Autobiography Outline Examples

Once upon a time, you realize that you do not have long in this world. It is at that point you begin to ponder on how you would want the world to remember you during your time on Earth. Then, the idea of writing an autobiography pops to your head. Sure, why not? After all, this book is just everything about me in the first place. There is so much more to it than that. One of the greatest autobiographies written of all time, The Diary of A Little Girl by Anne Frank talked so much more than just herself, her kin and her hopes and aspirations. No, what she wrote in that little diary of hers was her experience as she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Because in the end, autobiographies are not about you, but they are created because you have your own story to tell the world.

Here is the thing though, you do not have to wait until you are old and gray to start writing your autobiography as it is a misconception to believe that autobiographies should be written this late in the game. Heck, you can start as early as now while the memory is still fresh. Unless you have the ability to recall the most important and significant details that have happened in your life in your 70s, better start picking up that pen and start writing down. Never forget that writing an autobiography is like running a marathon and not a 100-meter dash. So do not rush the beautiful process. Update it from time to time if you need to.

Reasons for writing an autobiography.

Before even starting to draft your first autobiography, ask yourself first on why you would want to do it in the first place. Why do you want to write the story of your life? Although everyone truly has a story to tell, not everyone would consider going out of his or her way to actually let the whole world know their story.

So begin to find your drive and purpose of writing one in the first place. These guide questions from Lifetime Memories and Stories should help paint a clearer picture before considering it in the first place:

  • Am I interested in passing on my family history to future generations?
  • Am I recording my personal history?
  • Is it my work history?
  • Is it my community work?
  • Is it my personal values and philosophies?
  • Is it when I underwent a personal transformation?
  • What is it I really want to share?

Once you have found the motivation and the drive, it signifies your dedication on seeing this project completed.

For whatever your reason is, one thing is certain, and that you have something to share to the world and that you would like them to hear your story.

High School Style Autobiography

Paragraph 1 – Introduction

What is an autobiography if you cannot talk about yourself first? This is the part where you introduce to the world on who you are and what you can tell about yourself. Here is a guide of subtopics you might want to consider including in this particular paragraph:

  • Birth date and birth place
  • Parents and their personal information
  • Sibling information
  • Why you were given your name?
  • Place of origin and ethnicity

Paragraph 2 – Beginning Years

If the first part was just about revealing your identity to the whole world, this is the part where you tell the world who you are as a person and what you background story is. These are some of the topics to consider in making your second paragraph:

  • Where you grew up
  • First days of school
  • First memories
  • First friends
  • Funny memory or story from your childhood years
  • Early holidays

Paragraph 3 – Elementary School Years

As explained before, not a lot of people have the gift of remembering very significant things, even as kids. Back in the day, schools would often let their students write in their school diaries to help the teachers keep track of the students’ welfare psychologically and academically (in a sense). Again, only pick the best memories that has left a strong impression on you– one that you will not be able to forget so easily. Try considering some of these topics as you write about your days as an elementary student:

  • Where you went to school
  • Your favorite birthday with friends or vacations with family
  • Memories that have left a lasting impression
  • Best friends or worst enemies.
  • Favorite sports or pastimes
  • Hobbies and activities

Paragraph 4 – Middle School to High School Years

Some time has passed and the next thing you know, you became close with someone. You also managed to get a group of friends who will stick by your side and also have someone you call as an inspiration every morning when you wake out of bed. But other than that, this part of your life is supposedly the most memorable and unforgettable school years of all since you will have made a lot of close bonds with you and your friends. So, try to consider placing some of these topics in this part of your memoir:

  • Where you went to school and changes
  • First day and new friends
  • Funny story
  • Life lessons
  • Love life (if any)
  • Favorite things to do with your friends

Paragraph 5 – Future Plans

We cannot stop the inevitability of the future, but it is still something to look forward to. Sooner or later, you will have to prepare yourself for these kinds of things. But do not think too much about it. For now, try starting it off with these:

  • College
  • Work
  • Family
  • Travel


Even before starting your autobiography, certain themes will arise as you analyze your outline structure. These themes can range from anything to family, love and even hope. One theme will always be more dominant than the rest so you are almost certainly going to have more than one threaded through your outline structure. To do that, you might consider rethinking some of the experiences that you are going to write in order to match the theme you are writing about.

Sooner or later, as you begin to write your autobiography, you may discover that the key theme will change during the writing process as you submerge yourself deeper in your own story to and rediscover events and purposes with significant meaning for you.


It is important to remember that you do not need to tell your story chronologically. What’s important is that everything is organized chronologically, from your list of events, to the characters and places involved. Organizing your thoughts chronologically does give you an outline structure to work with and does act as an important “memory jogger”. Try asking yourself this: Is it your life story or an autobiography you are trying to tell or is it a memoir that concentrates on a particular theme or collection of themes or a specific time and series of events?

Just like writing a book, there is no right or wrong way on how to begin. After all, your only limit is your imagination and nothing more. The biggest issue that writers will ever occur is the writer’s block. This phenomenon is where the writers themselves go blank for a duration of time without the constant flow of ideas to help inspire them to continue writing. But here’s the thing, you do not stop, ever. Should that ever occur to you, keep writing regardless. No matter how unrelated the subject or experience is, keep going. You do not stop the train of thoughts just because it encounters a road block, instead, turn the other way and continue until you are back on track.

After which, you learn to filter out everything else and reorganize the things you have written so that you can a sensible manuscript will appear before you at the end. The placement of the parts of your story will most likely be worked out nearer the end of the writing. You certainly can benefit from an outline, but the table of contents might not be finalized until after you’ve recorded your different experiences.

Publishing your Autobiography

Congratulations! You have successfully finished writing your autobiography talking about your life. And now that you have, it is about high time to decide on how you want it to get published. These are some of the ways you can publish your autobiography:
• You can self publish – Often the most practical option
• You can look for a professional publisher – a definite if you feel you have a block buster.
• You can record an audio book – great for letting friends and family hear you tell your story.
• Or you can work with an oral history company such as Lifetime Memories and Stories who can work with you to record and print your own custom audio CD and autobiography.

To end, George Orwell quotes: “An autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful. A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is full of defeats.”

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