Author Archives: Linda Joy Myers

Free Roundtable Discussion on Memoir Writing with Jane Friedman

Editing our work is one of the most challenging aspects of our writing life. All the books say to send out our best writing as we seek agents and publishers, but sometimes it’s difficult to take an objective look at our work.

Jane Friedman, contributing editor at Writer’s Digest, knows all about the editing challenges we writers have, and she’s going to help us at our memoir writing roundtable this month.

Please join us–this event is free to all! So please spread the word about Jane’s visit to NAMW. Register now for this free event and mark your calendar– Thursday September 2 at 4 PM PDT, 5 MDT, 6 CDT, and 7 EDT.

Remember, at these memoir writing roundtable discussions you can ask questions. So dial in for an opportunity to talk with Jane, an expert editor and writing guru!

Jane Friedman at the Free NAMW Roundtable Discussion

I’m so excited to be able to have a conversation with Jane Friedman this Thursday September 2 at the free NAMW roundtable! She’s a contributing editor at Writer’s Digest, and an energetic, knowledgeable, and inspiring speaker. I told you about meeting her at a conference recently, and how she energized the room as she talked about creativity and publishing. Jane knows so much about how we need to shape and educate ourselves so we can succeed in the professional writing world.
The topic for this week is Evaluating your First Page for Red Flags. Jane will talk about how to take a long hard look at your writing, especially on the vital first page that agents and editors view.
Please join us! Your writing life will benefit from Jane’s experience and wisdom.

Jane Friedman at the Public NAMW Memoir Writing Roundtable Tele-conversation

I’m so excited to be able to have a conversation with Jane Friedman this Thursday September 2 at the free NAMW Memoir Writing Roundtable!   You simply need to register by clicking here to participate or receive a link via email to download the audio recording.  Jane is a contributing editor at Writer’s Digest, and an energetic, knowledgeable, and inspiring speaker. I told you about meeting her at a conference recently, and how she energized the room as she talked about creativity and publishing. Jane knows so much about how we need to shape and educate ourselves so we can succeed in the professional writing world.
The topic for this week is Evaluating your First Page for Red Flags. Jane will talk about how to take a long hard look at your writing, especially on the vital first page that agents and editors view.
Please join us! Your writing life will benefit from Jane’s experience and wisdom.

Public Memoir Writing Roundtable with Jane Friedman & Linda Joy Myers **September 2, 2010**

Jane Friedman-The Most Progressive Media Professional You'll MeetEvaluating Your First Page for Red Flags

Date:     Thursday September 2, 2010

Time: 4 PM PDT |5 PM MDT | 6 PM CDT |  7 PM EDT

Cost: FREE FOR EVERYONE (NAMW Members–The dial in details can be found below–if you can’t see them, simply login to the member area to view this post.  If you are not an NAMW member, simply sign up for this free call by using the form near the bottom of this page).

[private_NAMW]Telephone Conference call-in number: (323) 417-0075
Telephone Conference call-in code: 123631#[/private_NAMW]

Not Available for the Live Call? Post your questions in the comments section of this page OR email them to info@NAMW.org.

NAMW members will be able to access a link to download the audio mp3 of this call following the event.

Not a member? Sign up below and you will receive an email with a link to download the call, shortly following the event.

[private_NAMW][/private_NAMW]

Our first FREE Memoir Roundtable Teleconversation will be held this THURSDAY, on September 2nd at 4:00 PM PDT|7:00 PM EDT via telephone. Everyone is invited to attend these new FREE monthly Teleconversations. This month, NAMW President, Linda Joy Myers will be joined on the line with Jane Friedman, Contributing Editor at Writer’s Digest. Linda and Jane will discuss and accept your questions regarding the theme of Evaluating Your First Page for Red Flags. The format for this call differs from our Monthly Member-only Teleseminars in that it is an informal discussion Roundtable that you can be part of to exchange ideas with not only the expert but other NAMW members. Besides offering you a direct connection with experts–a benefit that will help you to develop your ideas and hone your skills as you write, edit, revise, and publish your memoir–you will have the opportunity to develop relationships within the NAMW memoir writing community.

Please join us for these special events that are open to the public. No RSVP is necessary for NAMW members.  Simply use the dial-in information above.  If you are not an NAMW member, simply sign up below!  We look forward to meeting you there!

If you are not an NAMW member, sign up below to receive the call-in details via email AND receive a link to an audio recording of the call shortly following the call!


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The Power of Memoir to Heal

By now, many people have heard about the power of memoir writing to help the healing process in mind and body. As I mentioned in a previous post, because of my book The Power of Memoir, I receive many questions about memoir writing and healing, and I’m answering them here through a series of posts.

Writing to heal yourself is a very powerful process. If a writer has a deeply personal and painful story, how should he begin to get it onto the page?

Start by considering the special moments in your life, the turning points that changed the direction of your life in a significant way. Make a list of these moments, at least ten to twenty, and write down the significant event and when it occurred. Memoirists can feel overwhelmed by the large number of memories they have, so the turning point and timeline tools that I talk about in the book help to organize memories. We need to sift through to find the most important stories as a spine around which to build a longer work.

I also suggest that writers keep track of the “dark” and the “light” stories so they are not so overwhelmed by the more painful memories, and make sure they follow a “darker” story with a happy one that allows them to sink into the fullness of a delicious pleasant memory.

Learning about story structure and scenes is another way to contain and put in perspective the events of our lives. A story, unlike a journal entry, has a structure—a beginning, middle, and an end, and is constructed with a goal in mind and a plot with dramatic action.

When we write a scene, we find ourselves in the places and times of our lives in a kind of creative hypnosis. A story uses scenes to bring the past to life. A scene takes place at a particular moment in time, and draws upon the use of sensual details—smell, sound, texture, description, color, and taste, along with characters, dialogue, and action. In a story, we are both the narrator and the “I” of the story—the main character. This dual point of view helps to create a witnessing experience of ourselves as we write from our current point of view about who we once were, an artful weaving of then and now, past and present.

Alice Miller, a Swiss psychiatrist, said that being witnessed is a significant part of the healing process, and points out that while we need others to witness us and our stories, we can witness ourselves by becoming self-aware.
Writing allows us to witness the stages of our lives, and when we read others’ memoirs, we witness and empathize with them, thus deepening our connection with humanity and giving us new ways to think about our own lives.

If you have memories you don’t want to detail in your memoir, create distance. Write about what happened in the third person: “she” or “he” instead of “I.” Write as if you are watching the event unfold in a movie. Write a scene about a difficult incident, but make it turn out the way you wanted it to, ending it positively. Tell what happened before and after a difficult incident. Write around it, but not about the event itself. These techniques are protective–when you are ready to go deeper, you can do it later.

To tune into this powerful work, keep adding to your list of turning points. And remember this: the researchers that explored writing to heal found that writing happy stories was nearly as healing as writing about painful moments.
Remember that when you write your memoir, you are weaving a new tapestry of your life one story at a time.

Testimonials

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