My memoir has become some what of a tempestuous beast. I’ll be honest with you, though my beast is cute and friendly I feel she’s gotten a little out of control, she’s taken to smacking me around now and then.
A couple months ago my gifted author friend, Carey returned the five chapters I sent her to edit & offer suggestions for success. Her thoughts and ideas were SO HELPFUL but even that teensy-tiny bit of very kind, very loving feedback stun-gunned me to fear. A few weeks later I headed to NYC for the Penguin / Blogher Writer’s Conference –which invigorated me– but added so many levels of complexity and new fears that I was again, slayed by own doggone beast.
The beast had it’s knee in my neck, and I was stuck. I felt like I needed to edit but couldn’t edit until I decided on a format (or a basic order for the book). I felt like I couldn’t decide on an order for the book until I decided on the perspective I was going to tell the story from. And I felt like I couldn’t get that illuminating (but ever so elusive) perspective until I made the big edits. See? You have to trust me, I really was stuck. Also, pissing-my-pants-afraid I’d never come up with anything and die an old woman with only a slight memory of wanting to write and publish a memoir.
Last Saturday, the hubs told me I should get out of the house and have a writing date with myself and beast. I ended up heading to Mickey D’s where I forced myself to sit there & wrestle my beast from 6:30pm – 12:30am. We picked up our wrestling session again from 7am – 10am the next morning….because I was starting to get the upper hand! Muhuhahahahaha!
And that, my friends is when I became a beast slayer.
For three hours I begged God to help me to figure out what in the world to do because it made no sense to make the first half of my book about my current reality. So. I took out everything having to do with my current season of crappy-ness. After all, any good memoir is about a slice of life NOT your whole life; that’s what biographies are for. No one in the world wants to read everything that happened to me from Day 1 of my life to Day 12,775. In order. Boooooring.
Long story short: I *think* I’m going begin & end the book from a present perspective, setting up the lead character (moi), fully drawn, enticing & exciting (or course), but in a hellavu-lotta trouble. In this way, I can follow some of the basic principles of plotting, even though I’m not writing fiction. Seriously, I couldn’t have made this stuff up if I tried. After that, the entire 3/4 of the “middle” part of the book will be from the perspective of my looking back at my dysfunctional childhood years. Act III / Part 3 will be back to present reality & the stunning conclusions I’ve come to. It will, hopefully give me a knockout ending i.e. “see! I survived!”
When your a little kid, you don’t play with big guns. Multiple perspectives, a myriad of ‘voices’ and interweaving plots are the BIG GUNS and frankly…WAY past my pay grade.
Once I figured this out, and began the line-by-line edits, I started getting really excited again. It felt like a major victory ~ like I CAN do this. Yes, it will be A LOT of hard work, but I CAN do it. I definitely think I can make my December 31, 2011, 1st draft deadline! It’s been a long year and I’ve worked harder on this project this year than any other before it. I could have tried to wrap it up sooner but I don’t want to write an average memoir, I want to write a GREAT memoir like the ones I’ve read that have insanely inspired, entirely encouraged & harrowingly healed me. =)
I feel hopeful that if I keep working hard for the next year, eventually I am going to have a ‘product’ I’m really proud of, even if I get rejected by multiple agents/publishing houses. (sigh).
What inspires you to keep going when your own beasts threaten to bring you down? Is there anything in your life right now that feels much too big to face that I encourage you about? I ALWAYS respond back to each comment, so please let me encourage you!
p.s. I extended the giveaway for the necklace below b/c I accidentally closed the comments! Whoops! So, if you want to win this beautiful hand-made necklace/bracelet pictured below, just comment on this post by 12/9/11 at Midnight.