Forget about it.
Set it aside.
These are thoughts I’ve had about my memoir. I have been in a writer’s block standstill for a while of a roughly 70,000-word version of my memoir about surviving a coma and severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). I wasn’t generating new content for it and I was a little too overwhelmed to edit what I had. After working on submitting an essay for something and then the “First Pages” of my memoir for a contest I had a bit of a breakthrough on my memoir. This week I would like to share with you what that breakthrough was and how I am using advice from my psychologist to structure a writing habit/schedule.
Guess what? I set my 70,000 words aside (didn’t trash them- no worries) and started a brand new memoir document. Scary? Yes. Crazy? No. I was never going to edit it to my satisfaction so this “starting over” will actually help me keep my sanity. You’re not convinced? Stay with me and I will explain.
I submitted an essay for an anthology called “But You Don’t Look Sick” about moving from having invisible illnesses like Fibromyalgia and migraine to then having the invisible conditions of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and severe hearing loss. And then I submitted the first pages of my memoir for a contest. It was the essay I wrote on invisible conditions that made me realize the first pages of my memoir could be better so in a flurry of writing I wrote brand new first pages of my memoir for the “First Pages Contest.” The work I did on the essay made me realize I had been ignoring a pretty important part of my voice and story… My struggle with chronic pain. Because ultimately I’m not just (just?) someone who experienced a coma and severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). I’m a longtime chronic pain sufferer who experienced a TBI. That spins the angle enough (hopefully) to make my story unique and interesting. And I am not throwing out the baby with the bathwater (my existing 70,000 words is said baby). I will definitely use large portions of what I have written.
As soon as I decided struggling Fibromyalgia and migraine Laura needed to be actively involved in telling this story my “First Pages” almost wrote themselves. Changing my focus from a TBI memoir to a TBI and chronic pain memoir just gave me the focus I needed. This focus will help me mold and shape what can still be used and write new content to fit my new focus.
I think my blog post title “the power of a new version” also speaks to how I am treating this second chance after brain injury: a new version of me!
Time Management Suggestions for Writing
I was telling my psychologist (who I see since the accident) about my recent writing exploits and he gave me some great suggestions.
- Break my writing of the memoir up into manageable sections.
- Dedicate certain time to write and don’t go over that time so you don’t tax the brain with marathon writing sessions, etc.
- Practice good “sleep hygiene” so no writing or working on devices before sleep (including naps). Also don’t start a project before sleep because my TBI brain really likes to finish projects (sleep be damned).
This was all advice that feels manageable and practical. To really get started (again) on the right foot, I am taking something I developed a few months ago and using it as a basis for an outline of my memoir: my memoir mind map. I am hoping by being more organized with structure that I won’t run into the problem I am having now where I abandon it because the edit seems unruly (thst’s not really why I am moving on from the existing 70,000 words… But you know what I mean).
So, that’s a writing update and TBI (Thursday… Friday) update. I am happy to be able to report my memoir breakthrough and hopefully this proves to be the jolt I needed to finish.
I truly appreciate those of you who have become my de facto writing group. There have been words of encouragement and great advice. Thank you! It’s very appreciated.
Daily Doodle Project Highlight of the Week
I am LOVING having a moment of every day to draw and create in my daily doodle journal. I have been doing more drawings and reflections on the day so it will serve me when looking back, etc.
A Selby Sweetie Conclusion
While I sat in my recliner in my room and wrote my “First Pages” my little buddy Selby waited for me to go to bed. I have a foam wedge I put my legs on to sleep (helps with a restless leg feeling I get) and little Selby likes to sit on it like the princess and the pea. Only this time she was too tired to make the climb so she leaned on it and stuck her little butt out! Here’s another angle.