Writing Your Life Story in 100 Words — Can You Do It?

My Life Story Journal

Photo from http://www.abcddesign.com

A few weeks back I read a piece by one of my favorite bloggers, Cate Russell-Cole. The post, Your Life Story in 100 Words, shared six life stories from a magazine feature done for International Women’s Day.

It’s stunning how much these women got across in 100 tiny words.

Below is my favorite of the six:

Najeeba Wazefadost, Aged 20 Former refugee. Auburn, New South Wales

Born Afghanistan. Persecuted by Taliban. Came to Australia by smuggler boat. Sent to Curtin detention centre. Saw security guards; thought were Taliban with better guns. Finally sent to Tasmania. Realised what smile was. Got citizenship at 18. Mother and father in tears. Finally, we belonged somewhere. Dad said now that australia has given us identity, must give back and make it proud. Childhood was bombs, guns, persecution. Australia is about education, freedom, raising my voice. Have just finished medical science degree. Definitely want to get married and have kids some day. Proud they will have better childhood than me.

When I took a stab at this exercise, I realized this is HARD.

Jenny Hansen, 40+, Writer and Technology Trainer, Orange County CA

American born and raised in a family of proud patriots. Child of early divorce ending in a long custody battle where all sides lost. In the 70s, therapy was part of that deal so I’m “well-adjusted.” Raised in Los Angeles; college in Missouri. Back to LA to mend relationships and eke out a career. Lost both parents by 35 – one by death, one by circumstance. Blood clot survivor at 37 (I am the 1%!). Married my soulmate at 38; motherhood was hard-won at 41. Fiction writer, humor and technology blogger, sister, friend. My heart is rooted in love and family.

I spent at least 30 minutes on that paragraph and, as far as I can tell, it doesn’t show any of the important stuff. It’s hard to get “the essence of us” onto the page that fast, but I’m really hoping to get my family members to try.

What do you think…Can YOU write your life story in 100 words?

Have you ever tried this exercise before? What stands out about the process for you? Which part(s) of the above stories did you like best? Continue the discussion at the #SocialIn hashtag on Twitter or SocialInDC on Facebook.

~ Jenny


About Jenny Hansen

By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm. Jenny also writes the Risky Baby Business posts at More Cowbell, a series that focuses on babies, new parents and high-risk pregnancy.

© 2013 Jenny Hansen. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

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