I am finished with the first draft of my memoir!
It checks out at 115 pages, single-spaced, give or take a few placeholders and incoherent ramblings.
This is a big deal for me. I’ve attempted to write my story many times, always failing. This time, though, is different. I am motivated, and it just feels like the right time. My transition into a wheelchair is nearly complete. It is a natural bookend to my journey.
The key to writing a book, I’ve found through trial and error, is to take a seemingly insurmountable project and break it down into manageable pieces. My immediate goal was to write out, chronologically, all the important events that have taken place in my life between 2008 and the present day. I have accomplished that. The next step is to go through what I’ve written again, and start to turn it into a story. Then in subsequent steps, I’ll add more detail, quotations, and finally, give it one final run-through.
This next step, I believe, will be the most difficult. I have to think about how the story will flow now, and I will undoubtedly need to jettison extraneous details and events that don’t add anything to what I’m trying to say. Many pages in my initial draft were written merely to jog my memory, with the full expectation that they would be replaced by something more worthwhile at a later date.
My ambitious goal is to have my memoir done by the end of the year, ready to be reviewed by family and friends. To be honest, I have no idea if that is going to happen.
I just don’t have the energy I used to have. That is a fact of this disease that I hate. I am struggling to work a full work day as it is, and many days I am just too tired to work on the book at night. Morning is out of the question – I struggle to get up early.
I have to finish it. I think about this book day and night – showing it off proudly to the world, going on book tours to parts of the country I’ve never seen, and hopefully, connecting with readers in a meaningful way. This book is my dream.
Fortunately, on the days where I am tired, I have my good friend, coffee. As a wise man (ok, Mike Ditka) once said, “It’s the lifeblood that drives the dreams of champions.”