of these ideas in your work (I used most of these in my autobiography - deliberately to make the finished book more interesting, a chance to present my philosophy and outlook on life and the challenge to be more creative):

  • Place a quote in the footer of every page (share your philosophy on life)

  • Use a poem as the introduction to the book (use CHATGPT to help you write it)

  • Write an "Afterword" to be the last page of the book outlining the wisdom you would like to pass onto the next generation

  • Create a gallery of your friends (headshots with names)

  • Create a gallery of your workmates and colleagues

  • Create a gallery of school photos - even better if you can track down headshots of your favourite teachers

  • Insert a relevant cartoon or caricature

  • Include any press releases that you may have had about yourself

  • Include photos of your pets 

  • Include floorplans of your homes

  • Have a gallery of certificates and awards you may have earned

  • Set aside a part of the book where you can say "thank you" to those that have helped you on your way in life

  • Choose carefully the title of your book (I chose "The Pursuit of Wisdom" because it sums up my main goal in life)

  • Perhaps include a section called "My bucket list" where you can detail what you would still like to achieve in life

  • Invite family and friends to write a paragraph or two about you and include in the book - in other words testimonials

Creative Work
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