National Association of Memoir Writers  Be Brave. Write Your Story

April 2010 Newsletter | Issue #32

Daffodils, Dirty Tomatoes, and Spring Unfolding

By Linda Joy Myers, Ph.D., NAMW President

Here in March in California, the morning light splashes on the yellow daffodils, creating sun spots in the yard, a nodding and smiling garden that responds to the warmth of the ever increasing sun. Even the roses are budding!  It’s wonderful to experience this opening of the life force—even if you might be seeing your daffodils peeking up between snow mounds. Our energy lifts and we eagerly look forward to more light.

Writers and all creative artists create patterns of light with their work, searching to bring warmth into the light and into dark corners of the soul.  Memoir writers ask me how I write—with computer or by hand. I believe that writing by hand helps us to slow down, to connect deeply with the body-mind that is creating the writing. Along the way, surprising topics, words,  and sentences appear. You might begin writing about a birthday party, but suddenly a dark memory shows up—unbidden and unwelcome. We soldier on, trying to rein ourselves back to the topic we selected, only to find it happening again. Oftentimes, a kernel of gold shows up under the dirt when we discover a new insight, a new way to look at life. That’s the magic of writing! Click here to Read More

Young Writers Write!


March was a busy month for me, with the Women on Writing (WOW) blog tour, events, the upcoming class through Kay Adams’ Therapeutic Writing Institute, and my presentation at The National Association of Poetry Therapy in Washington DC April 8-11! I’m excited about all the creativity and connections with other writers.

Recently, I was inspired by spending time with a great nonprofit organization started by Verna Dreisbach—the Capitol City Young Writers.

Verna brings together young writers every few weeks to help them develop their writing skills and their talents for poetry, fiction, memoir, and all the professional knowledge they need to become writers. Click here to Read More

Spring Means the NAMW Telesummit in April!


As I wrote in my post about spring, this time of year invites us to unfurl our creativity just as the flowers are opening their beauty to the sun. Like the plants, we need inspiration to help us open our minds to new stories, themes, and scenes. Writers draw upon imagination and memory along with information to help keep the pump primed and the creative process ongoing.

I’m so excited and pleased to have wonderful guests for our Fourth NAMW Telesummit: From Transformation to Publication. I have known and worked with each of our guests over the years. The conference will offer you such rewards in your writing life.

This year, there’s something special we’re doing for the Telesummit. If you sign up, you will receive downloads of the audios, available for a limited time. That means that you can download all that learning into your ipod or mp3 player, and learn while you garden, jog, or drive.

We all need input to help keep our writing lives current, to get inspired and to feel supported in our work. The NAMW Telesummit can give you that, and more. If you listen live, you can interact with me and the presenters during the last few minutes of each session! If you are unable to be there live, tune in for part of the conference, and send us your questions by email, and we’ll try to get them answered.

Upcoming Events at NAMW


We have several events and new workshops that are being planned for the coming months at NAMW that will be helpful to the development of your skills as writers, memoirists, or personal historians. You can find all the finalized events outlined below, but please be sure to check out the NAMW website for new additions.

[NAMW Telesummit April 16, 2010] Memoir Writing–From Transformation to Publication
Participate LIVE! for free or receive an Audio Download of Every Session Just for Signing up at the NAMW website.  Click Here to Sign up NOW!

Session 1: Linda Joy Myers, Ph.D., NAMW Founder & President, Interviewed by Kay Adams, Director of Center for Journal Therapy
Topic: The Power of Memoir to Heal and Transform: An Interview with the Author…read moreSession 2: Denis LeDoux, MA, Founder The Soleil Lifestory Network
Topic: Transforming a Journal Into Memoir…read more

Session 3: Kay Adams, LPC, Director of Center for Journal Therapy
Topic: Manifesting Your Memoir…read more

Session 4: Sheila Bender, MA, renowned poet, essayist, and workshop leader
Topic: Making a Memoir Compelling…read more

Session 5: Alan Rinzler, Executive Editor at Jossey Bass publishers and Verna Dreisbach, Literary Agent
Topic: Write Important Books–Attract an Agent and Publisher
…read more

April Member-only Teleseminar: April 23, 2010: The Power of Platform:Tools, Tips and Techniques for Authors Based on Real-life Experience with Linda Joy Myers, watch the NAMW website for full details, coming soon!
Cost: FREE FOR NAMW MEMBERS | Become a member
Intermediate to Advanced Healing Memoir & Spiritual Autobiography Teleworkshops: 9 Sessions with Linda Joy Myers, Ph.D. Classes meet 9 times on the following days of the week. Exact meeting dates available on the NAMW website. | $390 for NAMW members-click here to become a member/ $525 for non-members
TUESDAYS April 6th through June 15th Click Here to Learn More!
FRIDAYS April 16th through June 25th Click Here to Learn More!
May Member-only Telesminar: May 14, 2010: Journaling Tools for Your Memoir Writing Toolkit with Ruth Folit, Founder and President IAJW —watch the NAMW website for full details, coming soon!Cost: FREE FOR NAMW MEMBERS | Become a member

Be sure to Read Ruth’s Article on this topic in this issue of the NAMW Newsletter!

