In a push to finish writing my brain injury memoir in 2022 I have decided to shift my posting schedule to Mondays and focus more on what I am doing in writing my memoir. I discuss my plans for the year in this blog post.
In my last blog post I mentioned that I planned to shift my posting schedule from Thursday (#TBIthursday) to Monday (#MemoirMonday) in an attempt to focus the year on writing and finishing my memoir.
About My Memoir
In case you’re new to my little corner of the internet, here’s a brief overview of the memoir I am writing. In September 2016 I was in a near fatal car accident where I experienced a severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) (click that link to read more about my TBI) and coma. I was in the coma for 3 weeks. When I came out of the coma I was completely deaf for three months. I have gotten some hearing back but it is greatly compromised. My hearing is just one of many changes and complications I have experienced from my severe TBI. Before the injury I wanted to be a published author but a lack of focus and confidence kept me from that dream. After nearly dying I have decided that life needs to be lived and dreams pursued. So I started this blog in 2018 in attempt to get writing again. After writing 12 short stories in 2018 I set my sights on telling my own story and began to write my “brain injury memoir” (as I call it) in 2019. I wrote about 60,000 words in it before deciding to set it aside and massively restructure it. That’s where I have been for about a year. In 2022 I would like to complete the writing process of my memoir and hope to eventually pursue getting it published. I hope to use self-motivation in the form of weekly #MemoirMonday blog posts in 2022 to help drive me towards my goal of completing my memoir.
I don’t exactly have a clear plan of how the blog is going to help me achieve my goal. I made this “Memoir Writing Planner” (see below) and by filling it out I have kind of mentally worked through the year month by month.
I like that this has me plan a whole year rather than one crazy month like NaNoWriMo. Since I have never written anything that has gone through beta readers, I don’t really know if the time I have allowed is realistic. I like that I am writing for 4 months. That feels far more manageable than a one month cram session (like NaNoWriMo, although I am not knocking NaNoWriMo… it’s good just not the right fit for me writing my brain injury memoir).
So the question stands, how will I use the blog to help me achieve my memoir completion goal? For now I think I will have my monthly focus (for example January is “flesh out outline and clean up current prose.”) and each week talk about what I am focusing on that week to complete the monthly goal.
#MemoirMonday Monthly Focus: Discussion of the Week- Outline
A while ago I developed a visual outline for my memoir that I called my “Memoir Mind Map.” This allowed me to visually see how my memoir will unfold.
Since I originally created the memoir mind map I have fleshed it out by drawing pictures inspired by stories in each prong of the mind map. Drawing helped me to avoid the inevitable procrastination and lack of interest part that happens for me in any writing project. Now the focus this month is more clearly map out which stories I am telling and where they go in the memoir. Next week I will report how this process is going.
Monthly Feature of the Week: Book Review of “Strangers Assume My Girlfriend is my Nurse” by Shane Burcaw
After looking for a fun novel to burn through quickly towards the end of the year I found yet another memoir: “Strangers Assume My Girlfriend is My Nurse” by Shane Burcaw. It wasn’t a novel and wasn’t really different from what I have been reading but it was different in tone.
Shane Burcaw is a 29 year old man living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (a form of muscular dystrophy). He has written two previous memoirs (“Laughing at my Nightmare” in 2014 and “What You Really Want to Ask About” in 2017). This book “Strangers…” was published in 2019. Burcaw started a blog called “Laughing at My Nightmare” in 2011 that became very successful. Based on that he started a charity that focused on helping people with similar conditions get assistance. What made Burcaw’s blog successful and him the author of three memoirs is that he has a strong, funny and relatable voice. His voice and tone are compelling from the title onward. He is very smart, funny and engaging. This was the perfect memoir for me to read right before the major push to finish my own memoir. Because I want to come off as funny and engaging in what I write. And naturally I think I lean towards that (says the woman who coined a bad haircut as the result of lifesaving intervention her “TBI mullet”). I was engaged every second of this book and I highly recommend it. Shane Burcaw and his now wife Hannah have a YouTube channel where they portray their fun loving interabled relationship. The channel is called Squirmy and Grubs (based on their nicknames for each other) and I recommend checking it out. (A fun fact is that Shane and Hannah live in Minneapolis, MN, and I live in the suburbs of the Minneapolis metropolitan area.)