Stepping on a rusty screw. Slamming your fingers in a meat locker. Attending a children’s brass band competition.
All undeniably TORTUOUS.
But writing a bio for your website?
Shouldn’t be painful in the slightest.
Trust me on this.
“Ah, easy for YOU to say! You’re the wordsmith chica. I’m like . . . not.”
Let me be perfectly clear: I refuse to believe that some people are Writers, while others are Not(ers).
Are some people naturally gifted with words? Of course. Just as others are naturally gifted with impeccable balance, 20/20 vision, a knack for Sudoku puzzles, or gardening skills that would make Johnny Appleseed weep.
But to borrow a question from Julia Cameron: “Did you write today? Then you’re a writer today.”
And I bet you wrote something — a text message, an email, a tweet, a terrible poem — today.
So you’re a writer. Today.
Get into it.
And let’s finish your godforsaken “About” page before you’ve ambled into the afterlife.
If you’re stuck, struggling, stumped or just plain sick of your bio, try one (or all) of these cheat-a-licious tricks. There’s only one rule: Don’t second-guess your stories. Oh, and one more: write FAST.
1. The “10 Things You Never Knew About Me” bio.
Take a sheet of paper (digital or tangible) and number it 1 through 10.
Now — without thinking too intensely — jot down:
: 3 things you’re deeply proud of (but would never admit on your résumé).
: 3 professional credentials, or proof-that-I’m-the-real-McCoy points.
: 3 fascinating, little-known facts about your life, career, beliefs & beyond.
: 1 wild-card secret that you’re ready to share.
Shuffle ‘em up to find a compelling sequence — start & finish with serious zingers.
Hello, snap-tastic bio.
2. The “I Believe” bio.
Write I BELIEVE in humongous letters on a piece of butcher paper.
Underneath those words, free-write all the things you unequivocally BELIEVE.
Or as Oprah would say, “What I know for sure.”
You’ll probably notice that each of your core beliefs are tied to key life experiences — difficult choices. Eureka! moments. Soulful U-turns. Studies gone awry. See the story emerging? Your readers will.
Feeling contrarian? Try starting with: “I NO LONGER BELIEVE.” Or even, “I’M STILL DECIDING . . .”
One mission-driven bio, comin’ up.
3. The “Totem Animal” bio.
Take a sheet of ruled paper, scritch-scratch out the following prompts, add (or subtract) a few of your own, and fill ‘em in. Zip zap zoom.
Nondenominational prayer for the world:
And that’s it.
Easiest (and most adorablest) bio ever.
4. The “Once Upon A Time” bio.
Open a Moleskine notebook.
Jot down the first 4 ages that come to mind, followed by “Today.”
Now, ink out who you were, at each chronological demarcation.
: What were you doing with your life, at that time?
: What were your most urgent priorities?
: Who did you want to become?
: Which obstacles were stomping across your pathway?
: What mattered? What didn’t?
: And how about . . . right now? Who are you becoming?
You’ve got yourself a mini-memoir.
And a magnificent bio, to boot.
5. The “In Medias Res” bio.
Close your eyes, and flick back to a moment in time that felt . . . PIVOTAL.
An experience of vital, critical importance.
Like: a phone call that catapulted your career. A catastrophe that made your dreams go kablooey.
A surprise conversation that cracked your status quo. The health scare that shook you awake.
In medias res is Latin for “into the middle of things.” So rather than beginning your bio at the beginning of your life (or wrapped around your present-day reality) take us into the middle of a moment that altered . . . everything.
Pretend you’re a journalist — or a trench-coated Film Noir detective. Color the scene.
Jump right to the action.
“It was 11:59:50 pm. December 31, 2003. New lovers winked through the champagne bubbles. The band took their positions.
And the 10-second count-down began. I didn’t know it then, but my whole world — my seven-figure career, my hard-won McMansion, and even my definition of marriage — was about to crack open. And it would begin with a kiss. At midnight.”
Then carry us back to the present, and show us who you are now.
New wisdom, credentials, career path & all.
Powerhouse bio? Signed, sealed, delivered.
Your Pulitzer awaits.