It's kind of a last minute decision but I've decided to write a memoir for NaNoWriMo after all. I've actually been debating this for months. While I do want to write a novel, I have strong feelings that if I'm going to write a memoir than now is the time to do it.
Because on Oct 15th it was my 39th birthday. I suppose maybe it would make more sense to write a memoir when I'm 40 but I feel like then it will be a new era in my life. I want to reflect about everything up until becoming 40. Writing this memoir will be for me so at this point I won't be writing for an audience. It will be an opportunity for me to explore the most significant events and people of my life and how they have shaped who I am.
I have always lived by the axiom "Know thyself" and feel that before I begin my forties, I need to have a better understanding of myself. I make it no secret that I struggle with borderline personality disorder and my biggest issue with the mental illness are my problems with my identity. As much as I want to write a fictional story, I know I NEED to do this for myself. It will address my mental health, help me grieve my lost loved ones, help me see where I've been, help me figure out what's next for me, and there's always the bonus of generating material for blog posts. (This blog is sorely lacking posts ever since I "cleaned it up.")
I do hope to eventually turn what I write into a published book. However, much of what I write will involve sensitive material regarding people that are still living and I'm not sure that I want any of that made public. Because of this I've often considered turning those stories into a novel based on my life experiences.
Who knows? Maybe as the month of NaNoWriMo progresses my story will morph into a mostly true book with some fictional aspects to it. But then that would render the point of exploring the significant things of my life for personal examination pointless. Maybe I should make a rule for myself? Everything in the first 3 weeks of NaNoWriMo has to be 100% true but the last week I will let myself take the story wherever I want.
Even though there isn't much time left before NaNoWriMo starts (only nine days) I know if I walk into it without any kind of outline it will be a disaster. I still need some kind of plan. Even though this writing project is for myself, I'm still going to research the narrative arch in memoir and nonfiction writing. I don't want this to just be a month long exercise in journal writing.
To be honest, this isn't the first time I attempted a memoir for NaNoWriMo. I did it once before in 2011 when my fictional story started to fizzle. It wasn't really a memoir though. It wasn't even a series of essays. What I wrote just turned into really long and repetitive diary-like entries. It was lazy writing. I just cared about reaching my word count instead of writing anything that resembled creative nonfiction. I won NaNoWriMo that year but it felt like I had cheated.
Maybe this second attempt at doing a memoir is me trying to make up for 2011. I want to write a memoir the right way, if there even is such a thing. Or maybe I'm just being pretentious. I just know I don't want this NaNoWriMo to turn into a 50,000 word diary entry.