A Blog Challenge – Write the Chapter Titles in Your Autobiography

by Jackie Houchin

On my Personal Blog: “Words and Reviews” I took part in what WordPress called BLOGanuary. It was a gimic at the first of the year to get bloggers to  write every day. They sent questions to answer, and tags so you could connect with the community. It worked I guess. I went from 79 to 91 to 141 followers in one month! (Yeah, I know that’s no big deal, but my blog is less than a year old, and I don’t promote it much.)

Anywho, the question of post #30 was: What would you title the chapters of your autobiography?

At first I thought this challenge was just TOO hard.

I didn’t WANT to write an autobiography or even a memoir.  (Although a friend in THIS writer’s group blog has encouraged us to do just that. “Everyone has a story!” Gayle Bartos-Pool urges. And yes, she wrote her own life’s story, wonderfully illustrated, titled – A SCRAPBOOK LIFE.)

OK, I told myself, I’ll write down just TEN chapter headings and be done.

THIS is what I came up with….

Chapter — Title

  1. A Baby Sister!
  2. Hanging By a Head
  3. The Bobby Pin
  4. The Long Trek
  5. Trailor Park Life
  6.  Daddy’s Demise
  7.  Rude Awakening
  8. An Auto Repair Shop
  9. The Lone Ranger
  10. Joe Boysen
  11. The Gunsmith
  12. Church Camp Decision
  13. Nancy’s House
  14. Locker Combinations
  15. The 3-Mile Walk
  16. Pimples and Fat
  17. Denny Murphy
  18. The Evil Out There
  19. Double Dating
  20. A Twelth-Grade Diamond
  21. Dr Dentist
  22. Hollywood Firsts
  23. No Valentine’s Day
  24. Miramar Reality
  25. Cats and Cooking Disasters
  26. Baby Mine
  27. Hot Rods First
  28. Adoption Debacle
  29. Terror and Escapes
  30. Wrong Way Turns
  31. Dancing With Devils
  32. Comedy and Tragedy
  33. Horsing Around
  34. Deadly Diagnosis
  35. The Southern Retreat
  36. Faith
  37. Africa and Beyond
  38. Letters to Kids
  39. Pandemic Teaching
  40. See, Hear, Speak No Evil
  41. Cruising
  42. Grands and Greats
  43. Facing the Future

Gosh, maybe I SHOULD write my autobiography!

IF YOU WERE ME, with which chapter would YOU begin writing?  From 1 to 43, or here and there?  Tell me your answer in the Comments.

AND… let me challenge you to give this a try too.  Write out at least 10 chapter headings if YOU were to write YOUR autobiography.  Seriously. Try it! It may inspire you!

Author: Jackie Houchin

First, I am a believer in Jesus Christ, so my views and opinions are filtered through what God's Word says and I believe. I'm a wife, a mom, a grandma and now a great grandma. I write articles and reviews, and I dabble in short fiction. I enjoy living near the ocean, doing gardening (for beauty and food) and traveling - in other countries, if possible. My heart is for Christian missions, and I'm compiling a collections of Missionary Kids' stories to publish. (I also like kittens and cats and reading mysteries.)

19 thoughts on “A Blog Challenge – Write the Chapter Titles in Your Autobiography”

