Newsletters

We’re in the New York Times! | October Newsletter

October 15, 2014

11retiring-pic2-articleLargeWe’re in the New York Times!

Did you see the article mentioning the National Association of Memoir Writers in the New York Times this week? The article about memoir writing appears in the October 11 edition in the retirement section—but as many of you know, memoir writing is for everyone, not only retirees. The columnist, Elizabeth Olsen, contacted me a few weeks ago, curious to learn more about memoir writing and asked how many people are interested in it, and how writing a memoir helps them in their lives. She found us through Google, which is great news.

 

Though one of the themes of her article was about retirees writing their life stories, the article goes beyond that as it discusses the importance for people to capture their story—for their own satisfaction as well as a gift and resource for their family. My colleague Brooke Warner was also interviewed and offered some terrific tips!

 

Here they are—thank you, Brooke, for sharing these with us.Brooke-2014

Brooke, founder and president of Warner Coaching, offers five tips for writing a memoir.

FIND A WRITING PARTNER and notify him or her by email when you start the day’s writing and when you sign off for the day — no matter whether you get an answer.

JOT DOWN ALL YOUR EXCUSES for not writing or not writing as much as you want to.

PAY YOURSELF FOR SHOWING UP to your writing sessions, even small amounts that you can later set aside to treat yourself or use to pay your writing business, if you have one; write the payment off as a business expense.

KEEP A DAILY JOURNAL on your progress. Record the date and time that you begin, how long you will work and what you will focus on. When you are finished for the day, evaluate your progress by noting how you felt about what you accomplished and, more objectively, how many words you wrote. Then, write down your goals for tomorrow.

TURN OFF your Internet, email and phone.

It’s not every day that your name gets in the New York Times, so I’m grateful that people can learn more about NAMW and the power and possibilities for memoir writing.

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October Events at the National Association of Memoir Writers

This month we have two presentations to help you in your writing life. As always, we have a free Roundtable every month, and this week we are going to explore the issue that memoir writers often struggle with: whether to present your life story in a non-fiction memoir, or to expand it as fiction. Sign up for this Roundtable discussion to receive the free audio download afterward as a resource for you to keep.

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October 16, Free Roundtable with Carol Bodensteiner and Mary Gottchalk

october-roundtableTHE BIG DECISION: MEMOIR OR FICTION? 

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

At this free Roundtable Teleseminar, we’re going to address a subject that memoir writers struggle with: whether to write their story as a memoir—everything is true!—or as autobiographical fiction—I made it up!

Many memoir writers struggle with this decision, so we’re pleased to present Mary Gottschalk and Carol Bodensteiner, who have gone from a corporate life to writing and publishing memoirs and fiction. They will discuss their often-parallel paths from business writing to creative writing, including their perspective on the differences between memoir and fiction.

 

Topics will include:

• Memoir vs. Fiction — choosing your genre
• Memoir as a “training tool”
• Getting past the facts
• Factual accuracy vs. spiritual / emotional truth
• The value of a writing group/partner
• Building the writer’s toolkit

Sign up here.

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October 24 NAMW Member Webinar

Betsy's PR Shot,_edited-1Date: October 24, 2014
Time: 11 am PDT 12 pm MDT 1 pm CDT 2 pm EDT
Expert: Betsy Graziani Fasbinder
Topic: Public Speaking for Writers and Other Introverts: Simple Mindshifts to Raise Your Confidence and Gather Devoted Fans

We’re so pleased to offer this special webinar to help you break out of your shyness and learn to present your new memoir to the world in a professional and confident manner.

The member webinar this month: Public Speaking for Writers and Other Introverts: Simple Mindshifts to Raise Your Confidence and Gather Devoted Fans with Betsy Graziani Fasbinder, an experienced author coach, writer, and prize winning author.

All members will receive the instructions for finding the webinar link and how to join the program. It’s a presentation only format—you will not be on the camera—and neither will we!

 

In this webinar, you will:

• Gather five mental shifts to instantly boost your confidence about public speaking
• Acquire simple tips that can help you connect with listeners
• Gain skills that can help you to be at your natural best in formal presentations, book launches, media interviews, and casual encounters.

