News

New Member Benefit—Become a Featured Member on the NAMW website!

Everyone is talking about platform these days—I’m sure you keep hearing about how important it is to create networks where people have heard of you and your work. Writers are encouraged to start a blog and be active with one or two social media networks where you connect with an audience.

Here at NAMW, we want to help give our members a boost toward building platform! Each month a member can be our “Featured Member” on the website and in our newsletter. You can talk about your book, your writing project, and give links to your website or blog.

To be considered as a featured member, you need to be an active NAMW member.

If you are a member, log in to the member area and select “Become a Featured Member” from the menu. Simply enter your information in the form. You can include a brief write-up about your memoir, your website links, and a great looking photo of you! Once we hear from you, we will put you on our list of members to be featured.

Writing a Spiritual/Healing Memoir Workshop with Linda Joy Myers

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Date: January 22, 2015 to March 26, 2015

Time: 3 PM PST/6 PM EST

We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies. ~Shirley Abbott

In this workshop, we silence the noise of everyday life and dig into memories, tune into writing our stories, and learn the skills needed to write a satisfying memoir—to get all the way to “The End.”

It’s important to write freely without worrying about your inner critic or being published just yet—though that may be your ultimate goal. In order to get your memoir done, you need to feed your creative spirit, and have accountability to help get your stories on the page in a first draft.

The workshop:

  1. Send that week’s story to your classmates through email.
  2. Workshop members read and write feedback through email—reflecting on what works; offering feedback about what could be different or clarified.
  3. At class time, we gather by phone to talk about the stories—discussing what comes up as you write, your inner critic, doubts and dreams about your stories, and questions about structure. Find out in person on the call what you want to know from the group that will help you continue and develop your work.
  1. I guide the group, offer writing tips, and teach techniques that help you keep writing and learn how to grow as a writer.

This class is currently full. Fill out the form if you want to be notified of the next workshop.

 

So, What? The Reflective Voice in Memoir & Why It Matters | Public Roundtable

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mb desk croppedDecember 4, 2014

4 PM PST   5 PM MST   6 PM CST   7 PM EST

Guest: Marilyn Bousquin

Listen to call recording.

Writing a memoir of substance requires more than a one-dimensional recounting of events. As Vivian Gornick puts it, “What happened to the writer is not what matters; what matters is the large sense that the writer is able to make of what happened.” No matter how interesting a story, without a deeper, underlying meaning our readers are left asking, “So, what?” The memoirist’s job is to cull meaning from experience. This is where the reflective voice comes in. The reflective narrator not only speaks the truth but also interprets experience and arrives at insight; indeed, the author’s insight becomes an integral part of the story and imbues it with universal appeal.

In this roundtable discussion we will:

  • Identify the reflective voice and how it distinguishes memoir as a genre
  • Explore the differences between the reflective voice and the narrative voice in memoir and the necessity of both
  • Understand the relationship between the reflective voice and the emotional arc of a memoir and how the reflective voice drives a memoir story
  • Realize the power of reflection to lead to discovery both on the page and off the page and how reflection can help you gain the emotional distance necessary to shape your material
  • Learn reading and writing practices that will help you to cultivate the reflective voice in your own writing

Call Recording

Bio

Marilyn Bousquin, founder of Writing Women’s Lives™ (www.writingwomenslives.com), specializes in teaching both the craft of writing memoir and the consciousness work that leads to recovering one’s voice and claiming one’s truth both on the page and off the page. A certified Amherst Writers and Artists group writing coach, Marilyn holds an MFA in creative nonfiction. Her work appears in River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative, in Kate Hopper’s Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers, and is forthcoming in Under the Gum Tree. You can read her book reviews in Literary Mama and River Teeth. Her essay “Against Memory” was named a finalist for AROHO’s Orlando Prize for Creative Nonfiction 2013. In addition to teaching classes and mentoring women writers at Writing Women’s Lives™, Marilyn teaches writing at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia. She is currently at work on a memoir titled Searching for Salt.

Do You Need Accountability and Support to Write Your Memoir?

