Linda Bello Ruiz is our Roundtable Discussion guest this week–and she knows a lot about the path of not only writing a memoir, but winning a Gold Medal prize! We will have a great discussion March 6, so please sign up for the audio you can listen to afterward or add to your memoir resource archives.
When I started writing my memoir, I figured that the process would take a few months; maybe even a year. If someone had told me that the writing journey would take over three years to write, edit, polish, rewrite, edit, rewrite and edit some more, I wouldn’t have believed them. I’d have said, “Oh, not me … I can do it faster!”
Right near the three-year mark I saw the finish line. I’d pretty much completed my work with Linda Joy Myers, my writing coach from the National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW). As I entered her final suggestion/edits into the manuscript, which had grown from 86,000 words to 107,000, during the year she worked with me, I emailed her to say, “I’m done!”
She kindly emailed back, saying I wasn’t “done.” In fact, she said I needed to find a line-editor to go through the manuscript again. Yes, AGAIN—to see if there were any grammar problems, misplaced comma’s, em-dashes, elipses out of place…” (And, yes, I now know what em-dashes and elipses are!)
I about fell off my chair. “THERE’S MORE???”
I followed Linda Joy’s advice and hired Jan Arzooman, a copy-editor in New York. In August, 2013, three years and two months after putting my first words onto paper, From Tears to Triumph, My Journey to The House of Hope came into the literary world! Was the time, work, and effort worth it? You betcha’! It is with pride that I hold the Illuminations Gold Medal in my hand. I’m glad I didn’t give up. I’m glad I didn’t walk away from the hard work. And like childbirth, I hardly remember the labor pains I went through at the end!