So Far: More Than a Memoir by Todd Gardner subway billboard
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The Art of Writing: Turning Life Experiences into Stories

As I work toward mastering the art of writing, I’m on a journey of crafting a memoir that intertwines the threads of my life into a collage of stories, poetry, and sketches.

I’ve embarked on my first-ever book-writing journey with Prolific Writers Life, and it’s been a game-changer for staying motivated and on track. I’ve been working on this memoir since 2017, initially as a therapeutic exercise. It’s a collection of stories, a blend of essays, poetry, sketches, and photographs spanning my life from age four to the present. The narrative jumps around in time, weaving together various aspects of my life.

Design is a significant part of my identity as a graphic designer, and it reflects in the book cover. The title, “So Far,” is set against a blue star field made of diminishing asterisks, encapsulating the essence of my life journey. I’m still mulling over a subtitle or tagline, though.

Prolific Writers Life has been a crucial support system, especially since this is my first writing endeavor. It’s comforting to connect with others on similar journeys, whether seasoned writers or fellow beginners. The sense of community keeps me in a positive mindset. And reading Keiko O’Leary‘s book, “Your Writing Matters,” has been a source of inspiration. I keep referring back to it because it’s like she wrote it just for me, even though she didn’t even know me when she was writing it. In fact, I bought another copy and gifted it to a friend who’s thinking about writing a book.

I often write in coffee shops. That’s where I first got the idea for the book. Being alone among people, sipping coffee, sparks a unique creative energy. The idea for the book cover struck me early in the writing process, reinforcing the visual and narrative aspects of my storytelling.

While I’m an introvert, I’ve learned the importance of balancing solitude with external experiences. Life, with all its ups and downs, serves as a wellspring of inspiration. Whether it’s a live music cruise, discovering a new museum, or exploring Mexico with my girlfriend, these experiences enrich my writing. This adds fun to the art of writing.

One of my motivations is to honor my older sister, who, despite struggling with schizophrenia, was a gifted writer in high school. Write from your scars, not your wounds, has become a guiding principle, allowing me to revisit challenging moments with a more objective perspective.

Setting deadlines is crucial to combat procrastination. I aim to complete my book within two years, recognizing that self-imposed deadlines propel me forward. The challenge lies in juggling writing with a full-time career in graphic design and aspiring to make a living solely through art.

I’m currently navigating the world of Instagram for my artwork, seeking guidance from a coach who specializes in the business side of art. The goal is to establish a robust online presence and eventually sustain myself solely through my artistic endeavors.

Though balancing writing, art, and a graphic design career is demanding, I’m passionate about both crafts. I was destined for the art of writing. It’s a challenging yet fulfilling journey, and the support from communities like Prolific Writers Life keeps me moving forward, one step at a time.

Click here to join Todd and other Prolific Writers Life members at Words Count writing sessions.

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