I did it! I got back to writing again this morning. I’m such a wagon-faller-offer that I was concerned about taking a few days off from working on the memoir writing. I have a tendency to swing away from my goals if I lose momentum. Eventually I swing back but sometimes it takes longer than I would like. I’m still working on that. This book project is just too important to let it slip away, but I needed to take a couple of days off to process my recent revelations that mean I will need to change the format of the book somewhat.
First I took a few minutes to look at my scaffolding – that’s the structure for a piece of writing, especially a book length piece. I decided not to decide right now and simply moved the chapters that deal with more “present tense” events to the bottom of my list. I’ll concentrate on fully fleshing out the “old stuff” for now since that seems to come easier, and I’ll decide how I’m going to work in the newer stuff as I go.
Today I wrote more about my time in Indiantown, Florida – how I ended up there with my father and his new family and how it felt to be there and try to find my place with a stepmother and three step-siblings, and how to fold towels properly.
It was not enough to fold them neatly into quarters. The first time I did it, I had folded a mountain of them into a stack, sitting on the living room carpet. This was not acceptable. “No. You don’t do it that way,” she said, not looking at me. “Watch me, this is how you fold it.” She grabbed the top towel by the corner with two fingers, flung it out in from of her like a toreador’s cape, and laid it down flat on the carpet. Left side longways one third in, right side longways over the left side, bottom short side one third in, top short side over the bottom. “Do one.” It wasn’t hard, just different. I unfolded the next towel on the stack and re-folded it her way. Somehow I wanted to please her so from that day on I folded her towels correctly.
The most important thing for me is to be writing consistently each day. That means chopping up the end goal into bite-sized chunks; targets that are easy to hit each day. Most of the time I go over the small target and sometimes I go way over. But if I am having a bad day, I know that I only have to get up and write 400 words and that is doable even on the worst days, so I can nudge myself and then feel good about it later.
Even though I’m having to rethink the structure of the book, I am back and the memoir knows what it wants to be.*
*from Brooke Warner and Linda Joy Evans of Write Your Memoir In Six Months.