About four years ago, I decided that an online class of some sort would be good for me. I haven’t been able to work for a long time because of my mental illness, and other than chores and errands, which I sometimes struggle(d) with, I’ve only been able to do limited things on the computer. The first online class I took was one on memoir writing. I was happy that added something new and enriching in my life. It also made me toy with the idea of writing a memoir of my own. I am a neophyte when it comes to such ambitious writing projects, but not so new to writing short stories.
As the course suggested, I brainstormed how I wanted to present the memoir. In the end, I decided to create a collection of my most interesting, or at least significant, stories from my past. I outlined preliminary titles for stories, then filled in interesting details, sometimes even drafting a bit of their content. After that, I got sick, and the whole project sat on a back burner. I think at least two years passed before I looked at my document again, and thought “This is never going to come to fruition!”
As my mood stabilized, I took another online course called Introduction to Internet Writing Markets. Obviously, it presented many ways of earning money by writing, one of which was blogging. But I wasn’t, and am still not, interested in making money by writing, at least not at this time. I knew mental health topics could be one of my niches, but I didn’t want to limit myself to just that. I wanted my blog to be multi-purpose. I wanted it to be a place for general writing practice, exploring topics other than mental health, practicing various writing styles, assisting in my recovery, and finally, motivating me to continue my memoir writing. Well, I’m happy to report that after eight and a half months, these desires have all been met.
I’d like to just focus on my memoir writing from this point on. To date, I have written draft content for almost 75% of my memoir. You can find almost all of that content in the form of stories in my blog. Much of my memoir content is written in the form of multi-part story series, while others are just single story posts here and there. I have not written the stories in any chronological order. Instead, I wrote them as I felt ready to do so, mentally. Initially, I wrote what I thought would be the most fun and least stressful to write, but I surprised myself by this retrospective challenge. Some of the most traumatic periods of my life flowed from the recesses of my mind through my fingers rather easily. I didn’t feel triggered, but rather almost liberated.
So what is yet to be written?
Well, I have written some, but not all, of the special stories involving my true love. I nearly published one of these stories on WordPress, but was asked by my true love to keep it secret, just between us. That sort of disappointed me, because unlike him, I would love to share our love story to the entire world. I feel it’s something to be celebrated. Of course I respected his wishes and did not publish it, but I will include it in any final paper-version memoir. It just can’t be omitted. If he still wishes to limit the reading public, I guess I’ll make my memoir only available to those he feels comfortable sharing it with. I guess I can accept that limitation. Who knows, maybe family and friends would be the only people interested in reading it. And yet, some of the content I’ve written I’d rather not share with certain people I know.
Another important chapter left to write involves my bipolar disorder recovery. There are a lot of years for this period, and frankly, I’m not sure how it will end, because it is yet to end. Some of the stories in this chapter seem less like recovery and more like worsening of my situation, although some of the situations did improve. This is a common reality for people with bipolar disorder. Will the final ending be a success story? It might not. Sometimes I feel like stories must end positively for readers to be satisfied in the end. People want the heroine to inspire them. People are often dissatisfied with a life that ends in mediocrity or tragedy, even if other years of their life were exceptional.
I don’t know how long it will take to complete drafts for the remaining stories. I know that the versions I wrote for my blog will need to be modified a bit for any book form. I’ve thought of some content I’d like to edit out, and even more content I’d like to add in. I understand that to engage a reader, the content must be riveting or engaging. Then it will surely need careful editing, and art work.
To those of you who have read some of my stories, thank you for your comments of encouragement, praise, and even frank constructive criticism. To those interested in reading some of the stories I plan to feature, choose “Story Series” in my Categories pull-down on my blog’s right sidebar.
If you have used your blog as a means of writing a memoir, please share anything that might be helpful for completing my project.
About my memoir
Although my memoir will include many stories about my bipolar disorder type 1 experience, I won’t consider it to be strictly a bipolar memoir. The memoir will also cite my love of travel, dance, music, and nature. It will also show my past and present independence (and occasional dependence), strengths/weaknesses, discoveries of my personal philosophies, and joy of being a female.