Many memoir writers find that they are better able to make progress with their book when they have accountability and a deadline, who can share their work  with someone who will read their work carefully and who understands the demands of writing a memoir.  Memoir writers find it’s helpful to work with someone who not only focuses on the structure and theme of the book but can offer insight into the psychology of writing a memoir. Writing a memoir means that we need to dig deep into our feelings, psyche and past as we lived it, where we can encounter challenges in either writing about those times, or feelings where we get stuck in exploring who we were then, and what we did. Sometimes writing a memoir is an act of testimony about our lives, and sometimes it can put us on the path of forgiveness and a deeper resolution. In a month where we celebrate gratitude, we can turn our attention toward the healing, positive, and growth potential of writing our memoir—telling the stories that we have always held close to our hearts. In the New York Times article about memoir writing last month you can find out more about how writing a memoir offers self-growth and awareness, which is immensely valuable.

Benefits of coaching

  • Learn how to develop your story-writing skills.
  • Find out what makes a good story great.
  • Discover the three stages of memoir writing: Kickstarting Your Memoir, The Muddy Middle, and Birthing Your Book Into the World (learn more about that here!)
  • Create deadlines so you are motivated to get your work done.
  • Get help with the editing and publishing process.
  • Gather resources about writing and publishing your book.

 

If you are interested in exploring the idea of coaching, we can set up a free strategy planning session to talk about the theme of your book, your goals, and where you want help. To contact me about coaching, please write memoirguru@namw.org

Special for the month of November—

National Lifewriting Month

6 sessions $529 (Save $66) – Add to Cart

3 sessions $279 (Save $10) – Add to Cart

1 session $120 (Save $5) – Add to Cart


To get your discount use
PROMO CODE: lifewriting

The Changing Landscape of Memoir

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Remains of 14th century castle in England

Many of you know that the National Association of Memoir Writers and Write your Memoir in Six Months appeared in the New York Times last week in an article about the value of memoir writing. In the Retirement section on Saturdays in the Times, the columnist offers articles of interest to retirees. This week her focus was about the importance of memoir writing for elders and their families as a way to share family stories, and a way to get people to contemplate the meaning of their lives and their legacy. Brooke Warner and I were so pleased that our student in the Write Your Memoir in Six Months workshop, Bob Finertie, was featured in the article, and Bob himself was found in a daze of pleasure and shock that he was featured and photographed.

Mr. Finertie, of Walnut Creek, Calif., said it “has been a healing journey that has helped me reach so many things in my past. My wife says I have never been happier.”

To come up with a draft, which is now 100 pages, Mr. Finertie enrolled in online courses with the writing coach Brooke Warner. She, along with Linda Joy Myers, a Berkeley, Calif., psychologist, teaches “Write Your Memoirs in Six Months.”

Mr. Finertie said the classes helped him focus on the purpose of his memoir and connected him to other aspiring memoirists for inspiration and feedback. (From the article)

Naturally, we were jazzed to be “discovered” in the Google search, but it wasn’t too long ago that memoir writers suffered at the slings and arrows that appeared in a New York Times article by Neal Genzlinger who degraded the importance of memoir, and suggested that we should shut up since we’re focused on “Me,” on only ourselves and our lives, and not contributing to any meaningful literature.

During that same era, various agents and publishers predicted that memoir writing was “dead,” and that people simply needed to forget about it as a valid genre. Though some agents and publishers still hold this view, it’s a less powerful position now since the publishing world has changed so much. Writers have more power to share their stories with the world without encountering as many gatekeepers and barriers to publication. It’s important that publishing be taken seriously however, with writers doing their best to find out the appropriate professional presentation for their book. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to hire a tough editor and professional book designers so you can be proud of your book when it comes out, so it matches in professionalism the best of the books presented in the marketplace.

We are celebrating here at the National Association of Memoir Writers that memoir writers have been elevated as valid and acceptable in those pages three years after the Genzlinger article. Too often memoirists have been relegated to the bottom of the heap because we use “I” too often, or because we are digging around in the rich earth of our psyches uncovering the treasures of new insights and memories that offer a new lens through which to look at our lives. Most of you know that I have been a therapist for many years, and to me, the rewards for such digging are invaluable. Through writing our stories, we learn about ourselves in ways we never would have without writing and exploring the past this way. By applying the skills of craft to our memories and insights by creating believable characters, scenes, and a universal understanding or takeaway of the themes of our lives, we transform not only ourselves but potentially our readers—whether they are our family and friends, or new friends in the reading public.

Next Free Roundtable

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Testimonials

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