How to start my life story

How do I start my life story?

My life has been so long.

This is the question I get asked every time a potential client contacts me.

It’s true your life has been long and so much has happened. Approaching the documenting of your life is worthy of consideration before you commence and the skills of a life writer are there to help you on your journey.

life story
Just start your life story – just start

How to start my life story – a few pointers


  • Make the commitment.

Many obstacles will fall into your path as to why you shouldn’t start your journey of commencing your family legacy. There are too many to name but here are just a few; ‘too expensive’; ‘too much work’; ‘don’t want to remember it all’; ‘what will the family think’; ‘will I seem like a loser’.

Well, some of those things are true and some aren’t. You won’t seem like a loser – in fact, people will admire you and wish they had done the same. Yes, it is work and yes, it is expensive but so is anything worth having.

You don’t have to remember it all, and you don’t have to document it all. Your life writer will help you through this. Yes, there will be some memories you wish you didn’t have, and yes, you may shed a tear or two – but life writers are skilled at supporting you through that.

Making the commitment to do your legacy for your future generations has to be first and foremost.

  • Contact your life writer and be honest about your budget and your story.

    start my life story
    Be honest with your life writer

Deciding on how much you wish to spend is just another financial decision like others you have made through your life. Some customers say they wish to just get their life story in print and don ‘t care about the cost. Other customers prefer the package deal used by Write My Journey and you buy a unit – you know where you are at each point in the project.

 I think being honest about your story is also important. Some people say they want the minimum budget and then expect to get everything in. I don’t think this is fair to them and certainly not fair to the life story writer.

Being honest about your expectations up front is most important. Compiling your life story is no different to any other service you may have done – both you and your contractor have to know what is expected to obtain a great result.

  •  Do an overview

 Your life writer will do an overview of your life journey and help you put it into chapters. Together, you will work on each chapter until it is complete. This is a very flexible working system and even if you jump from one chapter to another, your final product will be organised and complete.

Keeping to your chapters helps you keep to your budget and control over your story, at the same time as allowing you to adjust your budget and content.Some customers prefer to make notes as they think of different times of their life. Others prefer just to talk and let their memory take them down its path, opening whatever gates come their way. Photos are great and any other memorabilia you may have. Discussions with other people are great memory boosters, as are journals, old calendars or even just googling dates to see what was happening in the world at that time.

  •   Life Stories are boring

A common comment I hear from people is that life stories or biographies are boring to read. I agree with this and therefore, I place the responsibility with the life writer to guide the narrator in the creation of a book that readers can’t put down.

Most people think they must include every single bit of information they remember. That is not true. You can, of course, include everything, but that will be reflected in a bigger budget. Most people will take snippets of their life to reflect their journey, e.g. if you are a cricket player, you could just highlight your most memorable games, rather than every game.

  • Final TipStart my lif

A final tip is not rush it. Knowing that documenting your life story is going to take time and work in the narration, reviewing and reviewing is a fact, so it is wise to keep your deadline in the distant months or even a year.

Writing Life Stories 

Life Stories Australia Inc. 

How to start my life story
Life Story Professionals are life story writers

Write My Journey is a foundation member of Life Stories Australia, the Industry Association for life story professionals.

Start My life Story    Start my life story   Start my life story   Start my life story




The Birth of a Life Story Association

The Power of Professional Dialogue in a Life Story Association

The power of professional dialogue in a Life Story Association enables us to create the future we hope for and time allows us to modify it accordingly.

Professional dialogue is embedded in the professional standards and assumed skills of any professional. It is acknowledged that learning takes place over time and requires opportunities to link acquired knowledge with new skills and standards.

This is especially true of life story writers, personal historians, memoir writers, ghost writers, biographers, film makers and all others involved in life stories.  The language and professional dialogue among professionals involved in producing a permanent record of a person can be quite diverse.

Life Story Association in Australia

In Australia, we are struggling to birth an association that is reflective of all professionals involved in the preserving of life stories. The struggle has progressed over several months since the collapse of the Association of Personal Historians and plays out in weekly meetings over SKYPE. The movement is presently sitting on the verge of an evolution in Australia where many professionals can be brought together to represent the community dedicated to life story telling.

The dialogue has been an issue of the Association from the name through to membership and other issues and many lively discussions have followed. The term Life Stories Australia, Inc. seems a good fit and continues to provide an umbrella for the potential membership.

Recently, I met an end of life doula, a beautiful young woman who provides physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual support to families and individuals facing death. We were drawn to each other because many doulas provide family history documentation to their clients.  It opened my mind to the fact that life story professionals are everywhere and we need to be open and flexible in our interpretation of the term.

I have since learned much of the culture and language of end of life doulas or death doulas as they are sometimes called and I am struck by their professional language, professional education, and community education. I think I actually find it inspirational that a profession such as this has developed and is nibbling away at such an important and private part of an individual’s existence.

The Body of Knowledge in a Life Story Association

Opening up and developing the professional dialogue of the international life story community will be a hallmark development in this wonderful profession. In Australia, we continue to nut out meanings and interpretations. Our diverse backgrounds add to the colour and culture of our efforts and professional respect is always present.

A lack of a centralised body of knowledge in an academic institution is a two-sided discussion. A local university offers a course on one aspect of family history but there are many aspects to a competent life story professional and it would be disappointing to confine future life story professionals to a narrow pathway.  The future may change my view on this and with the concept of Open Universities, I guess it is a possibility.

Evidencing a professional standard is an important step in professional development and continual commitment to ongoing education and openness to new knowledge is, in my view, more important than an academic based centralised course.

A barrier here in Australia to new knowledge from many incredible international professionals is the exchange rate of the Australia dollar. It means that international courses are expensive for us and the real cost of an international course causes my accountant to flinch each year.

Professional Language in a Life Story Association

The professional language is the key to establishing the future of life story professionals. Universal language has not proved a problem for many international professions and so it will not for this profession.

Australia is in its infancy and we are embracing the birth of our new Association with openness and anticipation. We hope to set a standard that is reflective of the high standards in our specialty as we seek and respond to new boundaries and challenges.

Life Story Association

Hopefully, one day, someone will say Life Stories Australia, Inc. is inspirational and I will be proud to say I was a foundation member of that association.

Rose Osborne

Write My Journey

Rose is a foundation member of Life Stories Australia, Inc. and previous chair of Oceania Group, APH