6 Things Conscious Writers Need to Know About Memoir Writing



I’ m so pleased to be a guest with Julia McCutcheon as a guest presenter May 8, 2014 International Association of Conscious and Creative Writers.

We are going to talk about how to become a conscious writer, and the ways that memoir can be transformational journey.

Are you writing a memoir? Prepare for an amazing and inspiring journey into your legacies and soul journey.                         

Memoir writing draws on all aspects of who we are— body, mind and soul. We are challenged to dig deep, to remember, and once again inhabit the skin of who we were and what we have learned. Writing a memoir is an act of testimony, witnessing, healing. When you write a memoir, you draw upon layers of your consciousness and discover your true nature, your essential self, and are transformed by the process.

For every journey into the unknown you need guides and skills—and a little magic—to make the discoveries that will enhance your life. In memoir writing these skills are guiding principles that help you create a great story.

In this interview you will learn:

  • How to find the turning points that illuminate the themes of your memoir.
  • How to create scenes that bring your story alive—and why you need scenes.
  • What the various narrators do in your story to manage time and guide the reader.
  • Find the themes that will hook your reader into turning the pages.
  • How writing your authentic truths will free you from the past.
  • That memoir is a path of transformation and healing—for you and your readers.

The Glass Castle | A Four Week Short Memoir Course



For the last two years, I’ve been teaching several different memoir classes with my colleague, Brooke Warner, in our Write Your Memoir in Six Months programs.

The Glass Castle will be the third class in our bestselling memoir series, following Wild and Eat, Pray, Love.

 Glass Castle


Tuesdays, April 22-May 13, 2014, from 4-5pm PT/7-8pm ET

To Register, please go here.

To start, join us for our free webinar on April 15, looking at what made The Glass Castle strike such a nerve with readers everywhere. We will examine the universal themes, outside-the-box reasons why this book was a success, and the question of writing deep, dark truths, and how and why memoir that’s transformational touches readers at their core.

1-Month Intro Course

Class 1. April 22 Memory & Writing Dark Truths

Writing scene as memories.

How to write trauma, and through trauma and difficult memories.

• What it means to write dispassionately, and why it’s important.

• An exploration of truth and how the reader perceives the truth.

Class 2. April 29 Structure & Takeaway

• The difference between scene and vignette.

• How Jeannette Walls got away with writing a book of vignettes—the secret is in the narrative arc.

How takeaway is handled through another person’s insights—in this case Jeannette’s mother

• The consequences of pulling the reader out of the fictive dream.

Class 3. May 6 Voice of Innocence vs. Voice of Experience

• How Jeannette Walls handles both voices.

• Showing the issues of the family through different narrative voices.

• “Showing” versus “telling,” and how it’s especially important when dealing with trauma and hard or negative memories.

• The power of showing through the child’s perspective—and how to make this work.

Class 4. May 13 Themes

• Why Jeannette Walls’s themes made her book a bestseller.

• The power of metaphor to drive a theme home.

• Why universal themes strike a nerve and how to pay attention to your themes.

• Why “through-threads” are part of the equation, and how to integrate through-threads into your own memoir.

 Wild book



Our spring 2013 class, “The Craft of Memoir,” was our most successful class yet. We are offering a sample here of Class #2 about SCENES & TRANSACTIONS. You can download it here, or you can buy the whole course.


• Mapping your scenes through transitions.

• How to use transitions to keep your reader contained.

• Making use of line breaks.

• How scaffolding can help you better understand transitions.

The Craft of Memoir: Wild as a Guide to Becoming a Better Writer

Linda Joy and Brooke both fell in love with Cheryl Strayed’s Wild when we read it, and we immediately saw its value as a teaching tool for all of the skills the author brings to the memoir. Strayed uses what’s called a framed structure, meaning that she writes the story of her life, but uses her limited time on the Pacific Crest Trail as a means to contain her story. In this class we’ll showcase some of the things Strayed does brilliantly—structure, transitions, flashbacks vs. memory, and reflection—so that you can begin to use all of these skills in your own writing.

