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How to Write Your Own Life Story: The Classic Guide for the Nonprofessional Writer [CLV] [Paperback]

Lois Daniel
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 1, 1997 1556523181 978-1556523182 Fourth Edition, Fourth edition
Writing the story of one’s life sounds like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. This warmhearted, encouraging guide helps readers record the events of their lives for family and friends. Excerpts from other writers’ work are included to exemplify and inspire. Provided are tips on intriguing topics to write about, foolproof tricks to jog your memory, ways to capture stories on paper without getting bogged down, ways to gather the facts at a local library or historical society, inspired excerpts from other writers, and published biographies that will delight and motivate.

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How to Write Your Own Life Story: The Classic Guide for the Nonprofessional Writer + Legacy : A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Personal History
Price for both: $26.32

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Editorial Reviews


“An inspiration and a practical guide to writing your autobiography.” —KLIATT

“Leads you through the process of story creation for nonprofessionals in a way that is easy and fun.” —Women’s Words

Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; Fourth Edition, Fourth edition edition (August 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556523181
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556523182
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
141 of 143 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've found for life story writing September 26, 1999
By A Customer
More than seven years ago I decided to get some folks together to write our life stories. I haunted bookstores looking for the ideal book, and when I came across Lois Daniel's book, I knew it was the right one. That was her Third Edition. The updated Fourth Edition presents the same material, plus a couple of extra chapters.
The book has been ideal for our purpose. Lois Daniel's approach to writing about your life is to suggest that you write in bits and pieces, rather than starting with your birth and what I call "plowing through your life" from birth to the present day. That can be a chore for many; whereas writing about interesting incidents becomes an enjoyable challenge.
Grandma Moses, in her autobiography, wrote, "I have written my life in small sketches, a little today, a little yesterday, all the things from childhood on through the years, good ones and unpleasant ones, that is how they come out and that is how we have to take them."
That is the approach suggested by Lois Daniel. And the author makes it easy for persons who shy away because, they say, "I'm no writer." She suggests that you need not be a "writer", but merely to "write as you talk."
Our weekly class is now entering its eighth year, with 43 participants, both women and men. Since the class started, the members have purchased between 250 and 300 of her books, and, without exception, they are pleased. They find the book to be interesting, while at the same time it provides many suggestions and examples to motivate the writer.
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73 of 75 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have taught memoir courses from this book, so examined most others in the field of writing one's own life story. This was the first, and I think, the best. Author makes the task manageable with "get started" topics that trigger memories, inspiring samples from her real-life writing classes, and helpful tips. Perfect if you have an elderly parent or grand- who should record his/her life for family archives...or if you want to do it yourself.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am teaching a life history class for the first time and am using Lois Daniel's book as part of my curriculum. I like the fact that she breaks down the book into categories and reminds you that you do not have to write in chronological order or even whole categories at once. She is informal and supportive, gives many writing examples and even has a section about do's and don'ts. She also does not restrict her teachings to only older individuals, but encourages younger people to begin their stories as well. Her categories are rather broad and so I am using this book in conjunction with "Legacy" by Linda Spence, which has individuals put down their story in the form of answers to questions. Between both books I feel I now have a good handle on not only teaching my class, but also starting my own life story for my child.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A New Way to Tell your Story July 4, 2000
Using the method of writing bits and pieces as you remember them rather than chronologically, the author gently encourages you to write your story whether you believe you are a writer or not.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful for all ages. November 29, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lois Daniel taught classes specifically dealing with writing memoirs, and life stories, not only to older generations, but to younger ones as well. As a young adult, I found this book to be helpful with gathering thoughts/memories and piecing them together. This is a great book to start anyone off with, if they want to write an autobiography or memoir. Hopefully within the next few years, I'll be publishing my :crosses fingers: BEST SELLING autobiography. We'll see though!

-Jerri L. Butler
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE STORY ! June 13, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This extremely informative book gave me a pattern to use, when writing my story. I never realized how many places that I had seen and how many exiting things I had done until the whole story began to unravel on paper, right before my eyes ! Try it ! It's great !
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book June 10, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this book surprised me, was not expecting such a precise and enjoyable book. It has helped me a lot and is a must for anyone writing a autobiography.
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30 of 40 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
My only "issue" with this book is that it wasn't what I was looking for. BUT, it may be just what you need! The author provides an encouraging step-by-step process to take you from being overwhelmed to being expressed. The meat of the book is in the explanation of the writing process; the remainder of the book is anecdotal, sharing from other autobiographies.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A gift to my momma
My momma loves this book. She has always wanted to write her story. Now she has a start. I cannot wait until I can read it.
Published 2 months ago by Recovery D
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Resource
It's time to write my story and this has helped me with ideas to use and questions to ask myself to get me thinking about memories I have forgotten and want my family to know... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mary C. Nault
4.0 out of 5 stars read it briefly so far
have only had a chance to breifly go over this but it appears to be infromative. Once I have truly read it then I will post a more detailed comment.
Published 4 months ago by lizzy
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
I have always been interested in biographies and believe that everyone has a story, even though we may not be celebrities. Read more
Published 4 months ago by L. Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Great start to writing your story!
I purchased this for my husband to help him get a start, but I found it very helpful for myself also. Made me think of things I had forgotten.
Published 5 months ago by Irvsbaby
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it!
Surprisingly this was exactly what I was searching for and this book goes through it step by step and very organized and easy way! Super cool!
Published 6 months ago by Audrey Hall
1.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide if you want to write your life story
I had several books on how to write your life story. This one is the most enjoyable, it takes you step by step and gives you examples on several assignments. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Beatriz Velazquez
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Not what I was expecting at all. This is more like teaching you how to write stories rather than an entire, on going, unfolding picture of your life.
Published 10 months ago by LAURIE REILLY
5.0 out of 5 stars Writing my life story
This book was more than i expected. I have been thinking aboiut writing my life story for a very long time. Read more
Published 10 months ago by geeorge smith
2.0 out of 5 stars How to Write Your Own Life Story
This book has some useful information regarding topics to include in an autobiography, however it is very dated. Read more
Published 12 months ago by wasp rider
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