June 7, 2016
Most people dread introducing themselves in general, but ask someone to introduce themselves in writing, and you’ve just added another unwelcome layer of pressure: Now you’ve got to WRITE WELL ON TOP OF IT.
And, you know, say witty things. That you’re committing to paper. While being judged by everyone who reads it. Because isn’t that what reading really is? A bunch of strangers JUDGING YOU. So how do you do it in a way that:
a) Doesn’t sound braggy and arrogant
b) While still getting your credibility across
c) And make you seem interesting
d) As people fall madly in fucking love with you?
It’s a tall task for even the most creative of writers. Which is why sometimes, forgetting about trying to be creative, and simply going back to the basics, can SAVE LIVES. (Or at least your liver, because now you won’t be driven to drink.) (As often.) (On Mondays.)
So what should you do? Write what you know about yourself to be true.
Instead of the standard, “I’m Jane Doe, and I work in __________—nice to meet you!” try writing something like one of my students did in her bio—which definitely made her the most relatable and interesting person on the block.
I know that I can deadlift 255lbs, but any sort of cardio makes me feel like my lungs are gonna collapse…eeeeevery time.
I know that if —er, when—a Justin Beiber song comes on, I will absolutely be singing along. It’s like a disease; I can’t help myself. (Beiber Fever! Ha! Okay, sorry, that was bad. See?? It’s incurable.)
I know that I am incapable of picking a favorite book (because books are sacred and you can’t JUST PICK ONE on a general basis alone—you have decide based on stuff like which has the best villain or the most swoonworthy guy, which made you ugly-cry the hardest, the one with the fiercest heroine, the one that best embodies your #squadgoals, and the one that’s soooo achingly good but didn’t end the way you wanted it to and made you pace angrily in your bathroom at 2:37am shouting profanities and wishing you could junk-punch the author for being so cruel).
I know that my husband is one of the nerdiest, most analytical people I know, which makes me want to simultaneously jump his bones and strangle him. (The former usually wins out, as is evidenced by our three kids…..you know, just so you’re not worried).
I know I freaking rock the color cobalt (especially when I wear it with black and white – and, of course – heels).
I know I am undoubtedly, completely, cannot-think-about-it-or-I’ll-ugly-cry TERRIFIED of sinkholes. SINKHOLES. (I mean, come ON, PEOPLE. THINK ABOUT IT. It could happen to any one of us THIS VERY MOMENT. Okay….. *takes deep breath* Okay. I’m calm.)
I know that Breaking Bad is the best show EVER (….bitch). And I know the reason I love it so much is because I’ve got a little bit of both Walter White and Jesse in me. (Fact: everyone does).
I know that when I first found Ash’s site and bought her stuff, I straight up sobbed as I read through the entire thing because I just kept thinking, “There really IS someone else like me out there. She actually gets it.”
I know that I was meant for something big. Like, BIG-big. Not like, be-the-next-Miley-Cyrus-Big (yeah – no thanks). I mean Martin-Luther-Big (you know, the monk guy with the hammer that pissed off the Catholic church). Or Mother-Teresa-Big (not the fame; the “killing it for a greater good” IMPACT). The thought actually suffocates me on an almost hourly basis. Not because I’m afraid – well, yeah, I’m scared shitless, but it’s not the thought of DOING something that scares me, it’s the thought of NOT doing it. I just don’t know exaaaactly what “it” is yet – but I also know I’ll figure it out. (I have a sneaking suspicion it falls under the whistleblower/hellraiser category.)
I know that my biggest fear – the thing that breaks me out in a cold sweat at night and won’t get out my brain when all I want to do is sleep – is not fulfilling my own potential.
I KNOW that my eyebrows are gonna grow to the floor in the time it takes me to go down and read everything that’s already been posted by the rest of you in this group (but that doesn’t mean I’m not gonna do it anyway – eyebrows be damned).
And, finally? I know that I do a lot of ugly crying, apparently. (That’s one I didn’t actually know until this very moment when I read back over all of this).
And after reading this, you haven’t read someone’s bio; you’ve read a tiny little piece of their heart. And that is what connects people to others: not their pretenses, but their willingness to place those pretenses aside.
Because we don’t want to read about your accomplishments. We want to read about what it’s like being the human who accomplished. And that means that writing a bio isn’t about writing; it’s about knowing who you really are, and simply telling us.