CHECK OUT OUR FULL COURSE—Write Your Memoir in Six Months. The new course starts in June, 2014. The goal is to help you get 60,000 words written in six months, and teach you the skills and offer the structure to complete a first draft of your memoir.

Story Circle Network Seventh National Women’s Memoir Conference



April 11-13, 2014

Wyndham Hotel, Austin, Texas



I love writing conferences! I’m so excited to return to Austin this year for the 6th time to join in on the Story Circle Memoir Conference. 

 Stories from the Heart VII brings women from around the country to celebrate our stories and our lives. Through writing, reading, listening, and sharing, you  discover how personal narrative is a healing art, how you can gather your memories, how to tell your stories. You can explore difficult or hidden issues and discover different modes and media—art, dance, and drama as a way to tell stories. Register here!

 Journey of Memoir


Pre-Conference Workshop, Friday, April 11

The Three Stages of Memoir Writing

Memoir writers need a roadmap to begin, develop, publish their memoir.
We will identify the three stages: Kickstart Your memoir, The Muddy Middle, and Birthing your Book. We will discuss and use the tools you need to get to the end of a first draft.

In Kickstart, we will do timeline and turning point exercises, and learn how to write scenes, the building blocks of story. In the Muddy Middle we will discuss, truth, writing as healing, the inner and outer critic and do exercises. In Birthing Your Memoir, we will talk about editing, revising, and publishing.

The arc of writing, developing, and publishing a memoir will be addressed with practical solutions that really work. We will talk about craft skills you need, and the psychology of writing a full length work. Group discussion and writing exercises to be shared will offer emotional support. You will come away knowing that other writers run into the same challenges, and  there solutions.

You will leave with the ability to define the stages where you’re writing, locate the stuck places, and work your way through them. You will leave with two new vignettes, and a timeline that you can keep building.

Register for the Pre-Conference workshop here.


Write a Healing Memoir/Spiritual Autobiography Workshop | Spring 2014


Workshop: 9 Sessions Starting April 3, 2014

Thursdays, 3 PM PDT/6 PM EDT 

$390.00 NAMW members

$525 non-members

To sign up go to this link

Linda Joy Myers, Workshop Leader

In this workshop, we silence the noise of everyday life and dig into memories, tune into writing our stories, and learn the skills needed to write a satisfying memoir—to get all the way to “The End.” This is a process writing workshop, where digging into your memories, finding the threads of what you remember and writing into what you need to say or explore is what it’s all about. We welcome your first draft, first thoughts in this workshop.To get a memoir done, we must do this early writing first. We enter into the doorway of memory with our writing, and let it flow out.

The group is a witness and a support to your writing and the stories you have to tell. This is not a critique group, it’s a supportive group of fellow seekers and writers who ask useful questions to help you get to the core of your stories and share their own process and raw drafts.

It’s important to write freely without worrying about your inner critic or being published yet—though that may be your ultimate goal. In order to get your memoir done, you need to feed your creative spirit, and have accountability to help get your stories on the page in a first draft.

How It Works

  1. Send that week’s story to your classmates through email.
  2. Workshop members read and write feedback through email—reflecting on what works, and offering feedback about what could be clarified.
  3. At class time, we gather by phone to talk about the stories—discussing what comes up as you write, your inner critic, doubts and dreams about your stories, and questions about structure. Find out in person on the call what you want to know from the group that will help you continue and develop your work.
  4. As the leader, I guide the group, offer writing tips, and teach techniques that help you keep writing and learn how to grow as a writer.

The workshop includes:

  • Narrative structure–what it is and how to create it
  • The form of a chapter–what’s needed in a chapter
  • Writing scenes that bring your story alive on the page
  • Weaving scenes and narration–the basic skills of story writing
  • Grammar–how to enhance your use of language
  • Memory–learn to flow with what you remember
  • The inner critic and outer critics–how to quiet them so you can write
  • Outlining vs. freewriting–tools that help you get your rough draft on the page
  • Exploring layers of truth–the essence of memoir writing
  • Family and psyche–the stuff of memoir


Breaking Ground on Your Story


 flowerpotFree Webinar! The 3 Building Blocks You Need to Write Your Memoir

February 25 at 4pm PT/5pm MT/6pm CT/7pm ET

Memoir writers need support both to write their truths and memories, as well as with how to begin and how to craft their story. In this free webinar, Linda Joy Myers and Brooke Warner, coaches in the Write Your Memoir in 6 Months program, explore the building blocks you need to get started and build out your memoir into a full book.