May 13- June 5 Thursday Teleworkshop: Playing Your Part on the World Stage with Kim Pearson
Details coming soon to the NAMW website!

NAMW Featured Members


February: Martha Sarkassian
 Click Here to Visit the NAMW website to read an exclusive interview with Martha!
March 2010: Debra Sanders
 Click Here to Visit the NAMW website to read an exclusive interview with Debra!
April 2010: Kathleen Pooler
We are pleased to announce that Kathleen Pooler has been selected by the NAMW Advisory Board as the NAMW Featured Member of the month for April 2010! You can visit Kathleen’s blog to learn more about her. And read our interview with Kathleen on the NAMW website!Congratulations, Kathleen!

Please visit the NAMW website for our interviews with Marta Sarkassian, our NAMW member of the month for February as well as Debra Sanders, our NAMW member of the month for March!

Are You Really Self-Publishing or Not?

by Susan C. Daffron

Editor’s Note: This is the second part in a series of articles that Susan Daffron has graciously offered to NAMW.  These articles will help our members better understand our new NAMW membership publishing benefit. Learn more about this new benefit on the NAMW website in coming days!

It’s human nature that if something is confusing or complex, you look for some way to simplify it.

Most people who research self-publishing end up confused, at least at the start. Do a search on “self publishing” or “self publish” in Google. You’ll see that all of the (pay-per-click) ads along the side are for companies such as BookSurge, iUniverse, and Publish America, which offer “turnkey self-publishing” packages. The term “self-publishing” has been co-opted by these companies to lure and confuse aspiring authors.

Misleading Terms: Good for Them; Bad for You

Although these companies use the term “self-publishing,” it’s misleading. If you sign up with iUniverse or Authorhouse, you are NOT self-publishing. They are what’s called subsidy or vanity presses in the industry. Subsidy presses have been spending (and continue to spend) a lot of money to transform the term self-publishing into something it is not. The following terms:

  • Publish On-Demand
  • Print On Demand Publisher
  • Author Services Company
  • Self Publishing Company

are all now associated with subsidy presses. With a subsidy press, with few exceptions, you don’t own your own ISBN. Sometimes you don’t even own the design work for your book. You are not the publisher of record, and that is why you aren’t truly self-publishing. Click here to Read More

Exercises and Prompts:

Use Your Imagination to Create Scenes that Come Alive

by Linda Joy Myers, Ph.D. 

From The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett

One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever. One knows it sometimes when one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands alone and throws one’s head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes one cry out and one’s heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun–which has been happening every morning for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. One knows it then for a moment or so. And one knows it sometimes when one stands by oneself in a wood at sunset and the mysterious deep gold stillness slanting through and under the branches seems to be saying slowly again and again something one cannot quite hear, however much one tries. Then sometimes the immense quiet of the dark blue at night with millions of stars waiting and watching makes one sure; and sometimes a sound of far-off music makes it true; and sometimes a look in someone’s eyes.

Thanks to this snippet from The Secret Garden post on FaceBook a few days ago, I looked up the quote on Google, then clicked over to Amazon where I bought a used copy of the book. Many of you may remember this book if you are of “a certain age,” as it’s a child’s classic. I read it a million years ago, propped up on pillows during one of my many childhood diseases. I remember feeling so warm, hopeful, and alive. Now, as I grab a few minutes to read it in between the other books I’m reading, I find that I’m lingering in the gloaming, stopping to savor the paragraphs, the descriptions, and the images the author paints. Her characters are real, touchable, they’re people we’ve met at some point in our lives. Reading the book again stimulated me to get some plants for my garden and get out my shovel to putter in my garden despite my busy life writing, blogging, working on NAMW, etc.  As I commune with the plants, I think of Mary and her secret garden, and the times where I’ve tuned into Mother Earth.

The pleasure of capturing the natural world through words is something I’ve always had, and I brought enjoyment of this into my memoir Don’t Call Me Mother. I focused on getting myself into the scene in my mind as if I were standing on the very place on the earth where I had a particular significant experience. In a mild hypnotic trance, I immersed myself in the scene, slowed time down, and entered it again through my imagination.

Memoir writing is so much more than getting the “facts” right. You need to draw not only upon your memories, but also your imaginative powers to craft scenes that everyone can feel. They feel it through your exquisite rendering of a place, a time, and the sensual experience of being there.