To join this webinar learn more about becoming a member here.

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News from our Write Your Memoir Now Retreat

IMG_1765I just got back from a few days in New York City after leading our Write Your Memoir Now retreat with my colleagues Judy Mandel and Jerry Waxler. The landscape by the ocean was amazing, with clear skies and calm seas, except for Saturday when a big rainstorm made us glad we were inside writing!

On Friday night, we greeted the twenty-three people who had signed up for the retreat, learned the themes of their memoir and what they wanted to learn that weekend. We’d spent the afternoon informally getting acquainted over snacks and drinks, so by evening, many had made new writing friends. In a memoir workshop, people get to know each other deeply and intimately because of the nature of what is revealed in their stories. We dig into our lives, our memories, and the stories of our families, revealing many things we would not otherwise share. As always, there were tears, laughter, and sighs of recognition as people wrote and read their stories.

 

retreat-vAs the weekend continued on Saturday and Sunday, the depth and the challenges of each person’s story was revealed. Judy, Jerry, and I alternated the craft of memoir writing with the always present issues of truth, family, and the inner critic, and addressed the challenges that memoir writing presents.

By Sunday afternoon, everyone was tired, and we knew that many layers of stories, hearts, and hopes had been revealed. As people said goodbye, it was clear that several of the group members had become best friends. In my years of teaching of memoir, I’ve seen retreats like this to be a hugely transformative process, one that gives back insights and wisdom. As the weekend ended, many of the writers talked about such a transformation.  NAMW is looking at how, where, and when to offer another retreat next year. Stay in touch!

 

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Breaking Silence Teleconference

 

bysOne thing that was clear in our teaching at the retreat is that all memoir writers struggle with exposing and expressing their truth. They have been silenced for years, and are trying to heal the past as they write their stories. Learning this from yet another memoir group made me glad that we are offering our special Breaking Silence Teleconference in November. If you sign up now, you get the early bird rate and two special bonus gifts.

Hope to see you at the conference!

It’s time to find your voice and break your silence — and write the memoir you want to write! During this day long teleconference, we will be addressing the “secret” issue of shame for writers. We call the voice that creates writer’s block the ”Inner Critic,” but at the core of the Inner Critic is shame and doubt. Please join these amazing women who are willing to share their stories of shame, doubt, and how they have broken through and helped others find their voice. I’m so pleased to have with me at this conference Sue William Silverman, Amy Ferris, Amy Friedman and Brooke Warner.

The talented and courageous presenters of this conference have worked with layers of shame and writing truth in their writing, teaching, and publishing, and have helped many writers find their voices and get their unique and important stories of love, suffering, courage, and trauma out into the world.
Topics and speakers:
  • Confessional and (Finally) Proud of It by Sue William Silverman
  • Awakening to your greatness by Amy Ferris
  • Breaking Open: The Heart of Writing Memoir—Courage and Permission to Write Your Truth by Linda Joy Myers
  • Writing Your Memoir: After the Sorrow and Anger by Amy Friedman
  • Writing Shame and Trauma for Publication—How to Write in the Space between What Happened and What People Can Handle by Brooke Warner

Read more about the conference here.

What is Ahead of Us | September Newsletter

waters_edge_2It’s autumn, and it feels as if school has started for memoir writers, along with all the school children! My workshops have started with seven eager students in the Writing a Healing/Spiritual Memoir workshop. We had a lovely reunion after some took the summer off and we moved right into the joys and challenges of writing the truth, of grabbing memories by the throat and taking a risk to drop them on the page to turn into stories. It’s an act of faith, this writing, and a group makes it a bit easier. We support each other and talk through the tough stuff. Oh, and we laugh a lot too.

Next week I’m flying to New York, and then taking the train to Connecticut, which should be showing off its colors. The first annual National Association of Memoir Writers retreat is meeting at the Water’s Edge Resort on Long Island Sound—my first time in Connecticut and in this lovely setting.

We are so pleased to have a great group of people coming to write and learn and talk about stories all weekend. Jerry Waxler, Judy Mandel and I have been planning the retreat since March, and now it’s finally here! We asked for stories from the participants about what they are writing and what they want to take away with them at the retreat, and now we’re even more inspired! They are bringing up the Big Questions about memoir writing, and we’ll do our best to help answer them.

