The Journal Conference in Denver namw.orgThe last couple of weeks are full of news about the exciting developments at NAMW and at the Denver Power of Writing Conference!

First, the conference.

There was such a high–a Rockie Mountain High–sorry, but I couldn’t resist that–of being with over 400 people who love journal writing, memoirs, poetry, and writing to heal and advance consciousness. Some of the women I spoke to–it was 95% women there–said they had felt alone in their passion to write this way and how amazing it was to be with so many others with the same passion. Lots of glowing happy faces. Not all of us are blessed to live in areas where we are supported in our writing passion.

Nothing can describe adequately the feeling of amazement and happiness for me of seeing several of my heroes in this field on the stage at once: Dr. James Pennebaker–he likes to be called “Jamie”; Christina Baldwin; Kay Adams, and Tristine Rainer, together talking about writing, healing, spiritual autobiography, personal stories and what happens when we break open these hidden subjects.

They talked about how writing changes the world, story making changes the world. That we are fully connected and supported in our vision of the way the world should be. I think many of us were a little dizzy from the beauty of what was said and held in the room and in the breakout workshops.

Tristine’s keynote was about her relationship with Anais Nin and the development of her diaries over time; Dr. Pennebaker presented the research about writing and healing, and confirms the studies that have been done in the last few years as holding up well– affirming that writing personal stories with depth and meaning for 15 minutes three times a week makes a health difference. He also says that studies show that writing positive stories are almost as healing, and writing fictional stories are as well. So break out the fiction!

Christina Baldwin wove a spell around us with a fabulous slide show of many well known writers, their faces and names already etched upon our hearts. Sighs and tears spread throughout the room as we encountered in these moments those who have inspired us and kept us going with their work throughout our lives. She talked about all of us needing to be StoryCatchers– her new book, and that stories make the world. This concept is one many of us already hold dear, but she is putting it out there in her talk and in the buttons she sold–so invite everyone to hold stories for everyone else, no matter where we are–at the airport, in a car, on the street.

Kay Adams as always was wonderful, gracious and breaking new ground with this event. She wove together the ideas and feelings of the conference in her keynote on the last morning and facilitated a group poem to capture the conference in words.

I come back supported fully and happy that I made so many new friends, inspired by the idea that my teaching work is necessary and important, one person at a time.

That is my story about the conference. There are many moments and insights that are hard to capture. My talk about Lies, Secrets and Scandals went well. As always, the inner and outer critics get in people’s way and people appreciated getting support about that subject.

While I was at the conference, I began to plan a “Writing to Heal” series at NAMW, so stay tuned for further developments. In the fall we will hold a “Memoir Telesummit” where four to six experts will present topics that will help you develop your writing, publishing, and networking skills. Different levels of coaching and tele-workshops are going to be offered in the fall.

We will keep you informed here in the newsletter and blog posts on the site, so stay tuned!