Upcoming Workshops and Classes

Five ways that Writing a Memoir Helps you Find Your Authentic Self and Voice

Jerry Waxler

June Member webinar

June 23, 2017

11 AM PDT  12 PM MDT   1 PM CDT  2 PM EDT

When you first think about writing the story of your life, you may remember major challenges or disruptions. Over time, you begin looking at yourself as the hero/heroine on a quest to find something. What is the thing you’re looking for? What is the purpose of your life journey?

In this presentation, Jerry Waxler, memoir author and teacher, will show how the Memoir Revolution, currently in swing for people of all ages, is about finding the True You, hidden within all the complexities of your unique experiences.

We’ll explore five ways that memoir writing is about finding your authentic self.

  1. Becoming you in the first place (the coming of age memoir)
  2. Reestablishing a sense of self-worth and empowerment after illness or loss of a loved one (grieving, recovery from trauma)
  3. Course correction: Adjusting or readjusting personhood in midlife
  4. Finding true cultural connection (finding one’s way through identity challenges, immigration, mixed culture, religion, or race)
  5. Returning, through your memories, to discover the truth and meaning of your own past

Jerry Waxler writes, coaches, and teaches about how to awaken human potential through life story writing. Jerry’s blog and book Memoir Revolution champions the social trend to turn life into Story. His self-help book, How to Become a Heroic Writer, provides self-help tools to find the courage and time to write your own story. Jerry’s memoir Thinking My Way to the End of the World is about his attempt to come of age during the sixties. He is on the advisory board of the National Association of Memoirs. He has a master’s degree in counseling psychology, and teaches writing classes at Northampton Community College.

 

June Roundtable Webinar- FREE to All- June 15, 2017

Rifka Kreiter

EVOLUTION OF A MEMOIR–EVERYTHING IN ITS OWN TIME

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

June 15, 2017

We are so pleased that Rifka Kreiter will be joining us. Her book Home Free will take us back to the era of the sixties, and the adventures that were life changing for Rifka. We all go on a journey into the past as we write our memoir, and we discover and uncover surprises, ahas, and “oh, I did that?” moments along the way. It’s a journey that ultimately is rewarding, and I’m glad that we get to speak with Rifka about the life story that has become her book, and her challenges along the way to write and publish her memoir.

From Rifka:

I will speak about the nearly twenty-year journey to publication of my book Home Free: Adventures of  child of the Sixties. The journey began with writing group pieces that seemed to cry out,  “We wanna be a book.”   Classes, workshops, writing groups followed, as well as long fallow periods, illustrating one teacher’s counsel that “for some pieces, you have to do more living before you’re ready to write it.”  And then there was the “onerous” publishing process, with its many trials.

Motivations that kept me going were:

  • Self-examination: Coming to terms with my difficult personal history
  • Fun: The pleasure of revisiting the experience of being young in that extraordinary time and sharing my stories of adventure
  • Bearing witness: The deep satisfaction of describing the amazing grace that transformed my life. I felt, if only one reader found encouragement and hope in my story, that would make it worthwhile.

Members Will:

  • Find out how to keep persisting despite obstacles to write the book of your heart.
  • Be encouraged to find tools to free your inner writer, such as Morning Pages.
  • Discover techniques I found helpful in dealing with the inner critic
  • Learn about querying agents and publishers, and how I made the decisions I did.

 

Bio

An astrologer once told Rifka Kreiter that a certain planetary conjunction in her chart signifies “an unusual life, full of unexpected happenings,” and this has certainly proved true.

Home Free recounts her peripatetic early life in New York, LA and San Diego.  She studied acting at New York’s High School of Performing Arts, philosophy at City College of New York and Clinical Psychology at Adelphi University.  She has worked as a waitress, hatcheck girl and hearing researcher.  She was Continuity Director at a New York radio station and Assistant Convention Manager at the Concord Resort Hotel in the Catskill Mountains.

Since 1976 she has been following an ancient yogic path and she lived in a meditation ashram for ten years. Rifka currently teaches meditation and has a day job.  At age 55 she (finally) met her life partner, an Upper West Side psychotherapist.  They live happily together in suburban New Jersey.  Contact her at rifkakreiter.com.

How Do You Choose the Best Storytelling Structure For Your Story?

Beth Barany

May Member Webinar

May 12, 2017

11 AM PDT  12 PM MDT  1 PM CDT  2 PM EDT 

How to choose the right structure for your story is a question that haunts most writers. Especially intuitive writers — pantsers — who tend to write organically.

Why does a story’s structure make writing it easier…or harder? When you find a storytelling structure that resonates with the kind of story you want to tell, the right structure stimulates your imagination.

Choosing the wrong structure can cause you to get stuck—because the structure works against you as you’re telling the story. You might mistake it for writer’s block. And spend weeks…or months…being stuck.

(Story structure is NOT plot. But story structure gives rise to plot.)

Join us for this NAMW webinar where we discuss “How to Choose Your Story’s Structure.”

In this webinar, you’ll learn the ins and outs of five powerful storytelling structures:

  • The Three-Act Structure
  • The Hero’s Journey
  • The Virgin Archetypal Journey
  • The 5-Point Plot Structure
  • The Five Commandments of Storytelling

We’ll also discuss:

  • what kinds of stories each structure lends itself to
  • how each structure is related to the other four, and
  • how “obligatory scenes” fit into these structures. If you’ve tried to plot according to a traditional story structure but it hasn’t worked…

If your stories feel “off” but you can’t put your finger on why…

If you’ve been confused by the Hero’s Journey or three-act structure in the past…

…don’t miss out on this chance to master five powerful storytelling structures and take your stories to the next level!

 

ABOUT BETH BARANY

Beth Barany is a certified creativity coach, NLP Practitioner, and keynote speaker. She helps fiction writers get their writing done and out into the world via Barany School of Fiction and the Writer’s Fun Zone blog. She’s the bestselling author of The Writer’s Adventure Guide and Overcome Writer’s Block. Her most recent book for writers is Twitter For Authors.

Beth writes young adult fantasy and paranormal romance. Her young adult epic fantasy novel, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, now the first book in a trilogy, won the Grand Prize in the 2012 California Book Fiction Challenge. Check out her free 5-day Writer’s Motivation mini-course: http://bethbarany.com/5daycourse.htm.

 

FREE Memoir Webinar: Truth in Memoir: A Journey of Healing and Transformation

May 19, 2017

Free Day Long event: 10 AM/1PM to 2 PM/5 PM

We’re very excited here at NAMW to offer a day long discussion about truth in memoir–one of the hottest topics memoirists discuss online, in forums, and in running Facebook posts!

As memoirists, we have to struggle with “the truth.” When we write our stories, we search to discover and reveal various angles of the truths in our lives. As complex humans, there are multiple and sometimes paradoxical truths—love and hate, letting go/holding on, attraction/repulsion desire and rejection of intimacy, and countless other opposites that are part of life. In our stories, one scene may highlight one aspect of truth, and then in another we’re someone else. The characters in our stories may have conflicting presentations   and we feel complex emotions about these real people who become our “characters.” In a world that asks for us to have a single opinion or reaction that defines, writing a memoir and facing its complexities can get challenging. Sometimes we’re tempted to give up. As one of my students said, “I keep changing my mind about what I think and feel each time I write my story. I need to know what position I should take. Shouldn’t I have this all sorted out by now?”

The secret to writing a memoir is that it’s more of a journey and a process than a single destination. We are always becoming and learning as we write. In writing a memoir we uncover surprises, some of which we don’t want to know about. As I wrote both Don’t Call Me Mother and my new memoir, Song of the Plains, I encountered bumpy emotional rides. In my new memoir, I tried to pull back even deeper layers of truth that I either couldn’t write about yet in my first one, or I couldn’t bear to share with the world. By investigating our story, new truths were revealed. Today we are going to investigate truth—how to find it, why we try to avoid it, and what to do when it speaks deeply to us, body and soul.

Join this FREE special webinar on May 19 with these deep and engaging presenters who have agreed to spend time with us. The day will be one of exploration and insight, and I hope you will find support and inspiration for your own work through this special event.

 

Mark Matousek

Transformation through Telling Your Truths: Memoir as a Healing Path

10 am PDT  11 am MDT   12 pm CDT  1 pm EDT

When you tell the truth, your story changes. When your story changes, your life is transformed.  Radical truth telling and self-inquiry in writing are incomparable tools for personal healing, creative expansion, and spiritual insight. Over the past 30 years as a memoirist and teacher, I’ve come to see that the narratives we use to describe our lives are frequently more fiction than fact. Once we begin to examine these stories, and tell the whole truth as we know it, these narratives begin to collapse, revealing the falsehoods we’ve carried, and giving us enormous freedom as writers of memoir.

But how to we learn to tell our whole truth? How do we separate fact from fiction? What is the role of imagination in unlocking preverbal experience?  Is it possible to heal personal trauma by changing the story we tell ourselves, as some psychologists suggest? How do we avoid the danger of triggering old trauma when exploring it?  What tools and practices are useful in helping to explore shadow material in memoir?  Finally, how is healing facilitated through the process of radical truth-telling?

These are some of the questions we’ll be exploring together during this thought provoking session. You will come to understand the importance of taking the witness perspective as a memoirist in order to step beyond your personal fiction. This gives you enormous freedom as a writer and demonstrates – beyond any doubt – that you are the storyteller not the story, the mythmaker not the myth.

During this webinar, you will learn:

  • How to use radical truth telling in memoir
  • How to use writing as a path of healing
  • How to explore shadow material
  • How to distinguish your wounds from your gifts
  • How to cultivate witness consciousness
  • How to change your trauma story

www.markmatousek.com

http://www.markmatousek.com/writing-to-awaken-italy-2017/

https://secure.madelineartschool.com/Classes_detail.cfm?recordno=1&Product_CatalogID=517&ProductNumber=WMM091117&ProductCode=49

http://www.markmatousek.com/e-courses-2/

Mark Matousek is the author of two acclaimed memoirs, Sex Death Enlightenment: A True Story (an international bestseller) and The Boy He Left Behind: A Man’s Search For His Lost Father, as well as When You’re Falling, Dive: Lessons in the Art of Living, and Ethical Wisdom: The Search for a Moral Life.. A former editor at Interview Magazine, he is a featured blogger for PsychologyToday.com and the Huffington Post, and has contributed to numerous anthologies and publications, including The New Yorker, O: The Oprah Magazine (contributing editor), Harper’s Bazaar, Yoga Journal, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, and The Saturday Evening Post. A popular speaker and teacher, he offers courses in creativity and spiritual growth in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Europe, based on his book, Writing To Awaken: A Journey of Truth, Transformation, and Self-Discovery.  He is a founding member of V-Men (with Eve Ensler), an organization devoted to ending violence against women and girls. His new book, Mother of the Unseen World, will be published in November. He lives and works East Hampton, New York.

 

John Evans

11 am PDT  12 pm MDT  1 pm CDT  2 pm EDT

Flourish: Writing for Resilience after Challenging Times

Expressive Writing heals and builds resilience through a process focusing on feelings related to a trauma, by imagining a fresh perspective about that trauma, and by creating a meaningful narrative about the trauma.

John Evans has taught expressive writing for over thirty years and believes that it may provide a ready springboard for memoir writing because it allows for the detailed connection of events with emotions that can be shaped into a complex, coherent story that moves experiences out of the body and mind connections on to the page.

If you have been touched by a life-changing event, diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, job loss, divorce, separation, death of spouse, death of a parent, you know the mind/body connection first hand.  It is never more apparent than when we experience a significant emotional event in the form of such traumas.  We don’t sleep well, we stop eating or we sleep all the time or we eat everything in sight.

In this webinar you will learn how expressive writing leads to helping you:

  1. Create your vision of vibrant wellness,
  2. Set intentions and clarify values
  3. Change perspective and remove obstacles
  4. Build confidence and resilience
  5. Express joy and optimism
  6. Stimulate thinking that leads to insights and understanding.

Flourish is an evidence-based, expressive writing approach and includes seven types of writing to heal: mindful writing, HEALing writing, as well as expressive, transactional, poetic, affirmative, and legacy writing.

Evans works with groups, individuals, and health care professionals, teaching them how to use writing for better physical, emotional, and spiritual health.  He has authored five books and has taught journaling and writing for self-development for over thirty years. 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 (2007 – 2010).  Evans is a faculty member of 1440 Multiversity in Santa Cruz, CA and is leading a year-long online expressive writing project, Pen My Path, for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society sponsored by Pfizer.  At Duke Integrative Medicine, Evans teaches Transform Your Health: Write to Heal, Leading Patients in Writing for Health, and Writing as a Tool for Integrative Health Coaches.

 

Mark Wolynn

12 noon PDT  1 PM MDT  2 PM CDT  3 PM EDT

It Didn’t Start With You

How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle

We’re very excited that our guest Mark Wolynn, author of the book It Didn’t Start with You, is going to talk with us about how trauma affects the generations, and what to do to create a new legacy. He reveals the science about how we inherit trauma and how we unconsciously are carrying patterns from our parents and grandparents. What has happened in the past lives in the present unconsciously within us, creating pain and problems in our own lives that mirror similar issues that faced the generations before us.

The good news is that there are ways to break these patterns, and it has to do with becoming aware of what they are, and finding ways to dig into the story of your family and understand how it affects you.

We have learned in other seminars about how writing helps to heal, and in this presentation we will learn why and how discovering the family story and using it to unlock generations of trauma and pain is so important to all of us.

You will learn:

– How trauma is passed from a parent to a child.

– The scientific research that supports inherited family trauma in humans and animals.

– How people can tell if they are suffering from inherited family trauma. What are the signs?

– How a person suffering from inherited family trauma can heal.

– Tips on how to break the cycle of inherited family trauma.

 

Mark Wolynn is a leading expert on inherited family trauma. As the director of The Family Constellation Institute in San Francisco, he trains clinicians and treats people struggling with depression, anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive thoughts, self-injury, chronic pain, and persistent symptoms and conditions. A sought-after lecturer, he leads workshops at hospitals, clinics, conferences, and teaching centers around the world. He has taught at the University of Pittsburgh, the Western Psychiatric Institute, Kripalu, The Omega Institute, The New York Open Center, and The California Institute of Integral Studies. His articles have appeared in Psychology Today, Mind Body Green, MariaShriver.com, Elephant Journal, and Psych Central, and his poetry has been published in The New Yorker. www.markwolynn.com

 

Transformation and Forgiveness: How I Uncovered New Truths in My Second Memoir

Linda Joy Myers

Interviewed by Brooke Warner

1 PM PDT  2 PM MDT   3 PM CDT   4 PM EDT

When I wrote my first memoir, Don’t Call Me Mother, I thought I’d cracked my family story. I believed I’d come to understand and forgive my grandmother and mother for the abuse and rejection in my life. I’d written the story that I’d carried since I was a child, and enough time had passed that I felt I had perspective and distance from the daily sting of abandonment and loss that marked my early years. But that story was written and lived before I myself became a grandmother. When they were born, I had new reasons to investigate our family legacy and offer up a well-researched and documented family story. Of course, the deeper reason I wanted to write another memoir was about me.

About three years after I published Don’t Call Me Mother, I started noticing a longing to further explore and research the histories I’d gathered in courthouses and local libraries in Iowa where my mother’s family was from. I got only a few stories from family members—they seemed dedicated to stay silent about a number of important family stories.

These unfinished threads wouldn’t leave me alone, nor would the poetry, stories, and histories of the Great Plains that I’d collected over the years. I noticed the heartache I felt whenever I saw photographs of my mother when she was young. My discovery of Ancestry.com was another huge impetus to explore my story from a new point of view, that of myself as an older adult. From this vantage point, I discovered that the road to healing is not a straight line, and the beckoning of new stories is not a force to ignore, no matter how impractical it might seem.

In this interview with Brooke Warner, my colleague and publisher of She Writes Press, we’ll explore the seeds that led me to dig deeper into my new memoir, the themes that make Song of the Plains a hybrid memoir of sorts, and why I think it’s important to allow the creative process to unravel in its own time.