Some Big Questions have to do with structure—a common problem that memoir writers need to solve—after all, once you have lived the stories, it’s hard to stand back and be objective about what goes where, what to leave in and what to take out. We will spend a lot of time talking about the craft of memoir writing—what makes a great scene, the arc of the narrative, how to create characters that live and breathe on the page—even if they are/were your family.  Memoir writers always need to discuss the complexities of writing the truth, and their worries about what the family will say when the find out about the memoir. We will talk about breaking the silences that stop us from writing and confronting the inner critic. We will talk about writing, and more writing and not giving up.

Another Big Question has to do with how to be published. With so many choices now, and fewer large publishers to choose from, it’s a challenge for even very experienced writers to figure out what path to take. We will discuss all the ways to be published, from self-publishing to traditional, and all the new hybrid ways in between. There will be lectures and writing groups and private mentor consultations all weekend.

Afterward, I’m going to New York to celebrate that great city, the art, the zip and jazz, Greenwich Village, Central Park, and see the Carol King musical “Beautiful” with Judy! I am also taking my laptop so I can work on the two books I’m writing, another memoir and a how-to book, title to be shared some time in the new year.

We are planning to offer the retreat again next year, so if you aren’t able to come now, we’ll miss you, but stay tuned for future announcements and early bird sign-ups.

Keep writing! We’ll send photos and news about the retreat in the October newsletter.

In the meantime, join us for our September member webinar—this time we are using the webinar format  for our presentation so you can see what makes a great—and a not so great—book cover. We want to urge you to take seriously that people—and bookstores and reviewers—DO judge a book by its cover and how to avoid the pitfall of a bad cover that won’t show off your book the way it needs to be. It’s a journey when you write a book to learn the professional standards of the industry so you can shine!


 

September Member- Only Webinar

We DO Judge a Book by Its Cover – Secrets You Don’t Know About Cover Design with Michele De Filippo and Sonia Marsh
FridaySeptember 26, 2014 11 AM PDT/2 PM EDT

This is a WEBINAR, not our usual member teleseminar. On this webinar, we are excited to present photos of good and not so good book designs, to teach you what works and what doesn’t in the publishing world. Please join us!
Log-in if you are a member to get the call information.
If you want to attend, but are not a member click here to learn more about the benefits of becoming a member.

Early Bird Pricing for Breaking Silence, and Low Low price for NAMW Members

bys-bonusesBreaking Your Silence Teleconference

November 14, 2014

Join us for 6 hours of amazing presentations by women who have walked the walk. The conference will be recorded if you are unable to attend. Sign up today.

If you register now, you will receive early bird pricing PLUS two bonus eBooks! This conference will address the issues that memoirists deal with constantly- how to find your voice and break the silences that plague our deep writing!

 

It’s time to find your voice and break your silence — and write the memoir you want to write! During this day long teleconference, we will be addressing the “secret” issue of shame for writers. We call the voice that creates writer’s block the ”Inner Critic,” but at the core of the Inner Critic is shame and doubt. Please join these amazing women who are willing to share their stories of shame, doubt, and how they have broken through and helped others find their voice. I’m so pleased to have with me at this conference Sue William Silverman, Amy Ferris, Amy Friedman and Brooke Warner.

Learn more here!


Roundtable for October

Date: October 16, 2014
Time: 4 PM PDT / 7 PM EDT
Experts: Mary Gottschalk and Carol Bodensteiner
Topic: The Big Decision: Memoir or Fiction?
At this free Roundtable Teleseminar, we’re going to address a subject that memoir writers struggle with: whether to write their story as a memoir—everything is true!—or as autobiographical fiction—I made it up!

The Joy of Journaling | August Newsletter

The Joy of Journaling

Linda Joy Myers
journalsThink about the delicious feeling of holding a brand new journal and a new pen to go with it as you sit down to write. As you hold it, you imagine what you are going to write, you feel the invitation of the paper and the pen. Some people are journaling online now too, which has a certain appeal to, a safe place complete with locked password. But for many of us, there is something seductive and wonderful about cracking up that new journal. Whatever your method, in your journal you’re inviting the words lead you to new places within yourself as you explore your thoughts, feelings, and your life story.  What you see in the photo is my journals from 40 years ago!

