Column: Writing your life story


Commentary by Lorene Burkhart

Writing your life story is a wonderful way to review your life and to think about the consequences.  The beauty of writing, unlike life, is that you can edit!

If you decide to try it, start with an outline of your life in segments:  early years, school, career, military, family, later years.  It’s fun to do some research about your heritage and the area of the country where you were born.

I was fortunate, when I began writing my memoir, that a great uncle had traced my father’s family (McCormick) back to its origins in Scotland, and a cousin had traced my mother’s family (Bobe) back to Germany.  It never occurred to me until recently that I had no history about my paternal grandmother.  I convinced a relative to do that research for me.  It was a big job because she was one of 13 children.

Even if you never plan to write a book or publish your story, the process is enlightening.  It’s easy to print it from your computer if you want to share it with your family.

When I wrote my first book, “An Accidental Pioneer, a Farm Girl’s Drive to the Finish” I never imagined that I would write six more books before I put down the pen and pulled the plug.  I learned that having a wonderful editor is the key to producing a readable manuscript.

It’s amazing that when you uncover your roots,  it helps you  come to terms with the result. Give it a try and don’t be too hard on yourself about your writing skills.  Just make it fun.