Writer Biographies – Who are you, anyway?

When writers try to figure out what to write in their bios, they often stumble around in the dark for a bit. There’s a lot of room in life that doesn’t really fit on that dash between the date of your birth and the date of your death, but how much of it do you really want anyone to know?

My own biography started out simply enough, way back in the beginning, until I realized that I was including too much. So, I edited.

I marked out so much of my life that I felt as if I didn’t really matter too much. The biggest parts that I’d marked out, to begin with, were my educational endeavors. Who cared about my degree in Philosophy? That degree certainly didn’t take me anywhere worth going. I’m sure it influenced my life, but how much can Socrates say about your life in 1978? Ahem. Delete! The next step was to take out my hopes and dreams. They’re important, but not as part of my biography. People want to know what I’ve done, not what I’m gonna do.

The next step was to look at the family portion of my bio. Quite honestly, that which happens through an accident of genetics probably isn’t of monumental importance, and my DNA doesn’t need to be shared with the multitudes. The genealogy that describes whose gone before me, may have been important if it had been someone of valuable importance, or of documented history. But, my ancestors, as special as each of them are, haven’t made any major historical efforts of substance.

My experience of life could be summed up in a trite phrase concluding more than three decades of writing. That ought to impact the neighborhood with a frenzy of activity and celebration… or not! Where I come from is so easy to find, we call it the Heart of America and there’s a little red heart on the map in the middle of the United States, referring to our location at the Crossroads of America. Impressive, only if you’re driving by, and even then, if  you blink you miss it.

My accomplishments on the other hand are so great that even I was impressed by their weight, in rheems of paper and ink. At least, until I noticed they don’t measure up much compared to the accomplishments of others. My books have won no Pulitzers, and any awards I’ve earned lack noteworthiness in the big light of life, so I deleted most of those piles of paper too.

What was left?

Jan Verhoeff, a writer from southeastern Colorado, the mother of four wonderful children, who loves to write for others.

Simple, to the point, direct, and not too badly over stated!


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