5 cheat-a-licious tricks to finish your ‘ABOUT ME’ page, already!

 
 
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.
 

“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.

And let’s finish your godforsaken ABOUT ME 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 “Dating Profile” 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.

Name:
Nickname:
Superhero alias:
Age:
Height:
Hair color:
Eye color:
Theme song:
Style icon:
Ultimate joy:
Proudest moment:
Lowest slump:
Brag-worthy accolade:
Arch-nemesis:
Arch-angel:
Ultimate quote:
Signature catchphrase:
Power-chakra:
Totem animal:
Nondenominational prayer for the world:

And that’s it.

Easiest (and most adorablest) bio ever.
 
 

4. The “Once Upon A Time” bio.

 
Open a fresh notebook.

Jot down the first 4 ages that come to mind, followed by “Today.”

Por ejemplo:

Age 5:
Age 12:
Age 17:
Age 27:
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.”

Holy intrigue.

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.

XO.

 
 

business // acceleration

Comments

Well, IMHO, my bio is pretty good. Not exactly the bees knees, but not the worst thing ever. I was pretty happy with it till I read this. Now, I’m sorely tempted to change it because these ideas are SO FUN! hahaha. Thanks for the great read and the cheet sheet. ;)

I may do all of them.

Love.

It.

Your Jedi Mind Tricks are at it again. On my To-Do list, and now you’ve given me the nudge. Namaste.

Alex l read all you posts but this is pure genious! thanks soooo much, l’m getting that piece of paper right after l hit “post”

Alex, you are a goddess!!! I tweaked my ‘About Me’ page yesterday and thought to myself, “hmm, not bad but not hot either”. I’m so glad you wrote this post to give me the kick in the pants I needed to put FIRE in my words, already! Your skills are “amazeballs”. Most definitely. :)

Good post. I am sharing it on my Artsy Admin FB page: https://www.facebook.com/artsyadmin
and Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/shelleynovotny

Shelley Novotny

This is great!!

you are amazeballs! can we come up with a special award for you? like name your unicorn after Alexandra Franzen day? or name a green juice after you? like the Alexilicious, or the Franzen Frothie?

thank you!!

I really loved this post, Alex. Like Rachel above, I thought my bio was pretty good until I read this – but now I’m wondering if I can’t make it more… well, *fun*.

Meanwhile, I’m about to write an About page for a client and I’ve linked to her here for ideas of different possible ways we could make it happen.

Thanks for providing such awesome writing resources!

Best wishes – TANJA

Love these! Thought I was happy with my about page but now I want to play along with all of them.

This is a great creative jump start, especially when you feel a bit weird talkin’ about yourself.
Hugs – Coral xo

Yay! I revamped my “About Me” page and am digging its new look!! Thanks for the inspiration, you sexy glitterbomb, you. ;)

Thanks a lot for your tips! I’m currently revamping my website, and this is just the perfect tips I need.

I’ve been thinking A LOT lately about how / why we generally dislike writing our own bios, and just keep coming back to “what if it wasn’t so difficult?” I’ve clearly skewed my own sense of fun, because I personally wanna try all of these cheats out “just for fun”. I also have an inkling there’s something to be learned about yourself in a bio exercise, a temptation I can never resist! The “totem animal” one is way beyond adorbs, PS. This totally awesome.

This is great! I’ve included a link to this article in my upcoming product (the Bliss Kit) and I sent it to a friend that needs to get their butt in gear and I’m slated to rework some of my content. Between you and http://www.kellydiels.com – I am a busy girl!

This is perfect – I’m just in the middle of redoing my “About Me” page on my new design blog. I’ve reworked this a million times on my regular company site. I think the biggest challenge is just writing something interesting and compelling that speaks to your expertise and credibility, but that also says it in a voice that’s relevant and on the level with your audience. Great ideas, thanks.

Thank you so much for this. I’ve been avoiding writing my “About Me” page because the blinking cursor on the white text box overwhelms me every time. This was a perfect starting point.

Wow this is a great idea. I’m starting a new blog and trying not to go over the TOP…this definitely helps.

Wow this is a great idea. I’m starting a new blog and trying not to go over the TOP…this definitely helps. Commenting with my new blog!

This is an amazing post! I am working on my own about page and was feeling stuck but now I am actually excited about it. Thanks!

Love this! Thanks for the inspiration!

Someone just recommended your blog to me and it was SO cute, I love your writing style and your suggestions! Very helpful, Thank you so much!

Wow, I love this. I’m going to try all of these now. I’m really bad at describing myself. This was a great help and they seem so much fun unlike other websites which simply give the steps to write out a CV.
Thanks so much :)

Brilliant. What happens when we do all of them and then just can’t stop writing about ourselves? Kidding.

I wrote an I Believe … http://naomihattaway.com/2014/03/i-believe/

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