I have always thought of writing a memoir, as far back as 10 years ago, I think.
I made outlines in notebooks, even wrote out some sections, while awaiting the most favourable time and writing setup, probably some software to convert my handwriting to typed text, a grand study with a wide mahogany table and an ergonomic chair.
That moment is yet to arrive.
But I’m glad to tell you that I began another attempt this year, just last August. For the first time in my life, in all my fits and starts, I finally got round to working out a writing schedule I was able to stick to for days, weeks, over a month! Me?
It’s also a miracle how I came about this schedule.
Every morning, I suddenly found myself alert around 3:30 to 4:30 am, without fail, every day–no alarm.
Before I started writing, I had a web design project I needed to complete so I found time to work early mornings before heading out to work around 7:45 am. By the time the website was done, I put the time to good use fleshing out the outline I had prepared. One of the 60-page A4 notepads I had earlier bought from PEP served me well.
I wrote every morning including Saturdays and Sundays for one hour or so for about five or six weeks before I went on to other things. By mid-August, I resigned my job (which is another story–who resigns from the best-paying job so far in his career in 2020, with Covid-19 and looming recession?) and so removed that background pressure to run out to work.
And so in September 2020, for the first time in my life, I had completed the very first manuscript of my own work, not editing or rewriting another person’s work. Thank God.
Now to the next level:
How to transform my longhand writing to computer text so I could commence rewriting the draft, then edit and publish.
After about a week or two, I began typing an average of 800 words per morning before I allowed other work to squeeze out that activity. I have paused that typing for almost two months now, but must continue so I can get my first book, my first memoir finished. I say “first” because I think I may have more memoirs to write.
By the way, what’s a memoir?
A memoir is a written snapshot of your life, a record of events aiming to explain or describe a particular aspect of your life. It is more focused than a biography, and may not be a chronological record of events.
What’s mine about?
Well, as for this memoir, it’s a snapshot to an extent, but it follows a chronological order because of the subject I’m exploring: my journey through education and learning right from primary school till the university and the first professional training courses I attended after the university and NYSC.
Writing the draft has been enlightening for me, I have discovered and understood things I wasn’t aware of or maybe now have a fuller, richer appreciation of them.
However, I have to say there’s a risk some of those things may end up as conjectures, a figment of my conjuring imagination, but hey, it’s life as I think I have seen and experienced it.
Again, I don’t know if my writing will be solid enough or even if the subject would particularly interest anyone beyond myself (I feel a renewed excitement in my heart as I write this), but it’s okay. It just might. It just might be useful to someone, sometime, maybe my son. Or at least, the attempt will help me prepare for future writing.
Where do I go from here?
The work isn’t finished yet, though I had hoped to do so before 2021. I will attempt to restart the typing again soon. I feel weird cranking up the computer early in the morning, I feel it isn’t personal enough, like labour…I knew to explain that better.
Again, I haven’t woken early enough to work in about two or three weeks. Stress, I think, trying to keep up an online publishing calendar while working on a client’s project. I hope to complete that in another two weeks this December so I can get round to completing or making progress with the work.
The client’s work is a huge blessing though, helping me to grow professionally, intellectually, and, with thanks, providing much-needed income for the bills. Doing it has just taken quite some energy from me in the midst of other work and attending to family needs.
I will update this space as I restart work on the memoir.