I am thrilled now to be able to say my memoir is done! Well, not done as in published, or even ready to be published, but drafted. Not the final draft, mind you, only the first draft. Still, this is a major accomplishment on a project that’s been eating at me for too many years. I feel relieved. I feel free to write about all those other things that have been swirling around in my mind.
And now I understand the disorientation other writers have described after completing manuscripts. For much of the past year, I went to my desk each morning knowing what I was going to work on. I longed for the day when I’d be able to work on something–anything!–other than the damn memoir. But it’s not that easy, is it? I come to my desk these days and fiddle with pens and paper, and read too many stories on the Internet, and try to decide where to begin. What topic should I write on? What is my angle? What form should the writing take? Where should I begin? With freedom comes too many choices.
So today I’m here, writing this post–a little thing, but better than just spinning and not writing anything at all.
And I’m preparing to revise my manuscript. I’m giving myself time away from it for perspective before I read the whole thing through, but I know it will need revision. I’m re-reading a few memoirs I consider top-notch, studying them now as guides for the work I need to do on my own book before I begin sending it out into the world, knowing that after these first revisions I’ll make even more changes before it’s ever published. One step, and then another, down this long road. There’s nothing to do but to keep taking steps.
I’m going to say this, too, because it’s not something I allow myself to do very often: I’m proud of the fact that I have not given up on this book that has been seeping out of me for so long now. I have wanted to quit. It has, at times, seemed it would be easier to quit. But I resolved to finish and I kept that promise to myself. No matter what else happens in the trajectory of this book’s existence, I have already succeeded.