May 31, 2015 | Blog, Events, Featured, Memories and Memoirs
FREE Memoir Webinar June 1 at 4pm PT | 6pm CT | 7pm ET
Is Memoir on Your Bucket List?
Have you been thinking of writing a memoir, but aren’t sure if you should, how your family will react, or where to start? These are typical places where people hesitate about writing their story. But you can get help for all these problems.
I am excited to join with my colleague Brooke Warner again to offer you a free webinar this next Monday, June 1 that addresses the places where people who want to write typically get stuck. It doesn’t help either when other writers broadcast that you have to be well known, or an experienced writer to write your own story.
Take it from us—and we have coached over 150 people in our Write Your Memoir in Six Months classes—all you need is the desire to write and be willing to jump into the project you have always been meaning to do: write your story, share the family stories you know so well, help others learn from your wisdom and life experience.
The details are below. Hope to see you on the call!
FREE webinar June 1 at 4pm PT | 6pm CT | 7pm ET
Is Memoir on Your Bucket List?
If so, let this be the year you make it happen! This free 1-hour is a celebration of the memoir phenomenon, and an exploration of why now is a fantastic time to start and/or finish your memoir.
What we’ll be covering:
• The reasons why people write memoir.
One that we encounter often in the baby boomer generation is the desire to leave a legacy for the family. Maybe you want to explore who you were forty years ago, and to go deeper into your experience to sort out who you were and what your dreams were, and how you evolved into who you became. Another reason people write memoir is to find a way to tell a story that no one has ever told before—about themselves, about an experience. Do you have a story that’s full of inspiration? That might help or inform others? What are your stories? We invite you to consider this question and explore with us.
• Understanding what memoir is.
There is still, amazingly, a lot of discussion about who should and shouldn’t write a memoir; whether people who aren’t likely to get picked up by a big publisher should bother to write. There is speculation that there is too much memoir being written now, and that somehow it’s reserved for people who have a “valuable” story to tell, which immediately puts a judgment on memoir. We know that each story is valuable. Each story has something to offer the reader. In our classes we teach about how to engage your readers, and refine what you’re writing, but first you need to get clear on what you have to share with the world.
• 5 solid strategies for getting started.
Every writer is different and every story needs a beginning. But do you know where to start? Or maybe you’ve started, and you need some tips for getting restarted? These strategies work for that too. We will discuss the ways that you can begin and develop your memoir. We’ll give you pointers for ways to sort out your hundreds of thousands of memories into your story—with themes, turning points, and lessons for the reader.
• Success stories
Many of the writers we work with have finished their memoirs. Some have found agents, while others have gone on to publish their work with publishers or on their own. Many are working on their final revisions. Writing a memoir is an ongoing creative process that’s demanding at times, and other writers’ stories are often the inspiration and push you need to believe that you can do it too. We’ve worked with students who didn’t consider themselves “writers,” who learned the techniques of good writing and developed their craft and now fully own that title. When they sign with a publishing company or win prizes—as many of our authors have—we celebrate in their success. Writing a memoir does not have to be a dream you have, something you hope you might do one day; it can be a reality!
Hope to see you on the call!
Feb 22, 2014 | Classes & Events, Featured, Memories and Memoirs, Writing Resources
Free 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.
SIGN UP FOR THE FREE WEBINAR!
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.
Nov 15, 2013 | Blog, Memories and Memoirs, Writing Skills
Writing a memoir is like finding yourself on a journey: you thought you knew where you were going, but eventually you are lost! We all experience several stages that lead up to your journey: As you pack your suitcase, you think about the thrilling and interesting moments you will encounter. And as you start your journey, you are still excited and moving forward with great energy. Then reality sets in. Life still presents challenges. And it is this way when we write our memoir.
A couple of years ago, I visited France and was thrilled to be in Paris again with its iconic symbols–the Eiffel Tower, the parks and museums. The charming coffee houses. Then I made my way to the southern mountains where Cezanne and Van Gogh used to paint. I encountered the usual challenges–the suitcase was too heavy to lift up stairs, I was crushed in the Metro by sweaty people, and I got lost many dozens of times on tiny country lanes! There were highs and lows, moments of exhaustion and exhilaration. The imaginings of how the journey would be when I packed my suitcase collided with the real journey, and it changed me—for the better. My story changed, and I experienced France in a brand new way.
So it is when we write a memoir. We begin by filling our suitcase with memories of people and events that we are eager to celebrate and share. Even if our story is dark, we’re sure that we can handle it. We have been journaling for a long time, and we think we know what we want to write. Eagerly, we launch into our writing, capturing images and moments, writing and remembering. We even feel brave enough to tell people we’re writing a book!
Then the doubts creep in, “I’m not sure what I wrote is the truth. My sister says I make things up.”