    1. Sharon, “Cruising” WOULD BE one of the fun chapters. I love crusing and have our 5th one planned for later this year. “Terror & Escapes” would be one of the harder ones to write. How do you write (truthfully) about areas in your life that you would really rather forget and hide from your own or anyone’s view? The whole thing seems like a humongous task, but… I may pick and choose chapters to write for essays or blog posts. Hmmmm.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. As for the order in which to write an autobiography, I did mine starting with my birth certificate until my 75th birthday. I did put in brief stories about my parent’s early lives with stories along the way about them and my brother because they are and were definitely part of my life. I did have help… 40 scrapbooks that chronicled my life along with many photographs and pictures of things from those scrapbooks. But we do all have a story to tell and believe it or not, each one is enlightening. My old landlord worked for the phone company in Los Angeles. He met a bunch of movie stars in their homes and had dozens of great stories. Everybody brings new things to the table and their stories are just as interesting as some celebrity and maybe a tad more truthful. So Write On.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Truthful. I think that might be the hard part about writing an autobiography, Gayle. It would be fun writing about cruising or my son and grandchildren, and going to Africa. But there were some hard times, embarrassing, revealing times, maybe even shocking ones, that I might want to cover up, or gloss over. My step dad began his “story” before he died, and although he didn’t finish it, there were things in his earlier life I think I’d rather not have known. YOUR story, on the other hand, is grand!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Clever idea, Jackie, and your titles all appear to be relevant. I have enough trouble writing the chapters themselves without titles! And I have ghosted 17 full biographies, so I beg off from your challenge for now. Thank you for a neat way to defeat writers block, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jill, I hadn’t thought of ‘defeating writer’s block’ but those chapter titles really are just that. Starting places to write a story. Now that is a clever observation! As I told Sharon, I may write a few of those for humorous or “learning events” as essays or blog posts, or even for Christian devotionals. Defeating writer’s block. I love it!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Denny Murphy caught my eye right away. Sounds like a bad boy! Also Miramar Reality. I immediately thought of the Miramar resort that used to be in Santa Barbara, where I stayed a few times.

    Intriguing project. Even if it didn’t result in a memoir, it’s a great source of writing prompts,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maggie – yes, “Denny Murphy” was my heart throb (unbeknownst to him) in 10th grade. He was the typical surfer dude and often came to school with his surfboard sticking out of the back of his truck. And he had that gorgeous sun bleached, sandy-blond hair that proved what he was. Sigh…. He lived just a block from my house and I used to stand at the window waiting for his truck to appear. He got married (briefly) just out of high school having become the “father” to a friend of mine’s baby. (cough, cough). Whew, I was so lucky to have at the same time just met my future/present husband of 59 years!
      And yes, the “Miramar” WAS that Santa Barbara Resort. We went their on our honeymoon, and there were funny and wistful realities there…
      Both you and Jill picked up on the possibilities of ‘writing prompts’ other than simply autobiography. Perfect!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d start in the present, 43. Facing the future and work backwards, maybe even in the context of how the past brought you to where you are? Interesting post, got me thinking, in that never thought about autobiography in this manner. Thanks! (though love Gayle’s! and she starts at the beginning, and I like all the pictures!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Begin with “Facing The Future.” Hmmm… That’s a new thought, Madeline. When I was writing these out, I kind of thought of that one as a ‘wrap-up’ chapter. Like a sigh, a resigning myself to less excitement and fun…of waiting. But it WOULD work as if I were tying all the strings of the balloons of the other chapters together to make one glorious show, and then let them rise into the sky as a ‘hello world, here’s how I got to this place.’ I LOVE your attitude! Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Linda, you could almost write a memoir just from the titles of all your books in chronological order. Wow. I KNOW they add up to more than 43. Those would make great chapter titles. I’m thinking about “BEAR WITNESS.” See what I mean?

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Terrific idea, Jackie! I’ve been working on a memoir – nudged repeatedly by you and our fellow bloggers! And this (chapter headings) is just how I set it out – then step two is using Lee Goldberg’s idea of writing it as a basic movie script to see how the ‘journey’ works. Then you fill in all the details, colors and nuances. Great minds think alike, Jackie!! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad to hear that you are working on a memoir, Rosemary. I never would be able to write it as a movie script, but I know you could. What a great way to approach it. Each chapter would be a scene for a movie? WOW!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I would call my first chapter “Dumpster Diving” because I’d have to delve deep into my tattered memory for ideas. However, you could get a few years’ worth of blog topics out of your titles. I’m jealous : )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yours would be very interesting, Miko. But if I saw “Dumpster Diving” as the first chapter of a book, I would either think ‘homeless’ or ‘police.’ Haha. And as others have said, my chapter titles would be good as blog topics, as well as writing prompts and helps for writers block. I have to confess, that when I read each one now, it sparks of memory of that time and I can almost see the chapter (or scene as Rosemary said) forming in my mind. One chapter wouldn’t be hard, but when I look at all 43!!! Yikes.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: