October 15, 2014
We’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, 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.
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.
October 16, Free Roundtable with Carol Bodensteiner and Mary Gottchalk
THE 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.
October 24 NAMW Member Webinar
Date: 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.
News from our Write Your Memoir Now Retreat
I 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.
As 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!
Breaking Silence Teleconference
One 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!
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.
- 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.