Most of the writers I work with come to memoir writing from having journaled for many years. I remember how some women in my workshops talk about the boxes of journals they’ve hidden in their closets. One woman says, “What will I do if my children find them. Should I shred them now?”
Another one answers, “I want to save my journals so I can draw upon them as I write my memoir.”
Yes, therein lies the dilemma that both journalers and memoir writers have in common: “How do I feel about other people reading my private thoughts and feelings?”

But there is an important difference—we write our journal in an atmosphere of privacy, not for other people to read. In a journal, we write freely, exploring our psyches, digging deep to try to understand ourselves more, seeking peace, transformation, resolution. Sometimes we need to rant, we need to make lists of what we love or hate, we need to write letters that we don’t send, we need to express anger, fear, joy, sorrow, ecstasy, hope. We write to find out what we think, inviting the flow of words to emerge from us in whatever way they wish.

To write a memoir, we need to invite that same kind of free writing at times, to get the juices flowing, but a memoir is written ultimately to be shared with readers. We need to shape our stories, thoughts, and narration so readers can see, hear and feel the world we create on the page. We draw upon fictional tools of description, scenes, character development and sensual details to bring the reader close to our experiences. As memoir writers, we need to learn these tools for creating that world and keep the reader in it. John Gardner calls it “the fictive dream” in his book The Art of Fiction—and the same idea applies to memoir, which reads like a novel—only everything is true!

I advise all my students of memoir writing to dig back into journal writing to keep the flow going, to explore their memories without being self-conscious of the structure and style. In the early stages, your memoir is being assembled, dreamed, quilted together and you need to allow that process to unfold.

This week at the National Association of Memoir Writers member teleseminar, we’re so pleased to speak with a journaling expert Dr. Jackie Swensen. She is going to talk about self-discovery through memoir writing, and bring her considerable skills as a therapist and avid journaler to all of us. Welcome Jackie!

August Member Teleseminar

“What Does Self-discovery Have to do With Memoir Writing?” Member Teleseminar with Jackie Swensen

Friday – August 22, 2014 11 AM PDT/2 PM EDT

 

Many memoir writers come to their stories from having journaled much of their lives, so we are pleased to offer an expert on journaling and healing to present this August member teleseminar, Jackie Swensen.


Memoir writing requires a host of narrative skills to transform a person’s memories into something that appeals to a wide audience. For example, a sharp eye for detail, a sensitivity to nuances and subtleties of expression, and the kind of empathy that can make even flawed characters sympathetic. Memoir writers also need tenacity to keep digging for truth, especially when faced with a tangled web of conflicting stories. To accomplish that feat requires a high level of self-knowledge.


Society doesn’t really encourage self-reflection and most Americans think of themselves as doers, people of action. So action often trumps reflection. But memoir writers must reflect on a subject purposefully to understand the mysteries of human behavior. In over 20 years as a psychoanalyst, I’ve found journaling to be an effective tool for reflection and self-discovery, and for gaining insights into others. Journaling has proven to be a valuable resource for many of my clients, and so I created Journal to Health™ in order to introduce it to a wider audience. Continue reading…

 

To learn more about member benefits at the National Association of Memoir Writers or to become a member so you can join the discussion, please click here.


Contest Announcement 

Serendipity Literary Agency and She Writes Press have just teamed up to host their first Memoir Discovery Competition. The Grand Prize Winner will receive a publishing deal with She Writes Press, which will include the full services of the She Writes Press Publishing Package (a $3900 value); the Top Five Entrants (including the Grand Prize winner) will receive a 15-minute, one-on-one consultation session with Regina Brooks, one of New York’s premier literary agents.

 

Click here to learn more.


There are a Few Spaces left at our Retreat!

Spotlight


There is still time, Sign up now for your bonuses and to reserve your place in the first annual National Association of Memoir Writers Retreat—Write Your Memoir Now!

In an intimate setting on the coast of Connecticut during the fall season, join Linda Joy Myers, Judy Mandel, and Jerry Waxler for this special in-depth weekend on memoir writing.
Learn how to begin, create a structure, wrestle with truth and family, and find your themes, among other topics that will be covered that weekend.

