Memoirists know that writing a memoir can be fraught with all kinds of doubts and silencing, from “I’m not that great a writer” to “what will the family say?” We worry about how much to put in, whether to frame scenes with dialogue or not, or if we should name the people we grew up with. We worry about these things whether they are legal issues or not. We worry about them even if we are starting a first draft that no one else will see but our writer buddies or coach. Let’s face it—we worry!Read More →

Facing the Truth as You Write Your Memoir
In my coaching, writers tell me they are afraid the past will come rushing out without permission–and soon find out that what they intend to write is not always what emerges. Sometimes our writing takes us past the barred gates unwelcome memories come rushing out. How can we cope with new knowledge? How can we face our truths, no matter how unwanted?

I didn’t want to know what that small voice murmuring in my left ear had to tell me. I’d noticed it for several months, the sense there was something dark waiting that I needed to discover about me…Read More →

    Linda Joy Myers and Beth Kephart–in conversation about Truth, Life, Memoir, Remembering–and the magic of capturing a moment. This week at our National Association of Memoir Writers member teleseminar, Beth Kephart and I will continue a conversation in public that we have been having in bits and pieces through emails, phone conversations, and a five minute in-person meeting last week at Book Passage. It’s interesting how the Internet creates the opportunity to “meet” new people that we might not know—thanks to networking, Twitter, and our love of things we hold in common. Beth and I hold in common the allure, and challenge, ofRead More →

  When we talk about “essential Truth” what do we mean as memoirists? How much room do we have to create scenes, dialogue, and “characters” from the flotsam of memories? What are the “rules” of memoir anyway? Memoirists are always on the firing line it seems, in danger of being accused of making things up or “fictionalizing,” and there is a whole history that many of you have heard about that make memoirists leery of even writing their memoir.  There’s the whole James Frey and Oprah controversy, and several cases of false memoirs that hit the public hard. Everyone needs to understand that when peopleRead More →

  Not every memoir writer worries about being on the outs with their family when they write a memoir, but it is something I hear countless writers discussing, and it often casts a shadow on their forward progress. They worry about how much to reveal, and how stories that perhaps are new to family—whether they’re secrets or private stories, or inner worlds that were never shared before—will affect family and friends. In the process of writing a memoir, new insights, memories, and details are revealed that might be unknown to other people—but they also might be issues that the writer wasn’t aware of which becomeRead More →

At the NAMW Telesummit Friday starting at 10 AM PDT, I get to talk with several fantastic authors and teachers. Their books have shaped my thinking toward more creative choices, and pushed me toward using language to carve out even deeper truths. The experts I get to hang out with are Jennifer Lauck, author of Blackbird and three other amazing and deep memoirs, including her last book Found. Dinty W. Moore’s collection of memoir essays Between Panic and Desire show us how we can weave small pieces into a memoir, while Robin Hemley’s Nola is another kind of weaving that examines the nature of memoryRead More →

  Memoir writing is really hot news day today on the internet, which makes me very happy! Writing well is a journey, and we need our mentors, guides, and wise wizards to guide us.  Every day there is something new to learn, and wisdom bits from writers that spur us on our way. Today in “Pubmission,” a blog on the writing life and publishing innovations, Dinty Moore, one of our guests at the National Association of Memoir Writers free all day conference, talks about the journey to become a writer and how publishing on the internet has changed the writer’s focus. He is the editor-in-chiefRead More →

  I’m so excited today! On October 21, I’m going to be hosting the Free Memoir Writing Telesummit over at The National Association of Memoir Writers. What an opportunity—to talk with these writers, teachers, authors, and bloggers who make such a difference in the creative nonfiction and literary world. You need to be there! Go right over the National Association of Memoir Writers right now and SIGN UP. You will really enjoy being on the call live, but if you sign up, you also receive the downloadable audio as a resource to keep for yourself. Take a look at this list: Dinty Moore, Robin Hemley, JenniferRead More →

Okay, the challenge is on, though somewhat tongue in cheek. Ben Yagoda, author of The History ofMemoir, has created a way to measure the “truthiness” in published memoirs. He’s interviewed about his “truth” chart in the Christian Science Monitor.  You remember—“truthiness” was the term coined back during theJames Frey fray with Oprah about truth and lie in his memoir A Million Little Pieces. You remember, the dressing down on Oprah’s couch. Many memoirists put the virtual tail between their legs and got quite nervous about writing memoir. “How much do I have to fact check? Sure, I make up some of the dialogue as bestRead More →