Anyone can sit down and write a timeline of what happened in their life and when. But that is not the type of book you want to curl up with. A chronological life biography is not going to captivate a reader. It's going to relay factual information that doesn't leave an impression or impact on the reader. If that is all you're going for, great. No need to read any further. However, if you want to make life story writing a self-reflective exercise with the hopes of creating something that has depth and meaning, you'll appreciate these writing prompts.
Questions to Spark Compelling Life Stories
What is the story of your name?
Are there places you lived that others would disregard? What did you find special about those places that others might miss?
What things stand out to you about your childhood?
Are there any languages that were once spoken within your family that are not anymore? What led to that change?
When you were born, what things about the world were different from the present day? What impacts have these social, political, economic constructs had on your upbringing?
How did becoming a parent or caregiver change you?
Who are the friends that remained constant in your life?
Who is in your chosen family? Write about those people.
Who are some of the greatest loves of your life? What did each of those relationships teach you?
What do you find hard to forgive in yourself? What things have helped you be kinder and more accepting towards yourself?
How do you behave and what do you turn to when there is tension or conflict? Has this changed over time? Why?
When have you felt most alive? Or what makes you feel alive?
What are you most proud of yourself for accomplishing in life?
What aspects of your life have you had to explore or face alone? What helped you?
What’s a story you have about a time you felt embarrassed or ashamed in front of others?
What’s a chance encounter you’ve had with a stranger that has never left you?
What stories, myths or legends have you become attached to? Why do you think they resonate deeply with you?
What happened during the best summer of your life?
Write down 5 life moments that have had a defining impact on you. How did these moments shape who you are?
What do you believe in? Write an “I believe” statement. Don’t think too hard. This can be things like, “I believe in the healing power of a good cry.”
What other questions would you add to the list? Comment below and let us know! Also, check out Storii - a platform that lets you curate and share interactive life stories online. It makes a great gift for a grandparent or anyone whose stories you want to live on long after they're gone.