Thoughts on the Memoir (Day 4)

So today I think I overreached myself a bit; my Excel report card told me I would finish by November 13 if I kept this speed up. That’s because I’m now at:

[pfmeter id=3 target=50000 progress=10466]

I stopped myself from writing more this afternoon mostly because I don’t want to suddenly inexplicably burn out, and because while things are getting “interesting”, I want to think about things a bit more. The first painful part of the story is “over”, although I feel that I wasn’t able to treat it correctly: not objective enough, not emotional enough. That sounds rather contradictory, but I’ve yet to find that balance.

I’m writing the memoir mostly in chronological order, although I’m ending up going back to a few previous scenes again and again to add/modify a few things as I remember them. I currently don’t have any chapters whatsoever, and sadly I’ve also needed to combine a few conversations or jump a few events just for the sake of moving the memoir along. Even so, I feel that I haven’t given things proper focus. As the writing progresses, I feel that I’m going to go back to the start and tweak with things, as well as add a few more things here and there, to minimize the sudden jumps (i.e., “The next week…”) and to provide a bit more insight into feelings. I’m going through it so quickly that I think it reads almost like an adventure story, although it really should be more about emotions, motivations, and the like.

The challenge here is the source. I’m basically going through my journals to grasp how the events moved along, but as I had not written about it for the longest time, I’ve had to rely on a few chance mentions and memory, both of which aren’t very detailed or clear. I do write at length about it once I had started, but right now my memoir is dealing with that point in time when I’m not writing much about the situation.

I feel that once November is over and the actual draft is done, I’ll be spending December editing the hell out of the memoir, and removing whole chunks of text, rewriting a few things, and rearranging how the story is told. At the moment I feel that a lot of the start is dragging, and that I should find a better way to “show” how things are without going on and on about things practically a day at a time. 10,000 words and I’m only at the third month in a timespan of almost three years. That’s not really easy reading. (Not that it’s meant to be easy reading.)


  • That’s true regarding the drafts — I experience that a lot with my previous work (sometimes not a very good thing, haha!). I’m only just hesitant about spending more and more time on the memoir and letting it “fester” or something; I might feel differently once the first draft is over.

    At this point I’m just telling myself that it doesn’t matter how much of my writing I will end up pruning at the end of it all, that it’s better to start out with too much writing than not enough… lol.

  • The impressions you have of the pace of the story while you are working may reflect your state of mind at the time of writing more than they reflect reality. At least, I often find it to be the case that when I go back later to look at my story, the problems I was worried about are not as apparent as I expected. Some time away from the draft after it’s finished will give you some perspective, I think. :)