“Gee, I don’t want to reveal x and y and z. It’s too personal. I can’t have people knowing all those things about me.”
Or you read a bunch of famous memoirs and realize that you can’t write all that well. Suddenly it’s really too big a job, this memoir project, even though you love it. You agonize and even try to leave it behind like an overfull suitcase until it begins to take on a life of its own as it tugs at your heart.
There’s another scenario: You’ve started to remember things, memories you thought you’d handled; you begin to reflect on the past in a new way, and start to write about it, but you feel sad, depressed, or angry. You try to put it all aside, but you can’t. The writing doesn’t work. You’re stuck in the middle of your book.
This is all good news. I know, it doesn’t sound like good news to you. You just want to get your memoir done, you want to brush away the doubts.
The good news is that you are in the middle of your memoir journey, and you’re doing fine. This is the way the journey goes! There are three major stages in writing a memoir. The first is the eager beginning, which I call “freewriting.” Then there’s the” muddy middle,” where themes, stories, and memories begin to build into a larger story–you can feel a bit out of control here just as I did when I got lost 10 times. The muddy middle is the biggest part of the journey, and the largest section of the book. Brooke Warner and I talk about this journey model in our course Write Your Memoir in Six Months.
In the last stage you’ve found your stride, the journey has changed you, and you’re grateful for the discoveries and the epiphanies. It is not the same journey-book that you imagined. You are different. The writing becomes your teacher, your mentor. Dr. James Pennebaker, the psychologist who researched the healing power of writing, said, “Story is a way of knowledge.” When you write a memoir, you discover your story. I write about these stages in my book Journey of Memoir–The Three Stages of Memoir Writing.
It’s a journey worth taking. Pack your suitcase now.
Nine tips for your trip:
- Understand that writing your memoir is a longer journey than you imagined. Be patient.
- Take good care of yourself on the journey. Set a schedule, make a map.
- Allow the writing process to guide you; accept the underside of what you planned to write, the darker stories and images, the memories that squeeze in. They have something to teach you.
- Trust in your creative muse and the excitement you felt when you began your journey. Allow this energy to urge you forward.
- Invite your unconscious to help you write and remember. Put your writing under your pillow. Before sleeping, ask your unconscious mind to help you. I did this, and it worked!
- Know that you will write the same story repeatedly but it will shape shift, it will evolve with each version.
- Accept that you will find your muddy middle, and that you’ll get stuck and lost. Keep going anyway. You’ll find your way out of the muddy middle if you just keep writing!
- Writing your life is like entering a labyrinth. You need to find the threads that will lead you out. It’s there somewhere, and you need to stay long enough for it to reveal itself. It’s a little like magic!
- Write, listen, be still, and invite. Your story wants to be found and shared with the world.
To learn more about memoir writing, subscribe to this blog. Join me on the Write Your Memoir in Six Months site where you can download ten free memoir writing lessons. Sign up for our free newsletter at the National Association of Memoir Writers.
See you on Facebook and I’m @memoirguru on Twitter!
Sep 7, 2013 | Blog, Memories and Memoirs
Kickstart Your Memoir (Monday, Sept 9, 4pm PT/ 7pm ET)
CLAIM YOUR SPOT TODAY!
All you writers know that encountering—not just writing—your memoir is a challenging business. I talk with a lot of writers who are eager to get started, and who are vibrating with the passion to get their story written, but they get stuck. Sometimes they get stuck before they have actually started! Others lose energy in what I call The Muddy Middle.
Brooke Warner and I, who have partnered for the Write Your Memoir in Six Months workshop, are offering free and short courses to help memoir writers get started, and/or revive their energy with a combination of inspiration and craft solutions to these kinds of memoir problems.
CLAIM YOUR SPOT TODAY!
During this hour long presentation—a lively conversation of sharing knowledge as memoir experts, we will cover these topics, and also tell you about some short courses this fall that can give your memoir writing a great shot in the arm!
- Common reasons writers abandon their memoirs and how to get your groove back
- Strategies for how you can prioritize your writing and keep moving to “The End”!
- Ways to confront what’s holding you back and techniques to help you find your voice and passion again
- How to reconnect to the heart of your story and what moves you to write your story
- How to assess what you don’t know that you need to know to write your memoir
- 5 secrets for getting your memoir past the muddy middle
Get started with a memoir you’ve been meaning to write, or deepen your motivation to get your memoir done. Wherever you are, a webinar can give you the shot in the arm you need to move ahead with your story.
CLAIM YOUR SPOT TODAY!
