When you are writing a memoir, your childhood comes to life, along with the stories of your family. As the narrator, you shape the story through your own experience, and tell the truth about your life as you experienced it. Most people grow up thinking that our family and childhood was “just the way it was.” Until we share our stories, and learn about the lives of others, we don’t know about the different ways that families live and the challenges that everyone faces. We begin our writing from an internal and subjective place, but when we share our stories in writing groupsRead More →

Do you love movies? To me, there’s nothing so satisfying as sitting down to immerse myself in a new story. The first few moments need to capture my attention so I can’t look away. I make sure my tea is nearby, and that my kitties are ready to settle down on my lap. Once the kitties are there, I won’t be getting up for at least an hour or more as the story weaves its magic around me. It grabs me with a scene, in a moment where I’m drawn into a world not my own. I’m inside the scene, inside the beginning moments ofRead More →

  This is “Mental Health Week.” It amazes and pleases me to see that there is a week set aside in our culture where we’re invited to celebrate health of the mind. In contrast to the fifties when I grew up, nowadays we’re informed about things that previously could not be named: depression, bi-polar illness, anxiety, and PTSD among others. PTSD is a condition that only recently has been given a name and treatment plan in the diagnostic manual used by therapists and doctors. Having grown up in an atmosphere of extreme shame and silence, with only the term “eccentric” to apply to the extremeRead More →

Until my mother died, I tried to get her to claim/love me. When I was twenty, she’d made it clear that no one in Chicago where she lived knew that she had a daughter, and I was not to call her mother—thus the title of my memoir. I loved my mother despite her rejections when I visited her in Chicago over the years. I was convinced that one day she’d say, “Oh, I’ve been so wrong. I love you and I’m proud you are my daughter.”Read More →

Linda Joy Myers is speaking for Nina Amir’s Nonfiction Writers University March 17, 3 PM PST focusing on one of the most challenging parts of writing a memoir: the Muddy Middle!The Muddy Middle—this is where you wrestle with truth, the inner critic, family and how to bring a focus and universal message to your story. Here is where your healing and transformational journey deepens and you find yourself exploring the larger territory of your story and your life.Read More →

Committing ourselves to an ongoing practice of inner listening enhances our creativity. There is so much stimulation in our lives now—TV screens, tablets, phones, loud musak in every store—it’s hard to tune out so much noise. The challenge in “everyday” life is to find ways to connect with our creative muse regularly, to create openness and enough silence to hear our emerging thoughts and ideas.Read More →

I’m always curious about what the antidote is to those times when we are unable to write, when it seems the words and ideas have dried up, when it’s better to binge-watch “Homeland” or “Outlander” or “The Good Wife.” I recently came upon one of these “dry” spells, where I had no motivation at all to go to the computer, though the “shoulds” plagued me every day. I should work on the three chapters I still need to edit, and start chunking out four chapters for a book on creativity and silence. I’ve started another memoir, and where is that project anyway? I must beRead More →

  When we talk about our inner critic, do we understand where it comes from? Or do we assume that it comes with being born into the world? So many writers and artists talk about their inner critic, which I find helpful in normalizing that inner, irritating voice of doubt. Dani Shapiro, novelist and memoirist, talks about it in Still Writing, where she lists the voices that come to her—is she boring, can anyone understand her, does she make sense? Some of my inner critic voices: “How dare you write about that.” “You should be ashamed to put that on the page.” “Everyone will thinkRead More →