 Join us to learn how to:

1. Sketch out the main ideas of your memoir—and why you are writing it.

2. Identify the themes in your memoir—and the universal message.

3. Figure out the most important craft decisions you need to make when writing your memoir.




 Brooke-Linda-mashup Brooke Warner and Linda Joy Myers

Brooke Warner is the founder of Warner Coaching Inc. and the publisher of She Writes Press, a new hybrid publishing option for women writers. Brooke is passionate about books and helping writers finish their books AND get published. Brooke has been in the publishing industry for thirteen years, including seven-and-a-half years as the Executive Editor of Seal Press. She’s the author of What’s Your Book? A Step-by-Step Guide to Get You from Idea to Published Author (She Writes Press, 2012), a project she completed in six months.

Linda Joy Myers, Ph.D., MFT, is the President and founder of the National Association of Memoir Writers, Instructor at Writers Digest,and Huffington Post Blogger.Linda is the author of The Power of Memoir—How to Write Your Healing Story, Becoming Whole, and the award-winning memoir Don’t Call Me Mother, which won the BAPIA Gold Medal prize. Her workbook Journey of Memoir was published by She Writes Press. Linda has won prizes for fiction, memoir, and poetry. She offers workshops nationally, and offers memoir coaching, manuscript evaluation, and speaks on truth in memoir, writing a family memoir, healing through memoir writing, and how to begin–and finish–your memoir.

Schedule your memoir writing 


One of the challenges in memoir writing is capturing how we change through time.  Who you, as your narrator, were 30 years ago is not who you are today. Even your cells have changed. We have to wonder who the “I” is who’s telling our story. Each person is a kaleidoscope of “I”, and we need to keep track as we write of which “I” is telling the story, and which “I” we’re writing about in the past–the kid who was seven, the teenaged self, or the young adult persona.

As a memoir writer and teacher for many years, I see my students searching not only for the voice of the narrator who tells the story, but who they were at different ages. In a memoir, we inevitably end up reflecting on identity, on who we think we are, or were, and how that person, or that shifting sense of who you were, experienced the various moments you choose to show in your memoir. I love the term that Sue William Silverman uses for the varying voices in memoir–“The Voice of Innocence and the Voice of Experience.” The Voice of Experience is you now, which I call the “now” narrator. You are the writer in the now, you understand how the puzzle pieces of the past and the various identities of self you have had throughout your life fit together. By the way, Sue will be our guest at the May 9 Memoir Telesummit this year!

The voice of Innocence is your younger self, whether it’s you as a child, or you as a teen or young adult. Often you are dropping into scenes from that past as you present the POV of yourself from that earlier age. Your tone, voice, language and vocabulary will be different as that younger version of yourself. Mark Matousek, memoir writer and teacher, says, “None of us has only one voice; we all house many characters who evolve, appear, and disappear over time.  Just as there is no solid self, there is no solid, monolithic story.”

 Free Roundtable Discussion on the Self in Memoir At the National Association of Memoir Writers today, February 6.

Topic: Who Am I Now? The Changing Self in Memoir

Expert: Mark Matousek


This week’s free Roundtable Discussion at the National Association of Memoir Writers features Mark Matousek and me in a discussion about the shifting psyche in memoir and how to think about and manage the lens through which you present yourself at different parts of your story. Of course, as we sort through our past and choose what to write, we are vulnerable with who we are/were, what we remember. We have to choose the themes and how much to reveal. We can’t hide behind the fictional wall, as I call it. We’ll examine the paradox of self, memory, and imagination in this conversation, as imagination is also important to memoirists–not in the sense of making up things, but in bringing forward into our consciousness the memories and moments that help to define us, that shaped us into who we are now.  


Please join us

Date: February 6, 2014

Time: 4 PM PST  5 PM MST  6 PM CST  7 PM EST 


Sign up here