Learn more here!

 

What Memoirists Worry About | July Newsletter

As memoirists, we know that writing a memoir can be fraught with all kinds of doubts and silencing, from “I’m not that great a writer” to “what will the family say?” We worry about how much to put in, whether to frame scenes with dialogue or not, or if we should name the people we grew up with.  We worry about these things whether they are legal issues or not. We worry about them even if we are starting a first draft that no one else will see but our writer buddies or coach. Let’s face it—we worry!

 

For the most part, the memoir writers I know are not writing for revenge. Most of them are women who were silenced in various ways as they grew up—from family who wanted to present a certain face to the world to a society who often offered favoritism to more outspoken boys or men. Men and women both can feel silenced in societies where keeping to the standard roles of macho male and submissive women are the norm—there will always be aspects of personality and feelings that are unacceptable.

 

We internalize these “rules” and don’t want to break them—because we fear losing something in the bargain. Some of us will lose the approval of others, while there are those whose families are so rigid or judgmental they rightfully fear being shunned or disinherited. Honestly, some families really do react this way when they don’t approve of what is written or said that conflicts with the image the family prefers to present to the world.

 

Memoirists risk exposure when they write anything that goes beyond the agreed upon boundaries set by family, community, or church. As small children, we can feel where we “shouldn’t” speak, and few can bear breaking that rule. When we grow up, we manage these rules, but for the most part can slide by with our opinions kept to ourselves if we prefer—until we start writing a memoir! This genre is based on the writer presented the truth as accurately as possible—and I don’t just mean the facts—which are only one aspect of truth. I mean that the memoirist writes about being a young in a family that lived in a certain town, writes about what happened behind closed doors, writes about the good and the bad—with the faces of real people in their lives explored on the page—for others to read—someday.

 

This week at the National Association of Memoir Writers member teleseminar, we are going to talk with Linda Watanabe McFerrin about the skills of writing a memoir so that you can go home for the holidays, and at the same time tell a true story. Please join us for this rich discussion between two memoirists—and two Lindas!


July Member Teleseminar

Writing Bestselling Memoirs Without Throwing Everyone Under the Bus

Member Teleseminar with Linda Watanabe McFerrin

Friday – July 25, 2014 11 AM PDT/2 PM EDT

 

To learn more about member benefits at the National Association of Memoir Writers or to become a member so you can join the discussion, please click here.


Early Bird Pricing Ends Soon…

Spotlight


Our early bird pricing ends August 1. Sign up now for your bonuses and to reserve your place in the first annual National Association of Memoir Writers Retreat—Write Your Memoir Now!

In an intimate setting on the coast of Connecticut during the fall season, join Linda Joy Myers, Judy Mandel, and Jerry Waxler for this special in-depth weekend on memoir writing.
Learn how to begin, create a structure, wrestle with truth and family, and find your themes, among other topics that will be covered that weekend.

Learn more here!

 

Spring into your Memoir Writing – New courses, workshops, and teleseminars

National Association of Memoir Writers Be Brave. Write Your Story
 
 daffodils
 
 
If you’re in the East coast, you may still be getting snow, but we out here in sunny California are experiencing spring with flowers, sweet scents, and warm temperatures. Just think if you and your children are writing memoirs, this winter will no doubt provide some stories to tell. Every moment that you experience can become part of a flash memoir or a short story. Or you might string together many moments that have meaning, offer a legacy, or present a new insight about your experience that will make a great memoir. We have a lot of courses here at NAMW this spring to help inspire you and offer you new skills. 

We’re happy here at the National Association of Memoir Writers to be offering some workshops that can help you begin and develop your memoir. The focus for two of the workshops is writing as a path of healing, a free workshop offered by Mark Matousek, and my workshop Writing a Healing/Spiritual Memoir–a 9 week course. Coming in April: another course by our popular Jerry Waxler that will help you find the structure of your story, and of course our free Roundtable discussion Self-Publish Your Book on a Shoestring with Sharon Lippincott and Boyd Lemon, experienced self-publishers. Brooke Warner and I will teach another best seller: The Glass Castle in April–a 4 week workshop.

