Writing A Biography

I am working on writing a biography about my brother and I am finding it increasingly difficult to get my act together. Me, an English instructor and self-proclaimed writer. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for someone who is not used to writing. The problem is I feel overwhelmed. I am writing about a subject that is extremely important to me and I want to get it right. I don’t want to leave anything out and I don’t want to forget anything, either. I am constantly thinking of new things to add. I have created an outline, and even written my first chapter. But now, I am frozen. I have the time to write, but find myself doing everything but writing. I jot down notes and tell myself that I must get started, that once I get started I will be okay. Yet I still procrastinate. Why?

Here are some tips I have given others:

1. Make sure your subject will be interesting enough for others to want to read.

2. Decide on what order you are going to present your material: chronological, reverse chronological, spatial, sequential, topical, cause-effect, problem-solution, or compare-contrast

  • chronological–time order from beginning to end
  • reverse chronological–time order from end to beginning
  • spatial–fitting the information to fit the design of the topic (example: describing the solar system from the outer planets to the sun)
  • sequential–first, second, third, etc.
  • topical–beginning of career, middle of career, end of career
  • cause-effect–self-explanatory
  • problem-solution–self-explanatory
  • compare-contrast–self-explanatory

3. Summarize and adapt the material to fit your audience

4. Decide on a research strategy

5. Decide where to begin

6. Go for it!

For me, I have done all of these things. It’s the “Go for it!” part that I am having difficulty with. I think is it a fear of failure. But if I don’t even begin, then I am doomed to fail anyway.

So, tonight I will start writing.

I promise.



To-Do, Ta-Dah!

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I am one of those people who must have a To-Do List or I am lost. It gives me a plan for my day. I think this goes along with being a Type-A personality.  A To-Do List goes well with writing because when you begin you should have a plan.

The planning portion of your writing can begin with a brainstorming session and a list with keywords you want to include, a mind-map or chart of related words, color-coded sticky notes, an outline, or some other form of organization that works for you.

Sometimes just having a title for your writing helps to inspire you and keep you on track. For me, it is a little of each, depending on the day.

However, for the most part, I must have a list of things to do for the day or I am lost. Just the act of writing a list, or having one in my head, keeps me on-track for the day.

Once all the items on my To-Do List are checked off….Ta-Dah! I am finished and can relax.

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