What is the Truth in Memoir | Can We Really Capture It? | Tune in to Find out

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 memory and the sources of “truth” –whatever that is. The topic of the Telesummit is Truth or Lie: On the Cusp of Memoir and Fiction, and also features a panel of young memoirists who couldn’t wait for people to die before they wrote about their lives! And the best news: it’s FREE to everyone. Just sign up at the link below.

Robin’s memoir asks: whose version of “truth” is “real.” Can we trust memory, or do we create our story based on emotional need or unconscious beliefs?

Quotes from Nola:

How can one be objective about one’s family? How can one resist the urge to edit, to become the family spin doctor?

…There is no real past, it’s all a daydream is seems, or an endless series of clues and discoveries…

…everyone’s life is a kind of detective story, every clue of our forebears’ lives, every decision, missed opportunity…are part of the solution to our own existence.

To read more about the Telesummit, go to the National Association of Memoir Writers to sign up. You will receive a link to the downloadable audio after the conference is over.

Robin will talk about “The Trouble with the Truth,” which is the troubling and challenging issue for all memoir and nonfiction writers. His introduction to the teleconference:

Any time we set down to write the truth of our lives we have to face the fact that there is no single truth to our lives.  To make matters more complex we’re different people at different times in our lives and we show different faces to different people.  The portrayal of an “authentic” self is something most memoir writers strive for, but there are always details we omit or exaggerate or forget, or hidden agendas even we aren’t aware of as we’re writing.  While we don’t want to lie, we also have to understand that what we aspire to write is closer to art than a court room transcript.  It’s not all about content.  There are aesthetic concerns as well.  Above all, you have to remember that once an event has passed, it’s gone forever and words can’t recreate the event.  They can only create a semblance of the event. 

We’re so lucky to be able to meet with people you normally have to pay hundreds of dollars to see, so join us for Free! See you there!

Your Blog Tour: Creating Success for Your Memoir

When I found out that my book The Power of Memoir was going to be published by Jossey Bass, I was, of course, thrilled, and began to look at all the ways I needed to get the word out about my book. Everyone has been talking about the “blog tour” so I started to research how to do it.

Should I, or could I, find the blogs where I wanted to post—or would it be better to hire someone to do it for me? How hard is it to find the right audience for my book? How do I keep track of the blogs and the dates? These are just some of my questions. My research lead me repeatedly to the Women on Writing site, where I learned how WOW could take care of all these details, and allow me to do what I did best—which was to write.

WOW! I love that the acronym for Women on Writing is WOW—as that is what we want people to say about our books, our blogs, and what we have to share with the world. Jodi did the research for my blog tour, and signed me up for the various open dates. I wrote about 28 new blog posts in 32 days—whew!

I forced myself to write brand new information about questions that a blog’s audience would have. Many people wanted to know what to do about the painful, darker stories when writing a memoir; others wondered what it was like to write my own memoir. Some wanted information about the structure and skills needed to write a memoir, and others wanted to know where to begin.

All of the questions were terrific, and I spent a lot of time doing new writing on subjects that I’d covered in the book. For each blog I wrote from a slightly different angle, using new combinations of phrases and ideas. The blog tour forced me to write in new styles for each audience. It was great training to be a journalist!

I’m pleased to say that Jodi is going to join me for the National Association of Memoir Writers Free Telesummit this Friday, October 15. We are going to talk about blog tours—what they are, how a blog tour can promote you as an author, and how it all works.

It will be great to hang out with Jodi again, like meeting an old friend, though of course, it’s virtual. Yet real. Here’s to the digital age!

Being Authentic in Memoir Writing

Princess Zoe

I’ve been thinking about what Billy Coffey is going to talk about at the National Association of Memoir Writers Free Telesummit coming up on Friday. His topic is Being For Real: Building a Personable and Approachable Image in a Digital World.

Being authentic is actually a subject that I spend time thinking about—because memoirists are supposed to be “real” on the page, to tell the truth, to expose the inner worlds of their lives, families, and hearts–right?. All that exposure: isn’t that “being real?”
Well, it depends. We use words to shape perception. Words convey inner truths very deeply, or words can cover up what we really feel.

Authenticity? The question is—how much of our real selves do we feel comfortable revealing anyway? Nowdays, it seems that everyone is confessing and revealing everything on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs–all over the web. Some people wonder if there will ever be such a thing as privacy again.

Yet, if you are author who wants to connect with real people—after all those are real people out there behind the pictures on Facebook—then what do you need to do? What blockages do you have in your willingness to share your personality, to find the words to express the uniqueness of who you are?

I do feel that Billy Coffey expresses his unique personality on his blog. He has photos taken by his wife, he talks about real issues in his life, his thoughts, feelings, and philosophy. Even if I don’t agree with everything he might share, I feel that I’ve had contact with a whole human being when I read his blog. He seems authentic—there’s that word again.

I feel that I can do more to show my personality, yet want to find privacy too in how much I put on the web. What is the balance, I wonder? So I’m really going to enjoy my discussion with Billy on Friday.

He’s the first guest at the NAMW FREE Telesummit, and it’s a great way to kick off the day. Go here to sign up for the telesummit, and even if you can’t come, you will get an audio of all the presentations to download or burn on a CD.

Now, back to the paragraph in my new memoir piece After the Memoir. I was writing about my perky 4 year old granddaughter, Zoe! She’s my guru about being real. She always says what she’s thinking. “Nana, I love your hair. What are those lines around your lips?”

Well, at least she’s being real. I hug her, and we talk about her pink princess dress, and how she wants to be a princess when she grows up. I sink into her fictional world of princesses and pretty dresses. After all, isn’t that what writing is all about–creating another world? I’m authentically joining Zoe in the imaginative world she’s painting around me, grateful for the respite from all that “reality.”

My new memoir posts will be about the new world you will find yourself in after you write your memoir, after you have completed your story and publish. Then more stories begin, and life goes on.

Keep writing, and find your authentic voice!

Creating Success for Your Memoir–Scribd

I’m excited to announce that I’m going to be sharing a lot of new learning about memoir writing success at the FREE National Association of Memoir Writers Telesummit on Friday, October 15. One of the people I’ll be talking with that day is Hyla Molander, who’s going to tell us all about her amazing experiences with a new on-line publishing method called Scribd.

The thing is–these days publishers and agents want you to approach them not only with a manuscript, a query, and in many cases a proposal, but they want you to have already established an eager passionate audience for your work. Wow! That’s asking a lot from people who tend to prefer quietly writing at their computer!

The good news is that technology is transforming the publishing industry rapidly, and every week there seems to be a new tool out there that makes getting networked easier.

I am looking forward to talking with Hyla, and hearing about how she managed to get 12,000 views for her memoir Drop Dead Life on Scribd in a short time. Please join me for what will be a fun and creative conversation. I met Hyla and her daughter at the Capitol City Young Writers conference in July. They were both gently promoting Hyla’s book and thinking about where to connect with readers. They had been inspired that day by Jane Friedman–her workshop about connecting and creatively networking got many of us eager to jump into the world of writing, publishing, and sharing our work.

Join the online conversations in the social media, be creative, and write your memoir in chapters that can be uploaded onto your blog or published on the net so you can create that all important buzz. Success on the web is what it’s all about now.
I’m thinking of uploading to Scribd too. Check it out.