I reached a personal goal the other day! I finished writing the end of Part One of my memoir. (It will be a two-part book).
Only downside? My goal was to get this far by September….2018. Oops.
I am on schedule, give or take a year. Ok, ok, so it happened a little slower than I had hoped, but I had a perfectly good reason for falling off. I was busy! Busy with my job, attending conferences, going to doctor’s appointments, buying a new wheelchair, fighting insurance, getting my septum un-deviated. Although mostly it was the job. It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy what I am doing so I have no complaints there. It’s just that at the end of the day, I am usually too fried to want to write.
In the last few months, I have maximized my down time on weekends to catch up on writing. This has worked out much better than trying to write at night during the week. I am more productive writing in two days than I would have been if I forced myself to write a few hundred words each day.
The first half of my memoir checks in at just over 350 pages. I anticipate Part Two will be around the same length. My memoir spans eight years of my life, starting in 2009. I’m now in mid-2013.
I know what you are thinking: Your book is going to be 700 pages? I’ll pass. TL;DR.
Rest assured – my book is NOT going to end up 700 pages. I don’t want to edit 700 pages and I sure don’t want to read 700 pages about myself. There’s a lot of dialogue and extraneous content that will be removed in future iterations. And I use a larger font than what will be in the final version, because, well, I like to see what I’m typing.
If my book were a skyscraper, it would be the phase of construction where you start to see cranes peeking over the horizon. The building has half its frame, no façade, and several floors to go before it tops out. But there’s just enough steel that it’s starting to resemble a building and it’s clear that great effort is being expended on its construction. It is past the point of no return.
Editing is going to be a chore. Some people like editing more than writing. Well, I’m the other way. I much prefer to type freeform and hope that what I’m writing is somewhat coherent. Rewriting over and over again drives me insane!
But I press on.
When I started my memoir a couple years ago, I intended to provide periodic updates on here in order to monitor my progress and also to keep myself accountable. I started out doing this but admittedly fell off.
I realize that I don’t need to provide constant updates – that would bore you to tears – but I can at least chime in on my progress from time to time, to keep you updated and more importantly, to keep myself honest. (This is all about me, after all.)
I’m glad I am picking up the pace again. I feel a sense of urgency that I’ve never felt about this book. It really needs to be written now. Not five years from now.
There are two reasons for this.
First, was my trip to Boston in July for work. I was up there for two weeks and I had a wonderful time. To be back in a place where I lived for 12 of the most formative years of my life, and to see my friends, many of whom I had not seen in three-plus years, meant a lot.
But I realized that in order to live up there again, I was going to have to find another way to supplement my income. Boston is a very expensive city to begin with. Apartment prices are insane! If I didn’t have this disease I could eat the apartment cost just fine. But to add on the cost of care – that great wild-card of a variable – makes it that much harder. Even with insurance covering part of the cost, I am going to have to pay a significant amount out of pocket, and I don’t have the energy to take on a side gig or second job. At the moment, the numbers don’t add up.
This book may not end up being my ticket back to Boston, but right now I am treating it like it is. Maybe it will be a hit and I’ll make a gazillion dollars; maybe only my mom buys a copy. Who knows. But it’s motivating me to get my act together and finish.
It isn’t the primary motivation for writing the book. The goal was, and continues to be, to inspire others by sharing my story. But any income would be an added bonus!
Second, and this is really where the sense of urgency is felt – typing is getting more difficult. I’m making more typos than ever before because, although I know what word I want to type on the keyboard, my fingers are not quite able to keep up with my mind. My wrists tire out and every few minutes I need to stop and take a break. I am a far cry from the fast typer I used to be. Now when I write several hundred words, such as this blog post, my wrists tense up out and beg me to stop.
Let’s not even talk about writing with a pen and paper.
I’ve tried dictation software. It’s miserable. Not only does it tire out my voice but it always seems to mess up what I am saying. My dad always says I mumble, and the dictation software apparently agrees. Someday I may need it, but right now I’m not ready for that step.
A sense of urgency isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s what I really need. I’ll check back in in a few weeks. I have a couple trips coming up but I should have time to write. Hopefully I’ve made further progress. If I haven’t, feel free to heckle. Accountability is another great motivator!