When you’re writing autobiography, there’s one big problem. How can you avoid writing ‘I’ all the time? It’s easy when you know how. Do what travel writers do:
  • use ‘we’ – as it sounds less self-centred. There are other people in your group, right?
  • describe the things around you straight off: NOT ‘I saw trees rippling, brilliant in the light’ > ‘Trees rippled, brilliant in the light’  NOT ‘I could smell burgers’ > ‘The smell of burgers belched from the kerb-side stalls, laced with mustard.’
  • describe the people around you. Focus on them instead. ‘On the other side of the pavement, a guy in sneakers and a suit stood staring at nothing, the sun glinting off his bald head.’ OR ‘Women clumped together, giggling in a dazzle of sherbet-coloured suits’
  • Leave out ‘I saw’ ‘I thought’ ‘I felt’, and just describe what you saw/thought/felt. e.g. NOT ‘I felt dizzy’ > ‘the city span, dazzling colour wrapped like candyfloss.’ NOT ‘I felt overwhelmed by the noise’ > it was as if someone turned up the volume: engines purred then growled, vendors yelled above, surfing a foam of noise, of purpose, energy’
  • You can vary it by using ‘me’ or ‘my’: ‘She looked at me’ NOT ‘I looked at her’. OR ‘My feet died, legs sagged, body crumpled, held up only by the weight of people pressing in’ NOT ‘I felt tired’.