You will learn:

  1. Why I threw away 85,000 words of my first draft and started over again.
  2. The process—and problems—of writing a second memoir.
  3. How truth has different angles depending on your point of view, and how to find them.
  4. How to write an authentic story about family in their points of view.
  5. The importance of place and poetry in the healing process.

Linda Joy Myers is the author and co-author of several books about memoir, and the founder and president of the National Association of Memoir Writers. Her first memoir, Don’t Call Me Mother, won several awards, and her Power of Memoir has been used to teach writing as healing techniques. Linda Joy grew to love stories in a featherbed with her eighty-year-old great-grandmother, and since then has pursued family history, secrets, and research to understand the lives of her family, and to find the keys to unlocking the past and creating a positive present and future. Her passion for stories drives her love of teaching memoir.  She leads a biannual intensive course, Write Your Memoir in Six Months, with Brooke Warner. She shares her love of reading with her three children and three grandchildren, her two kitties, and her friends. A great day includes reading a book and watching a good movie. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

www.lindajoymyersauthor.com

www.namw.org

www.writeyourmemoirinsixmonths.com

Twitter: @memoirguru

 

What Made Love Warrior a Best-selling Memoir?

An Examination of a Memoir That Bares the Soul (And Spares No One)

4-WEEK CLASS
Class dates (Mondays): April 24, May 1, May 8, May 15
4pm PT | 5pm MT | 6pm CT | 7pm ET

Classes are one hour long and we record all sessions so that you can watch the recordings if you have to miss a class.

 

EARLY REGISTRATION: $75 through April 17th

Regular registration: $89

Go to this page to register.

 

love-warriorLove Warrior, by Glennon Doyle Melton, has the kind of elements of pain that most memoirists struggle to write. She grapples with addiction, painful insecurities, her husband’s infidelity, maternal overwhelm, her rocky marriage, and questions about her own lack of sex drive. Tackling a single one of these issues is tough; to expose all of them and handle them with care is enormously brave. In this free webinar, memoir experts Linda Joy Myers and Brooke Warner will address the fears that invariably come up for writers looking to write their deepest truths and expose their most intimate—and often shameful—secrets. This webinar will address the fallouts too—and touch upon how sharing your truth has a way of both leveling everything and setting you free.

 

Class 1. Why Theme Is Memoir’s North Star (April 24)

  • How theme informs your scenes and why to keep your themes front and center while you write.
  • How to use through-threads to highlight your themes.
  • Tracking Glennon Doyle Melton’s hard themes of infidelity, eating disorders, and sexual dysfunction juxtaposed against the hopeful ones of healing, commitment, and love.
  • Tips for how to think about theme in your own writing, and why nailing down your own themes is the best gift you can give yourself as a memoirist.

Class 2. The Singular Power of a Clear Narrative Voice (May 1)

  • A look at Glennon Doyle Melton’s use of the Voice of Innocence vs Voice of Experience and how to integrate both of these narrative techniques into your own writing.
  • The power of sequencing—keeping your reader on track with what you knew when to create a more intimate and compelling narrative.
  • Pacing 101—tracking Love Warrior’s timeline and structure to showcase how to control your pacing, and why it matters in good storytelling.
  • Outlier narrative techniques in Love Warrior—and how they support the story and add to good storytelling.

Class 3. Reflection and Takeaway—Bringing Home Why Any of It Matters (May 8)

  • Understanding the difference between reflection and takeaway, using examples from Love Warrior.
  • Why takeaway can elevate a good memoir to a great memoir.
  • How Glennon Doyle Melton uses takeaway to pierce the hearts of her readers and invite them more deeply into an exploration of their own lives.
  • How and where to integrate reflection and takeaway into your own memoir so it’s both seamless and packs a punch.

Class 4. Baring It All and the Fallout (May 15)

  • The real-life fallout of writing about intimate and personal topics and family.
  • Glennon Doyle Melton in the news following the dissolution of her marriage after writing this memoir—and what she’s had to say about it.
  • How to decide what you’re going to share, and how to float test bubbles to see if you’re ready for the consequences.
  • The payoff of baring it all.

 

EARLY REGISTRATION: $75 through April 17th

Regular registration: $89

Go to this page to register.

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