It’s been about eight months since I finished the first draft of my memoir. I’ve finally mustered the nerve to work on it–for a while I was afraid I’d give myself another stroke, and I already had enough on my plate, anyway, with my new jobs. Now that the semester’s winding down (two more weeks!) I’ll have time and brain space to rewrite it.
The first time through, all I could manage was to write the memories–I couldn’t find the oomph to incorporate who I am now into the text, which made for a very dark book. I mention this in case a reader out there is also writing his/her memoir and perhaps thinks there is only one way to write a memoir. Not so. The process for my first draft was disjointed — I wrote memories out of order. For a while I’d write about something that happened when I was 5, then I’d switch to something more recent because writing the first memory triggered it.
Take your time while you write, and be patient with yourself. Your first draft won’t be perfect–there’ll be things you forgot to include, or maybe later you’ll realize the house wasn’t yellow, it was white, or you won’t be able to remember the name of the kid next door. Just keep writing, knowing that you can always come back and fix things.