Memoir Update: 2 Chapters to Go

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tumblr_lgjpf9vcSD1qh7fzlo1_500Happy Valentine’s Day!
Many of you have asked for a progress update on my memoir. I have just two chapters to go. The finish line is in sight but it’s so hard to get there! Finishing the book reminds of a 5K I participated in last year. I pushed through until the last 400m, when thoughts like “let’s just walk the rest of the way” threatened to derail my progress.
I’m currently working on a chapter called “Jamaican Interlude” about the first time I moved back to Jamaica in 2007 – after my OPT visa expired. The other chapter left is Burning Out – how being an overachiever when you’re young can lead to burnout early in adult life. You would be surprised how much research there is available on burnout. It has certainly happened to me, more than once.
I’m also considering adding a mini-chapter on the HBS dating scene to add some spice.  Just a little taste of what the scene is like – nothing personal about anyone I know or don’t know.
As I work on the book, I write as quickly as I can to hit my 4,000 word target for each chapter, then move on to another chapter without looking back. This means that I’ll need a lot of editing help before publishing.
Luckily, I’ve reached out to Valerie Smith to come on board as my structural editor. Valerie was one of the most frequent writers on – an on-line culture magazine I co-created in October 2010. You can still see the articles on, although the pictures don’t load anymore. Valerie got her MFA (a Master’s degrees for writers) in New Jersey, and moved to Europe in 2011 to begin a crazy adventure. She is now living in Japan and writes a travel blog called Letters from Val.
A structural editor takes your crazy first draft and helps restructure it into something readable and fun. In the editing phase, we will rework each chapter for readability and pacing. We’re working on completing one chapter per week and started last week, so we should have a completely revised manuscript by May.
While we’re restructuring each chapter, I’ll have to get a cover designed and start tinkering with CreateSpace to figure out my interior layout and formatting. We’ll do a second series of revisions throughout the summer for the pacing and readability of the overall book, before sending the final draft to the Novel Doctor for a final round of editing.
The Novel Doctor is a freelance editor who has worked with New York Times bestselling authors and a variety of publishing houses. I contacted him in early January on the recommendation of a literary blog I keep up with, but he has a waiting list until August, so our timeline to print is really dictated by when he can do the final structural edit.
After I incorporate his edits, I’ll need a great copyeditor to do the grammar and typo-check before sending the book to print. Whew!
Here’s a sneak peak at the basic layout of the book. The chapter names are currently very boring to remind me what to write, but the content is pretty interesting. All chapter names will probably be changed to something more vibesy. Let me know what you think on my facebook page.
Part I: Origins
Chapter 1: Early Years
Chapter 2: High School
Chapter 3: The University of Chicago
Chapter 4: Living in Spain
Chapter 5: Chicago After Spain
Chapter 6: Freakonomics
Chapter 7: Jamaican Interlude
Part II: Harvard Business School
Chapter 8: Getting in
Chapter 9: CNBC
Chapter 10: The Section Experience
Chapter 11: Working in New York
Chapter 12: Travel
Chapter 13: The Dating Scene
Chapter 14: After HBS
Chapter 15: Burning Out