The Women's Journal

Writing Your Life Story

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By Lois Hoffman

The Happy Self-Publisher

Are you unsure about writing your life story? Perhaps you believe you have nothing important to say, or that no one is interested, or you don’t write very well, or that you are too busy, or something else.

But you may be overlooking something significant. Unless you are famous or notorious, no one can even begin to tell the story of your life. Only you can do that. Look at it this way — you have lived and are living a life that is unique. No one has ever lived a life just like yours. Never. At the same time, there will never ever be another person born whose life on this Earth will be like yours! And so, if the story of your life is not preserved, it will vanish. Forever. Think about that.”

These wise words are from Homer Bruno, author of 14 books, all penned after the age of 80. At 93, he gets up every day with purpose — to tell his story. He shares his successes and failures, joys and sorrows, and most of all, his perspective on the many years as a farm boy from New Jersey, son of immigrants, soldier, state employee, father of 6, grandfather of many, lover of words, puzzles, gardens, politics, history, photography, and his wife of 69 years.

No one will live that exact story. It’s his alone.

As one of his avid fans, I devour each story and bits of hard-earned wisdom. His story is my story. It’s my story partly because he touches on the universal truths of love and loss, anticipation, and disappointment, but also because he is my dad. I’m fortunate he puts his fingers and memory to work each day, sculpting more detail into what I know about him, about his family, about MY family.

His words help me understand the history of my earliest thoughts and my long-held biases. I know why I am wise with money and politically active. I know how our family developed a love for sports and a loathing for the Dallas Cowboys. I understand why he came home from work many nights with a frown but went back every day fighting for the people he served.

The Creative Age by Gene D. Cohen describes the importance and natural need to sum up one’s life. Whether it’s a memoir or autobiography, writing helps you make sense of your existence in this place and time. In the process, you may heal some wounds or discover something extraordinary. Your research can reveal unexpected treasures of family memories nearly lost to time or free you to tap into your creativity.

Your story is your legacy, forever preserved. It’s an acknowledgment that your life matters. The lives you’ve touched, in large or small ways, the lessons learned, and the wisdom gained matter. As we all strive for significance, writing your story will uncover how different the world would have been if you’d never been born. Just as the angel Clarence tells George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” This world wouldn’t have been the same without you.

Pick up your pen or turn on your computer. NOW is the best time to write YOUR story.

If you’re ready to share your story but don’t know where to start, check out The Happy Self-Publisher at to find tips and inspiration.  


Lois Hoffman is the owner of The Happy Self-Publisher and an award-winning author. Her online course challenges aspiring authors to imagine what is possible. She brings the joy of authorship through writing, publishing, and book marketing services. Her vision is to inspire diverse voices in publishing to impact how we see the world.


“I don’t think I could have worked with a better person to meet my publishing goal. I was so impressed with your technical knowledge of all that is required to organize, format, and market my book. You have great interpersonal skills, and you demonstrated seemingly endless patience and willingness to walk me through all of the intricate details necessary to get my book printed and on Amazon.”   ~ Harold Stafford