LINDA JOY MYERS, President of the National Association of Memoir Writers, is the author of Don’t Call Me Mother—A Daughter’s Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness; The Power of Memoir—How to Write Your Healing Story, and Journey of Memoir: The Three Stages of Memoir Writing. She co-teaches the program Write your Memoir in Six Months with Brooke Warner, coaches writers, and offers teleseminars through NAMW. www.namw.org.
BROOKE WARNER is the founder of Warner Coaching Inc. and
the publisher of SHE WRITES PRESS. As a Certified Coach, she has guided over a thousand authors from concept to publication–both in traditional publishing and self-publishing. She is the author of What’s Your Book? A Step-by-Step Guide to Get You from Inspiration to Published Author.
Sep 26, 2012 | Blog, Memories and Memoirs, Writing Skills
How do you get your writing done—or do you? Are you a procrastinator—do you let Time Bandits get in your way? The solution is simple and it’s one you use for the rest of your life: you have to schedule your writing dates. You make dates for everything else, right? Do you know if you’re more creative in the morning or at night? Be sure to plan your writing time around the best times of your day and week.
How do you feel about scheduling your writing? Perhaps you prefer to wait for the muse to knock on your door. Do you ever despair getting your book done? These questions are part of a writer’s dilemma. This is why books don’t get finished, and frustration sets in.
I used to be one of those “write when you feel like it” people. I believed in inspiration, I believed in the need for an extra adrenaline push to get started. But I didn’t write very often. I made this okay by telling myself I wasn’t a professional writer, and I had a lot of other things to do. I noticed that I did a lot of thinking instead of writing. I tried to work out the scenes in my memoir and the challenges I was having by having it whir around in my brain. However, I didn’t write enough, and the lack of progress made me wonder if I should be doing a memoir at all.
Then I listened to authors speaking in bookstores—back when there were several in town. I learned a lot from listening to these authors—all of them talked about engaging with their ideas, characters, and solving problems through writing. One author, I forget who, said, “Writing leads to more writing.”
Hmmm—I decided to check this out, and soon enough I found it was true. Once I sat down and re-read what I’d written the day before—which is what a lot of writers have done, from Steinbeck to Virginia Woolf, and as I began to read, the ideas started flowing. Soon I’d be writing, tinkering, editing—engaging with my material. It was so easy once I opened the document and began to read. And I discovered that the more I wrote, the more I was able to write. It became much easier to write for a longer period of time. It’s sort of like exercise—once you set the time aside, you build up your stamina and you WANT to keep writing.
Tips to Get Started
There are several ways to deal with getting yourself to write. One of the best is to set a time, and show up. You show up on time at work, right? If you make a coffee date with someone, you arrive on time. We learn to show up for others, and we have to do it for ourselves. We need to become our Writer’s Best Friend.
- Make realistic commitments to yourself about the time you set. If you are definitively NOT a morning person, 5:30 AM may not work for you. But you might need to stay up an hour or two later at night. Try both systems and see what works best. Set a system that helps you keep your writing time regular.
- Since you keep coffee dates with no trouble, set a date with your writer self at a coffee shop or café. These days, everyone is sitting around with computers or iPads, typing away. Set a date at a coffee shop especially if you are one of these people who CLEANS when you are at home. Get away from the sponge and mop, and get thee to the café. Bring your notebooks and your computer, get some tea or coffee, and tune into your writing.
- Set times with a writer buddy to get your scene done. You both agree on a time you’re going to write and then you keep the date, and check in later with each other. How much did you write, how did it go, when is our next date are good check in questions.
- Figure out how many words you want to get written and the time frame you are giving yourself. To get 60,000 words in 6 months you have to write 10,000 words a month: 10,000 divided by 4 weeks is 2500 words a week. 2500 divided by 7 days is 347 words a day. That is 1.5 pages, double spaced. You can do that!
- Know that creating a schedule and asking yourself to show up is developing yourself as a “real” writer, and helps you to feel good about what you are doing. It also creates a positive habit, and once you have a good habit developed, it’s much easier to keep going with little extra effort.
- Dream your book–do you see the cover in your mind? Where will it sit in the bookstores? Sleep with your manuscript under your pillow to invite your subconscious mind to help you while you sleep. But also…
- Make your writing dates, and keep them! Watch yourself get your book done in six months!
How do you feel about a strict writing schedule? Are you willing to experiment for a week to see if you can write more?
Are you stuck in your memoir? Join me and Brooke Warner for a FREE call about solving your stuckness Monday October 1, 4 PM PDT.
In this call we’ll identify the signs that you might be in the Muddy Middle and ideas for what to do about it!
Are any of these familiar? •Stuckness •Energy dips •Procrastination •Doubting memories
Join us at 4pm PST | 5pm MST | 6pm CST | 7pm EST.
CALL-IN INFO: (530) 881-1300 CODE: 879104
Photo credit: shawntai.wordpress.com