I often get calls from people in need of a short bio who are writers themselves. (Indeed, I do a number of bios used on the cover of book jackets – and who do you suppose those bios are for?)
As difficult as it is for a non-writer to write a short bio, you would think that someone who is a good writer would have little problem writing his/her own short bio. And yet, they do have great difficulty. Why?
1.) Writing one’s own bio is not part of one’s job. While we may work from 9 to 5 and sometimes take our work home with us, preparing a bio for oneself isn’t part of our usual job. Even if your usual job is writing, the bio is not part of the writing job, such as an article or a book. So the motivation to complete a bio may get lost.
2.) The bio deals with much that is not current. By its very nature, the bio is, to a great extent, an accounting of the past – past jobs, past projects, past plans, etc. And so, again, it’s not part of our current activity. It just doesn’t feel like something that has priority.
3.) Writing the bio requires us to pull together information that hasn’t been kept in one place. By its very nature, it represents the accumulation of activities from different times and different places.
4.) Writing the bio requires us to remember disconnected parts of our life.
5.) The bio requires us to honestly examine ourselves, not only recalling failures as well as successes but also determining what accomplishments were worthy of inclusion and which were not.
Ultimately, compiling the bio requires us to describe ourselves, to put us in words, to reduce our life to words, a daunting and anxiety-producing task.
Irwin Berent is the co-creator of ShortBios.com, the business that makes you look great with a professional short bio, delivered fresh and hot to your (virtual) door.
In addition to writing short bios, Irwin is the CEO of ShortBios, Writers Software SuperCenter, and Norfolk History Publishers; author of The Right Words; Getting Your Words’ Worth; Weird Words; The Quotable Conservative; Fundamentalism; Drug Legalization; Norfolk, Virginia: Evolution of A City in Maps; Norfolk, Virginia: A Jewish History; Sourcebook For Jewish Genealogies and Family Histories; Crewmen of the U.S.S. Monitor: A Biographical Directory, etc.; creator of BioBuilder Templates & Questionnaires for Do-It-Yourself Bio Writing and StoryCraft Software; founder of the Plain Writing Association, and webmaster of WritersPage.com, NorfolkHistory generic for celebrex.com, ConservativeWords.com, and StoryCraft.net.