How to Turn Your Life Into a Book

writing-the-story-of-your-lifeIf you’ve ever entertained the idea of publishing a book and yet you haven’t done so yet, then you’re making excuses.

The good news? Those excuses are no longer valid, thanks to the rise of self-publishing and big players like Amazon who have made it possible for anyone to do this.

In the past, you would have had major obstacles keeping your book from being published. While authors were expected to have a finished manuscript when they contacted literary agents, their chances of getting published were still overwhelmingly slim.

That meant a lot of work and writing for….well, not much other than personal enrichment. And in case you didn’t already know, personal enrichment doesn’t make anyone a single dollar, sadly.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I am certainly not trying to say that writing for the sake of writing is a useless thing to do. It definitely isn’t. It makes you a better writer. It creates something, even if no one picks it up or endorses it.

The Death of Bookstores

Luckily for all writers, no one needs to anymore. You don’t have to pine after that elusive validation that kept your books from appearing on shelves in your favorite bookstore.

In fact, when is the last time you were actually in a bookstore? Other than Barnes & Noble when you’re at the mall, I mean? How often do you find yourself visiting any bookstores these days?

I’m guessing the answer is less and less. Like it or not, the truth is that bookstores are dying in the same way newspapers seem to be. There isn’t much we can do about it either, unfortunately.

Seems like we see or hear about another one closing its doors for good every day anymore. Formats change, industries die, technology replaces old mediums.

Excuses for Not Writing a Book

So let’s run through a couple of the most common excuses people make for not writing a book. 

  1. I am not disciplined enough to write an entire book.
  2. I am not creative enough to imagine a whole fictional story line or develop an intricate plot.
  3. I don’t know what I would write a book about and I don’t have time anyway.

Any of these sound familiar? They sure do to me.

While I enjoyed reading fiction as a teenager, I don’t think I could ever write a full length fiction novel. It just doesn’t come naturally to me, at least. 

But guess what? I’m kind of wrong about all that.

Having published two “memoirs” on Amazon, I might as well have published fiction already. My life is real to me, but how real is it to someone who has never met me or heard of me who buys and reads my books?

To readers, it might as well be a work of fiction. It very well could be to them, what is the difference? I am just a character in a story to them, and the events which took place for me have never been reality to those reading about them.

I want you to keep two very important things in mind as you continue reading this. The first is that you SHOULD NOT be intimidated by scary sounding phrases like “character development.”

Everyone in your life who you have known is a character you can add to a story. Not only is everyone you know a character, but you can change anything about them that you see fit when you put them into writing.

You can keep as much of the reality as you want and do whatever you want with the rest.

The second thing is that you have a story inside you to write, no matter who you are. And the easiest and oftentimes best way to find it is to start with your own experiences. 

Which brings us to the next point…

How to Turn Your Life Into a Book

Okay, so perhaps the idea sounds cool but you’re wondering how exactly to go about this whole thing? Fortunately, there are several options available to you and they are all generally pretty easy to do, believe it or not.

If you were to ask me right now how to turn your life into a book, my first suggestion would be to keep a journal and write in it as often as you feel like.

Doesn’t have to be every day. In fact, it’s probably better if it’s not. A daily journal will likely get mundane and boring after so long. Both for you and anyone reading as well.

Instead, write on the days when you have something to say that is interesting and which is worth remembering.

The Easiest Way to Keep an Online Journal

Here is another cool thing. While the idea of committing to an occasional journal entry might seem overwhelming, what if all you had to do was reply to an email on the days that you felt like writing?

That’s all you have to do to keep a journal using a really cool site called OhLife. You register for an account and they send you an email every day at the same time (8 pm or so) asking you “how did your day go?”

All you have to do is reply to it and they add it as an entry to your journal. You can login to view or edit your entries at any time. They are neatly organized by month and year and you can export all of them with a single click whenever you wish.

I highly recommend checking it out or giving it a try. See the screenshot below to give you an idea of what you can expect.

how to turn your life into a book

The reasons why this is awesome are pretty obvious to me, but let’s go over them in case it isn’t totally clicking with you.

  • It eliminates the need for handwriting or keeping a physical journal
  • You never have to actually visit the site to add new journal entries
  • The convenience of writing your entries by responding to an email
  • You can easily ignore the emails on days you don’t want to write
  • Unlike a blog, it’s private and not publicly available for others to view

Convinced it rocks yet? Just think of how cool it will be when you have a year of memories ready to export and publish on Amazon and how much money it will probably make you. 

Here is a little secret: while you might think your life is boring and no one will want to read about it, this simply isn’t true. People are fascinated by the lives of others, the paths they choose and the work they do.

It is interesting to others simply because it differs from their own life. You probably don’t even fully realize how unique your own experiences are and I assure you that there are people out there waiting to read your stories and share all the happiness, pain, heartache and wonderment of your life along with you.

The point is, your life is worth writing and there is an entire readership of people who are waiting to agree.