Author Archives: Erica

Featured NAMW Member – John Evans

We’re pleased to feature John Evans this month!

1evanscwsJohn F.Evans, MAT, MA, Ed.D is a writing clinician and integrative health coach who works with groups, individuals, and health care professionals, teaching them how to use writing for better physical, emotional, and spiritual health.  Evans has authored five books and has taught writing for over thirty years. He is founder and executive director of Wellness & Writing Connections, LLC.  With James Pennebaker, Evans co-authored Expressive Writing: Words that Heal (2014). His book, Wellness & Writing Connections: Writing for Better Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Health (2010), is a collection of essays from the Wellness & Writing Connections Conference Series.  At Duke Integrative Medicine, Evans has taught Caring for Caregivers, Legacy Writing, Transform Your Health: Write to Heal, Leading Patients in Writing for Health, and Writing as a Tool for Integrative Health Coaches.
Wellness & Writing Connections coverEvans, J.F., Wellness & Writing Connections:  Writing for Better Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Health (2010) 
An ideal text for individuals, writing-to-heal classes, or healthcare professionals who are interested in how writing is connected to wellness, this work is a guide to recent research in the field providing  writing activities and models for readers to develop their own.  In addition to an overview of the research and theory of writing to heal, this book offers examples from practitioners of how to use writing to heal strategies with individuals, groups, and institutions.
Expressive Writing - coverPennebaker, J.W. and J.F. Evans, Expressive Writing: Words that Heal (2014) provides research results, in layman’s terms, which demonstrate how and when expressive writing can improve health. It explains why writing can often be more helpful than talking when dealing with trauma, and it prepares the reader for their writing experience. The book looks at the most serious issues and helps the reader process them. From the instructions: ”Write about what keeps you awake at night. The emotional upheaval bothering you the most and keeping you awake at night is a good place to start writing.”
Includes:A basic four-day, 20-minute daily writing session program; A six-week writing program using a different technique each week; Additional techniques for expressive writing; Instructions on how to analyze what was written.

January Member Teleseminar

Writing Your Family SLaura Hedgecock Headshot (2)tory in Your Memoir

Laura Hedgecock

January 22, 2016



Our story isn’t simply the things that stand out in the vivid technicolor of our memory or the signposts that mark turning points in our lives. Our personal story also includes chunks of our family—even ancestral—story.  Information is only part of the experience you want to offer your readers. You want them to connect to you, the writer, as well as any of the “characters” of your past. When the facts alone live up to their cold, hard billing, memoirists don other hats to bring the past alive—research and creativity.

Join Linda Joy and Laura as they discuss writing strategies that add context, texture, and meaning to your story, allowing it to connect with the present.

We’ll examine:

  1. Why there’s no such thing as an individual story.
  2. How to research the past to add context and texture to stories
  3. How to write about what—or who—you don’t know.
  4. Using different voices to tell other people’s stories—putting yourself in someone else’s story.
  5. How to address unanswerable questions, such as What would my ancestor think of me?



Laura Hedgecock is an author, speaker, blogger, and genealogy nut passionate about helping others tell their personal and family stories. Her book, Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your Life, stems from a gift left by her grandmother. Shortly before her death, Hazel Crymes passed on an old spiral notebook filled with a lifetime of memories and stories, which she dubbed her “Treasure Chest of Memories.” MEMORIES OF ME guides and empowers memory collectors with down-to-earth, practical advice and creative ideas.

Laura blogs and posts resources for preserving memories and personal stories

When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two newly adult. sons, (and her Springer Spaniel), playing soccer, nature photography, and finding her roots—which might explain her messy house.

Connect with Laura: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Linked In, GoodReads



Featured NAMW Member – Virginia Simpson

IMG_0634We’re pleased to feature Virginia Simpson this month!

As a bereavement care specialist, Dr. Virginia Simpson has devoted her career to counseling individuals and families grappling with illness, death, and grieving. But when her own mother, Ruth, is diagnosed in 1999 with a life-threatening condition, Virginia is caught off guard by the storm of emotions she experiences when she is forced to inhabit the role of caregiver. In a quest to provide her mother with the best care possible, Virginia arranges for Ruth to move in with her―and for the next six years, she cares for her, juggling her mother’s doctor’s appointments, meals, medication schedules, transportation needs, and often cranky moods with her own busy schedule.


Her Book: The Space Between: A Memoir of Mother-Daughter Love at the End of Life

In The Space Between: A Memoir of Mother-Daughter Love at the End of Life, Simpson takes readers along for the journey as she struggles to bridge the invisible, often prickly space that sits between so many mothers and daughters, and to give voice to the challenges, emotions, and thoughts many caregivers experience but are The Space Between cover copy 2too ashamed to admit. Touching and vividly human, The Space Between reminds us all that without accepting the inevitability of death and looking ahead to it with clarity, life cannot be fully lived.

 Virginia A. Simpson, Ph.D., FT is a bereavement care specialist and Executive Counseling Director for hundreds of funeral homes throughout the United States and Canada. She is the Founder of The Mourning Star Center for grieving children and their families, which she ran from 1995 to 2005, and author of the memoir The Space Between (She Writes Press, April 2016) about her journey caring for her ailing mother. Virginia has appeared on numerous television and radio programs. She holds a Fellowship in Thanatology from the Association of Death Education & Counseling (ADEC) and has been honored for her work by the cities of Indian Wells, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, and Rancho Mirage. She lives in El Dorado Hills, California with her husband Bob and Golden Retriever Shelby.

