Category Archives: Platform

Writing Activity: Author’s Bio Mad Lib

Author’s Bio Mad Lib

I have always been shy when meeting new people. I’m the person hugging the wall of the room—watching, watching, taking notes in my head. I’d rather read the titles on people’s bookshelves and recite the names of the plants in their gardens than strike up a conversation with a stranger. My favorite party prop is a camera—I’ve gotten so good at wielding a lens that many people mistake me for the event photographer, which suits me just fine.

But nowadays, especially with online submissions, I’m required to come up with an Author’s Bio introducing myself to the world. As a writer. In the third person. Awkward.

This year, a request for an author’s bio to accompany a 12 x 12 guest-post on Julie Hedlund’s blog coincided with the start of my son’s third grade year. I’ll be volunteering every other week to teach Poetry Workshop to his class, and one of the first things I always ask young writers to do is create an author’s bio. It’s a great way to build writing community at the start of the school year, and I’ve always loved featuring bios on the classroom wall for Conferences. All year, we include the Author’s Bios and photos on children’s polished and published work, which lends great authenticity to the Writers’ Workshop. Plus the kids have a lot more fun writing Author’s Bios than I do.

For Writers

If you’re a writer, completing this activity might help you strike the right balance of vulnerability, humility and humor in your struggle to craft your own author’s bio. Skip straight to the Author’s Bio Mad Lib, and have fun!

For Teachers

If you’re a teacher, consider trying this lesson as a formative assessment of your students’ writing abilities early in the year. You can even have them revise the bios at the end of the year to include their “publication credits,” and add the “before” and “after” bios to their writing portfolios.

I suggest completing the following series of lessons over 1-4 weeks. You can combine or emphasize different portions of the lesson according to the age and capabilities of your class. Use the Author’s Bio to introduce your class to each stage of the writing process, from getting ideas to final draft, in a series of mini-lessons followed by related practice. Continue reading