“…she found out her book would be published by HarperCollins. All she had to do was produce an 80,000 word manuscript in four months. On her iPhone. With one thumb.” And so, according to that report in The Huffington Post, Susan Spencer-Wendel, a victim of the ALS that was causing her body to rapidly degenerate, beat the deadline and wrote her 357-page memoir in just three months even though she could not move her arms. Her book, Until I say Good-Bye: My Year of Living with Joy, was published in spring 2013. Spencer-Wendel lost more bodily function throughout the summer but maintained her joy, and by August she’d found a tool that permitted her to write an essay from her hospice bed. To use the HeadMouse Extreme, she positioned her head to use a reflective dot attached to her nose as a pointer that moved the cursor over letters across her laptop screen.
To write your memoir, you probably can sit down at an ordinary computer and apply hands to keyboard. You can knock out a few chapters with your laptop on an airplane, or you can sit under a tree with a pen and legal pad.
I’m sharing Susan’s story not to “guilt you” into appreciating your health but, rather, to serve as inspiration and motivate you to share your experiences in a memoir before that health begins to erode. Unable to communicate easily, Susan put everything she wanted to say in one place. She made sure her three children would have a tangible way to remember their mom. In those ways, she’s just like every other memoirist—just like you. Read more about Susan here and here.