For more information visit:

Cyber Monday Membership Sale–Join National Association of Memoir Writers Today

Sale: Saturday, November 26- Monday, November 28, 2016

You have a story in your heart. The National Association of Memoir Writers wants to help you put those memories on paper. Memoir writers love to reminisce and think about relationships that have shaped their lives. “Remember when we…” and “I want to share my grandmother with everyone–she was such a sweet person.”  How about “Those were amazing times and I want people to know the history and my part in it.”

44241216_sOur annual Cyber Monday sale is here! Time to embrace your inner voice, to share with the world what you’ve learned in your walk through this glorious process we call life. As a member of the National Association of Memoir Writers, you benefit from a variety of events such as our members-only virtual seminars, group coaching, and over 80 audios of previous NAMW events. Join us for group coaching every month to talk about the book you’re writing and the topics that excite you to write your book.

Getting to know all of you is so inspiring for me. I see that creating the National Association of Memoir Writers is helping people write their stories and that we all are connecting with others who are passionate in the same way. Most memoir writers are inspired by memories–and movies, videos, photographs, and….writing prompts—one of the benefits of our sale. Read more about our Membership Benefits here–learn how to use the audios and teleseminars we offer through NAMW all year long as you work on your memoir.

NEW 12 Month Membership $99

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RENEWAL 12 Month Membership $97

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You will receive these two free gifts with your purchase of a new membership or renewal during Cyber Monday:

Gift # 1

You will receive MY MEMOIR ORGANIZER, tabs with themes for your memoir that will fit into your binder. It includes a attractive vintage-style photo insert “My Memoir” that offers a welcoming place to gather your stories and start to feel that you have a book!
my_memoir_binder-with-tabs-visibleThis year’s tabs include:

  • Childhood memories
  • Roots and Legacies
  • Mother
  • Father
  • Holidays
  • Love and Marriage
  • Houses
  • Secrets and Hidden Truths…
  • and more.

Inside the tabs, will find over 90 writing prompts, a timeline tool template to help you chart out your life and the plot of your memoir, a list of dozens of memoir topics, and writing tips to get you started and keep you going to “The End” of your memoir. You know how helpful it is to have writing prompts–they get you started with themes and ideas that add to the story you want to tell and evoke your memories. These prompts cover the significant moments that are common to all of us, yet are unique to you.

Every year, we ship out a LOT of these, so sign up today and get yours in the mail before Christmas! Start the year with a way to organize your writing and your new inspirational prompts. They are great as gifts to your friends and family!


Gift #2

Audio and Transcript of four session course taught by Linda Joy Myers and Brooke Warner:
wildWhat Made Wild a Best-selling Memoir?

It’s not often that a memoir grabs the attention of the world, stays on the New York Times bestseller list for months, and gets made into a movie. But Cheryl Strayed’s Wild did just that. Brooke Warner and I decided to take a deep look into what made Wild a bestseller, combing through for examples that could help the memoir writers we teach to learn about the skills she used, and draw from them for their own writing.

In Wild, Strayed uses what’s called a framed structure—she writes the story of her life, using her time on the Pacific Crest Trail as a frame to contain her story. In this four-session course you will learn about the writing skills she used to create an amazing story: structure; transitions; flashbacks vs. memory; and takeaway. You will not only learn to use these skills in your own writing, through our examples in the course and the teaching of these skills, you’ll even appreciate the book much more. You’ll see how you need to pay attention to the structure of your own story, and how to use flashbacks to enhance the “now” story line. You’ll learn what takeaway is and why you must have it so agents and editors will pay attention to your story, so they’ll see what makes your story universal and create a memoir that will sell. People who have taken the course tell us that it has helped them see what they need to do with their story to make it  as potentially successful memoir that will reach the hearts of their readers.


December Member Teleseminar

 December 11 , 2015


Weave History into Your Memoir and Create a Universal Connection

KimPearson_jpg for webWe want to welcome once again Kim Pearson, whose specialty is helping writers include research and history in their stories. Kim is also a ghostwriter and we are going to talk about that during our discussion as well.

Kim and I will talk about why and how our actions, thoughts, and feelings can have impact – on the whole world—especially now in the era of social media and world-wide connections. The discussion will explore the relationship between “big” history and an individual life. After all, our personal stories are part of history. Libraries have archived personal accounts of lived history for years and Mass-Observation in Britain gathered the personal history of as many citizens as it could to offer the personal stories of WWII Britain.

It’s important for us to remember that “history” is not a dry recital of dates and places: history IS stories, your stories and mine. No matter what you were doing, or how old you were, you participated and contributed to the events and trends of your time. In fact, part of my teaching as a memoir writer is to get memoir writers to include historical events on their personal timeline.

During this discussion you will:

  • Learn the four vital reasons why history is important to memoir
  • Learn Kim’s 5-step system that helps you use historical facts to give depth and context to your memoir
  • Hear true stories that will awaken your buried memories
  • Find out about how ghostwriting works—many memoirists have questions about how they can ghostwrite their family memoir, or have someone ghostwrite theirs. Bring your questions!

 Kim Pearson is an author, ghostwriter, and the owner of Primary Sources, a writing service that helps others become authors of polished, professional, and compelling books.

She’s the author of non-fiction Making History: how to remember, record, interpret and share the events of your life, Dog Park Diary (ghostwritten for a dog!). She has ghostwritten (for people) more than 45 non-fiction books and memoirs. Her online program “Learn to Ghost” teaches others the fine art of ghostwriting.



Myers makes a compelling case for the power of words as a form of healing and growth.

James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D. professor of psychology, The University of Texas at Austin and author, Opening Up and Writing To Heal

...the NAMW memoir classes with Linda Joy Myers are wonderful

Kathy Pooler