How to Write about Your Childhood — Autobiographical Writing

See More Writing Exercises and Prompts

Autobiographical Writing is an excellent way to work on your descriptive skills. When you describe items or memories from your past, you are able to provide details that are often lacking in more purely imaginative exercises. With autobiographical writing you learn how to describe what was rather than what isn’t.

Another great benefit of these writing exercises is that they can bring back long-forgotten thoughts about who you were and what you felt in the past. These questions can take you on a personal journey through your life. This first set of questions deals with childhood and childhood memories. Most people spend very little time thinking about their childhood. Many of these questions can bring back memories that you haven’t considered for years.

When you approach a question, try to make your answer last at least a few paragraphs. Take the time to think about the question and try to make the most of your answer.

  1. Give a general description of your childhood; what was life like for you?
  2. What are your very earliest memories?
  3. Describe any childhood ailments or injuries you had.
  4. What was family life like as a child? How did you feel you fit into your family?
  5. Describe your favorite toy. What did it look like? How did it feel?
  6. Describe your favorite books growing up. What made them special to you?
  7. Describe your favorite game growing up.
  8. Describe a specific school memory from your elementary years.
  9. Write about your best friend as a child and the experiences you had together. What has happened to that friendship since childhood?
  10. Describe your nemesis growing up. Who made your life miserable and what did they do to make it so rough?
  11. Describe your favorite foods as a child. What did you eat then that you no longer eat?
  12. What was the biggest trouble you got into as a child? Describe what you did or didn’t do to deserve what happened to you.
  13. What was your greatest childhood accomplishment? How did it make you feel? What influence do you think it has had on your life since?
  14. Describe what you did or where went as a child when you wanted to feel safe.
  15. Describe your personality as a child. In what ways has it changed as you’ve gotten older? In what ways has it stayed the same?
  16. Describe what your parents were like when you were a child. What was your relationship like with them? How has your opinion of your parents changed as you’ve grown older?
  17. What other relatives besides your immediate family do you remember as a child? Describe your most interesting relative.
  18. Describe something that people would be surprised to know about your childhood.
  19. Describe some of the cultural influences in your childhood such as music, television, movies, plays, art or writing.
  20. Describe the home you grew up in. If you lived in several different homes, describe one or discuss the reasons for the frequent moves. Were you moving up or working your way down?
  21. Describe a family vacation. Where did you go? Why did you go there? What did you do? How did you travel?

Additional autobiographical writing resources:

8 thoughts on “How to Write about Your Childhood — Autobiographical Writing

  1. To all who stumble upon this.
    Writing is not so hard with the exercises only if one is not victim of sloth.

  2. Your article hit the nail on the head.
    My editor just told me that my novel was autobiographical. I wasn’t sure what that meant, so I googled it and found this article.
    My book entitled, Emily Out of My Mother’s Darkness, was written after I experienced a right brain awakening. Emily, a fictional character, helped me to put together my Humpty Dumpty childhood pieces. Writing my book answered, for me, most of the questions outlined in your informative article. Thanks.

  3. To add to my last comment. Autobiographical writing works best for me by using fictional characters. And you never know what you’ll come up with. For me, creative writing gave voice to a silenced child and gave birth to my first published novel.
    Writing Julie & The Lost Fairy Tale helped me to change the unchangable, cure the incurable and move the unmovable. I wrote the book in 3 days, 4,000 words a day. The book was an integral part of my dreams and fairy tales. A personal journey through your life, indeed! Pen in hand is better then any time travel machine.
    I know.

  4. Great prompts! I teach a creative writing class, and am planning a lesson on writing from what you know; this is perfect to get them started. Thanks! :)

  5. I have been struggling to get started with my life experiences and thankfully your information has helped me tremendously.
    Thank you

  6. Thanks for these. Excellent prompts. For me, teaching a course on “Beautiful Childhood,” I am thinking of ways to string the stories together, and different structures for this. Linear can be so — well, flat — and memories are always with us from so many ages. Thanks, Louise

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