Writing Books/Organization

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Question
First, thank you for your time.
I have an interesting life story that I would like to share.  I am a high school social studies teacher that "has a way with words," but have never thought of myself as a writer.  So I guess my first questions are how do I get started and how do I organize a book?
I guess I should know if it is proper procedure to get short stories published first.  What do you think?
Is it out of line to think that I can write a book just because I have an interesting life story?

Again, thank you for your time.
Renee Sararfin

Answer
Dear Renee,
Thank you for your letter. It is a good idea to write a book. There are several ways to go about it. First, you might try writing out your experiences in a memoir. This would be valuable for you because you can review the highs and lows of your life and set down your experiences for your family. My mother is writing about her experiences in the 1940s and 1950s and it is fascinating for me and my siblings, as well as the grandkids and future members of the family.
So in writing, you might make up an intended audience and write to that person. It could be one of your kids or someone in the family not yet born. If you write for a few hours a week, you can probably get it done in a couple months' time. Print up enough copies for your loved ones using your own computer and the local copy shop.
If you want to take it further, you can turn your autobiography into a story like a novel to share with a larger audience. (Most publishers are not interested in memoirs unless it's written a famous person.) Getting a novel published is difficult these days too, but anything is possible if you put your mind to it. If you feel driven to do it, then give it a try. At my page for writers I have posted the Fiction Writers Workshop to organize a novel.
http://steamboats.com/writing.html
I suggest you start writing the memoir because even if you move to writing a novel later on, your memoir will give you good ideas for how to structure the novel.
Another possibility is that your memoir could turn into a self-help book for teachers.
Best you you.
Sincerely,
Nori  

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