Our popular and free Memoir Telesummit is coming up May 9th. Learn from experts about writing, plotting, and marketing memoirs, in long form and flash structures.  On March 21st–the first day of spring, join us for our March Member Teleseminar with Dawn Herring about journaling for inspiration–see below.

Have a great month, and keep on writing, learning, and being inspired!

 
 

March Member Teleseminar

Do you need a fresh approach toward discovering who you are and appreciating what you bring to this world? Are you looking for a fresh perspective in all of your life dimensions and want to express your creativity, thus increasing the quality of your life? Are you looking for a way to set appropriate boundaries in order to thrive and live life authentically?  Read more here.  
 
Topic: Journaling for the Empowering Discovery of Who You Are
Expert: Dawn Herring
Date: March 21, 2014
Time: 11 AM PDT    12 PM  MDT     1 PM  CDT    2 PM   EDT
 
 
 

Upcoming Workshops

Story Structure for Memoir Writers | A 4-week Memoir Intensive
Workshop Leader: Jerry Waxler
Date:  April 1 – 22, 2014, 4 weeks (Tuesdays)
Time: 4 PST, 5 MST, 6 CST, 7 EST
 
To write a memoir, you need to translate unstructured memories into the structure called “Story.” In this four session teleclass, Jerry Waxler will break the form of a Story into simple elements. Then we’ll walk together step by step through the process of translating your life experience into a form that readers won’t want to put down.

What you will learn

  • Importance of a protagonist and how you will become one in your memoir
  • The importance of the inner as well as the outer story
  • How to set up the beginning of a story so the reader wants to know the end
  • How to energize the middle so it drives the reader to the next page
  • How to create a satisfying ending
  • How to turn life lessons into a crucial element of a good story

Learn more here. 

 
 
Write a Healing Memoir/Spiritual Autobiography Workshop
 
Workshop Leader: Linda Joy Myers

Date: 9 Sessions (Thursdays)  Starting April 3, 2014

Time: 3 PM PST/6 PM EST

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.” This is a process writing workshop, where digging into your memories, finding the threads of what you remember and writing into what you need to say or explore is what it’s all about. We welcome your first draft, first thoughts in this workshop.To get a memoir done, we must do this early writing first. We enter into the doorway of memory with our writing, and let it flow out. 

The group is a witness and a support to your writing and the stories you have to tell. This is not a critique group, it’s a supportive group of fellow seekers and writers who ask useful questions to help you get to the core of your stories and share their own process and raw drafts.
 
Read more here.   
 

Discover the Healing Power of Writing 

Sometimes life can be really challenging.  “Bad” things, big and small, can and do happen.   But, it’s equally true that it’s what you make of life’s challenges that matters. The question then becomes not why but how – how do you get freedom from a loss, a trauma, wound, or just the existential challenges of life, to be able to arrive and move forward from it blessed by the experience?
 
One powerful answer: writing.  In fact, there is remarkable new science that shows that intimate journaling, if done in the right way, can help us metabolize the past (or the present) in a way that frees our attention to focus on our service.
 
If you are in struggle with an experience and are seeking to create freedom and joy in your life, I have a very special invitation for you:
 
Mark Matousek is an award-winning author and a vulnerable, heartfelt, penetratingly wise soul who knows how to help you feel through the deeper levels of wounding you might have experienced, to begin to unveil the more luminous core – the healing gift it can bring for your own life.  Mark is going to be sharing his process on a free virtual teleseminar, Thursday, March 20th at 5:30pm Pacific called: How to Use Writing to Heal: Embracing the Blessing in the Wound 

Learn more and reserve your FREE access pass by clicking here (a recording will be provided to all registered participants)
 
During this virtual workshop with Mark, you’ll learn how to:
 
  • Use writing to sense and feel different edges and dimensions of your wounds and how they live in your body
  • Develop your witnessing capacity so you can work with the feelings more objectively
  • Create a safe space in your writing to express “unallowable” thoughts and emotions – without dwelling in them
We all have wounds calling us to heal them.  This call will be a joyful step on your healing journey. 
 
Save your seat now by clicking here.


 

 
 

 

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