How to Write Your Life Story with Simon Petherick

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How to Write Your Life Story with Simon Petherick 

Join tutor Simon Petherick for the Idler Academy’s “How to Write Your Life Story” online course.

In this course Simon Petherick shares tips on how to go about recording your life’s events in book form. You’ll learn everything from how to work with archives to how to structure your time and story, as well as tips from Simon on finding an editor, agent and publishing your book.

“Every idler should consider writing their life story,” says Simon, “It’s a wonderful exercise in creativity, memory and collaboration. It will help you to put elements of your life in perspective and it will enable those around you – family, friends, readers – to learn more about you and your place in the world.”

Over six video lessons you receive a comprehensive course on how to get your story out into the world.

The Idler Academy’s “How to Write Your Life Story” is accompanied with course notes, reading list, a quiz and a live Q&A session for all students.

About the Tutor

Simon Petherick is the author of many published novels and works of non-fiction under his own name and is also an experienced and accomplished ghostwriter. He read Modern History at Merton College, Oxford, and then trained as a writer of longform texts at the UK Government’s Central Office of Information before going on to work as a freelance writer. His published novels include English Arcadia, inspired by the true story of the political party Common Wealth during World War Two; The Last Good Man, a mystery set on a Cornish beach; and The Damnation of Peter Pan, inspired by the life of JM Barrie. A new novel Like Fire Unbound, a novel dedicated to and about London, was published in 2021 and he has a new short novel entitled Jack and Barry coming out in America in 2023. He compiled an oral history of the city of Plymouth during World War Two focusing on the impact of the Blitz which was sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund. He has written screenplays set in Cuba and turn-of-the-century Germany. His ghostwriting work has ranged from fiction to non-fiction and he has written countless life stories for clients over the years. Simon has lived in London since 1982 but spends plenty of time in his home county of Cornwall.

What you Get

On-demand videos: six video lessons to watch anytime

Live online session: Meet the Tutor Q&A with Simon Petherick

Audio: the option to download and listen to the lessons in podcast form

Downloadable notes: in your printable notes you’ll find an overview of the course, along with further reading suggestions

Exclusive course forum: here you can chat and swap tips with fellow students from the Idler community

Quiz: Test what you’ve learned with our fun multiple choice quiz

Certificate: When you pass the quiz you will be sent a personalised Idler Academy Certificate of Completion


Course Outline

Lesson One: Why Do You Want to Write Your Life Story? (14 minutes)

A discussion on what might be prompting you to write down your life story, and advice on how to deal with the views of your friends and family.

Lesson Two: Beginning at the Beginning (16 minutes)

How should you go about assembling your information? From creating a timeline to research tips.

Lesson Three: Finding Your Voice (16 minutes)

How to avoid cliche and find an editorial partner.

Lesson Four: Tricks and Tips (17 minutes)

From structuring the material to using the historic present: Simon covers his essential tricks and tips for writers.

Lesson Five: Taking Inspiration (15 minutes)

Suggestions of which published life stories to read and learn from.

Lesson Six: What To Do with Your Story (18 minutes)

Routes into publishing, plus how to achieve your objectives yourself.

Meet the Tutor: This is your chance to meet Simon Petherick and ask questions. 11 January 2023 at 6pm (1 hr)

Anyone enrolled on this course or an Idler Academy member will receive an invitation via email.