Writing Prompts

Thinking about seasons gives us rich sensual data that takes us back into a certain place and time. If you write with sensual detail you will enjoy the experience all over again, and when someone reads your work, they will be there too. 

  1. Write about spring smells, tastes, colors, and sounds. Choose a scent, a taste, a color and a sound and write about each one. See if your vignettes develop into a story.
  2. What rituals did your family undertake in the spring—Easter eggs, Passover, spring cleaning? Did you help? How did you feel about these rituals?
  3. How did you feel when you were a young child alone on a spring day? What might you do?
  4. Does this time of year have a spiritual significance for you? Be specific and create a scene showing what you do and how you feel about it.

Featured Memoir: NAMW Memoir of the Month

The Break-up Diet:  A Memoir

by Annette Fix

Annette Fix always believed in happily ever after and was busy working her Five-Year Plan: marry her golf-pro boyfriend, homeschool her preteen son, become a famous writer, and retire to Fiji. When her live-in boyfriend calls it quits, Annette finds herself on The Break-Up Diet, consuming vast amounts of chocolate and exercising by diving blindly into the shallow end of the dating pool.

Working as an exotic dancer to bankroll her aspiring writing career and support her son alone, Annette uses her blue-collar instinct to survive in the plastic jungle of The OC.

Annette’s adventures take her on a wild ride as she attempts find the perfect balance between her dreams and her day-to-day life as Supermom.


“The Break-Up Diet is delicious. Heartbreaking and humorous…any woman can relate.” ~ Jill Soloway, author of Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants, and writer for ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy

In this delectable memoir, Annette Fix serves up a fresh, funny, honest, and insightful dish of sex and the single mom.” ~ Colleen Sell, Editor, A Cup of Comfort series


You can read the Amazon reviews and search inside the book.

ISBN# 978-1-934518-39-7

 Read an excerpt of this amazing memoir!

Featured Workshops & Third Party EventsUpcoming Events Outside of NAMW

National Association of Poetry Therapy Conference

Washington D.C., April 7th-11th
Featured Breakout Session:  Moments of Being: Writing Your Spiritual Memoir

Writing about spiritual experiences is an important healing process, asking the writer to navigate dark nights of the soul and explore moments of transformation. Virginia Woolf’s luminous text will inspire us to reflect on our Moments of Being, and examine the structure and process of writing a spiritual memoir.

Join Linda Joy Myers as she helps participants in this conference , find their voice and write their powerful memoirs. Her new book The Power of Memoir – How to Write Your Healing Story presents an 8 Step arc of healing and the important research about writing as a healing process.

WriterAdvice seeks flash fiction, memoir, and creative non-fiction that mesmerizes the reader in 750 words or less.

DEADLINE: April 15, 2010. Entry fee: $10 per submission. First prize: $150. Former prizewinners are the judges. Complete guidelines, mailing address, and prizes at

San Mateo County Fair exhibits and contest—Literary Arts Division

DEADLINE: Friday, April 30 by 7 pm PDT Entry Forms and Entries for Literary Arts due, including the Notre Dame de Namur Scholarship-see youth exhibits for details

(Mailed entries must be postmarked by April 30)


Special Note: Dedicated to James Brauninger. In association with Linda Joy Myers, Ph.D., author of The Power of Memoir-How to Write Your Healing Story.

Eligibility: Submit maximum 3,000 words of your unpublished memoir story. Write about someone who changed your life and how he/she has helped you keep the faith. Submit according to the entry guidelines for the contest, using standard manuscript formatting, double-spaced.

Journaling as a Part of the Memoir Writing “Toolkit”

by Ruth Folit, NAMW Contributing Expert

Writing your memoir is a great opportunity to not only tell your story to others, but in the process of writing it to learn from your own life.  How to begin?  With a journal entry!

A memoir is a series of your life stories which are stitched together to form a coherent whole.  The memoir requires that you make meaning out of your own life events and then present the reader with a point of view, showing a change in your character, attitude, and behavior.

Journals, on the other hand, are a conglomeration of disparate vignettes, inner musings, quick character sketches, emotional outpourings, boring or anxious ramblings, overheard conversations, unrelated tangents, and poorly written sentences. However, think of your journal as consisting of the building blocks and the reference material from which you write your memoir.

If you have kept a journal for years and years you may be lucky enough to have written about an experience that you are including in your memoir. In that case, you’ve struck gold! There are a myriad of specifics about the actual event, written from your point of view during that particular time.  Sift through these kind of journals entry for clues about who you were and what your attitudes and belief system was. This is an invaluable goldmine for your memoir. Click here to read the rest of this article!

Visit for more details.

Keep writing! If you have any questions, or would like to suggest a workshop topic please let us know. Email us at:


Warm regards,
Linda Joy Myers, Ph.D., MFT
President & Founder
National Association of Memoir Writers
Be Brave. Write Your Story. 


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