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Showing up for my memoir

Showing up for my memoir– again!

DL: This is a reprint of a post that appeared in September of 2022. It strikes me as pertinent for many readers of The Lifewriter’s Digest. The final publication of French Boy took another year. I republish this both to present a proven process and to own that I have my challenges, too.

I’m not perfect—just committed.


It occurred to me that I was putting off – does that really sound better than “procrastinating”?—doing the final edit of my memoir, French Boy / A 1950s Franco-American Childhood.

I had already gone through it rather extensively for the umpteenth time and had made changes in Microsoft Track Changes.

Now my task was to go through all of the changes both to make sure that I wanted those changes and also that I had not introduced new mistakes.

Showing up for my memoir

I had done precious little in the last couple of weeks to bring my manuscript to a conclusive end to this editing. It was only when I looked at my September schedule that I realized I had set several deadlines that I had to meet—wanted to meet—and was way off meeting them.

In short, I realized that I had put off showing up for my memoir to negotiate some of the last stages of writing a memoir.

A memoir does not get out in the world because of a hope and a prayer. It goes out because of attention—focused attention.

The next task

What I needed to prepare for was to send the book manuscript out to those people who had agreed to write blurbs or who had agreed to serve as beta readers. (The book had already been read by my siblings and I had gratefully inserted their suggestions both to add and to delete.)

In guise of an emergency measure, I decided that I would show up for my memoir by having this final check finished by the end of the day on Labor Day. This involved somewhat of a marathon session on Saturday, but it was quite satisfying to realize that I was showing up successfully and that the manuscript would be ready soon for its next stage.

In conclusion

As you read this, a number of copies have already gone out to blurbers and beta readers and the remainder will be finished by tomorrow.

This feels good. I have a sense that I’m now back on track. I have enjoyed writing this book – the experience of being immersed in another time of my life – but I feel that it is time for it to come to an end and for me to move on to other interesting projects.

Here is what I hope are takeaways for you:

  • A deadline (however arbitrary) can keep your nose to the grindstone.
  • When you get off your deadline, reevaluate whether getting back on it is what you really want.
  • If you need to show up, then, show up!

Good luck with your memoir and remember to work on it a bit every day.

For more information on coaching, click here.

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PS: I ended up making numerous changes that were requested and adding much material that I still wanted in French Boy. I offer this article to you as a guide of what you might expect. French Boy is now reaching its public. That feels VERY good!


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