How to use transitions to help you write your bio

People who write for a living, like me, have learned certain ‘secrets’ over time that help streamline the writing process and minimize that old enemy – writer’s block.

The one I recommend to anyone who finds themself with a writing project in front of them, like writing a bio, is to understand and learn to use “transitions”. Transition are words or phrases that get you from one paragraph to the next, and make the writing process much less stressful.

Think of transitions as puzzle pieces. The right puzzle piece links at least two other pieces together, making them ‘fit’, and work together as part of a whole. Transitions do the same by linking one paragraph to the next. The ‘secret’ is this: don’t worry about linking your paragraphs together as you write. Don’t worry if the paragraph about your education should come before the paragraph about your current job. Just write them (the paragraphs) and leave the ‘transitions’ for later.

Doing this helps eliminate the pressure we feel as we write to “start at the beginning and finish at the end”, a true recipe for inducing writer’s block. In reality, writing your bio, or anything else for that matter, can be accomplished by writing in “chunks” (paragraphs, or even sentences) and then linking those chunks together — using transitions — at the end.

Here are some examples of transitions (in bold) I have used in writing bios, or when reviewing bios for others:

Prior to joining XYZ Company, Bob served as…

Bob’s industry experience is extensive, and includes times spent as…

Recognized by colleagues and clients alike for his… Bob

A lifelong student, Bob attended (Name of School), where he received (Degree) and actively pursue continuing education opportunities in his industry. (Don’t mention the year of the Degree, it doesn’t matter, and can work against you by ‘dating’ you.)

After moving to City/State, Bob…

Active in his community, Bob (describe volunteer activites, etc.)

A supporter of… Bob

A proponent of… Bob

Outside the office, Bob enjoys…

When not at work, Bob enjoys…

You get the idea, and now you know the ‘secret’. Use transitions like those above (but there are 1,000’s!) to help you write your next document, whether it’s a great personal or professional bio, a business document or a personal letter.

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