I have been writing my memoir for more than five years, one chapter at a time moving forward through my story line, finding my voice. Revision after revision, reworking the structure and editing multiple times, it has felt as if I am getting the hang of it. After completing thirteen chapters, I felt as if I could finally see the end of the memoir.
At that point, I got so energized I wrote and wrote with renewed energy and determination. The next few chapters were done in a tenth of the time it had taken me to write the others. I thought that from the previous experiences I would be able to produce work that would be as creative without the need for as much reworking. Well, I was wrong.
My first beta reader was horrified. He never even got through the remaining chapters, calling for major revisions after reading the next three. Our discussions highlighted for me how you cannot rush creativity. It is true that on some days some material will pour out naturally but it will require additional work to shape it and make it your best work. On other days, I have to sit and think, write, re-write, think some more until it sounds good enough to leave on paper. Lesson learned.