That Chapter I promised…

Not sure what happened earlier. I had a whole blog post with pretty pictures and it looked like it was live on the blog. And then it wasn’t. Technology. What are ya gonna do with it!?

My Chapter of my not-a-memoir on writing my memoir

Just keep writing.

How do you know you’re done with a memoir? Because I haven’t stopped living my life so technically I still have plenty of living to write about. In my case I know the answer to the question: How will I know when I’m done? I had written an outline before I started writing my memoir so I have a pretty clear idea of structure and beginning and end. And the answer to that question also lies in what the difference is between a memoir and autobiography. Basically an autobiography is a chronological account of the author’s life while a memoir is an account of a small section of that person’s life. This blog post explains it in a way I like. In my case, I’m not telling the nitty gritty of my childhood (it was happy, Midwestern and basically pretty vanilla) which would be an autobiography (a really boring one). Instead I’m writing about my coma and brain injury and my immediate life after brain injury and it’s my focus on the injury and life after that makes it a memoir. I think I lost my energy in writing a little bit because I forgot the purpose of why I’m writing. After reading the above blog post and this one, I found my purpose and focus again.

Lessons Learned

A memoir is shared lessons learned.

I loved that statement in the NY Book Editors post that your memoir isn’t about you rather it’s about the lessons your experience has taught you. There are memoirs about coma and brain injury out there. Why is mine different? It’s written by me about my experience. And I like to think I have a fun way of putting things that will hopefully bring something new to the TBI discussion (read about my silliness post-TBI in last week’s post). Very early in my recovery one of my doctors encouraged me to write my story and maybe eventually tell my story as a speaker to health care professionals. He is a very sweet and encouraging guy who always smiles at me like he’s ready for me to make a joke (granted I do make plenty of jokes). I haven’t forgotten his words and it’s moments like now when I’ve felt a little stuck in telling my story that his encouragement really gives me that added pep in my step.


I think after reading those blog posts on memoirs and thinking of my encouraging doctor, I am inspired to keep writing. I can’t believe I’m about to quote a Pixar movie, but in “Finding Nemo” when Nemo is encouraged to “just keep swimming” is kind of what I need to tell myself: “just keep writing.”

Writing Update: Memoir

Since I haven’t written much lately I won’t give you a word count. Instead I encourage you to follow me on Twitter (@wordsbylaura) and Instagram (@writingbylaura) because when I do add to that word count I’ll post updates on Twitter and Instagram.

5 thoughts on “That Chapter I promised…

    1. I knew the difference but I’m glad those blog posts gave me a way to explain it succinctly. I think a lot of people don’t know the difference (you’re not alone)!


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