Category Archives: Updates

Breaking Silence Teleconference – Healing Shame and Writing the Truth in Memoir

magic book

November 14, 2014

10 AM-4 PM PST

magic bookIt’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.

Writers need to grow beyond and write past the silencing and shaming they have received throughout their lives, a silencing that keeps us from writing our stories, from telling our truths. During this daylong event, the presenters will talk about how shame silences us, and offer you permission to write the stories you have hidden, run away from, and/or denied—to yourself first, and family and friends.

The intent of this conference is to encourage writers to be vulnerable and to take their power back, not to be “small” as Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly, says. It’s important to find our voices and our courage to reveal, at first to ourselves, then to the larger world, the truths of our lives. At this conference, we want to use terms like “shame” in a forward-thinking way, instead of hiding it they society encourages, Amy Ferris has worked to do. We’re putting it on the table and looking at it head on, naming it—which is always the first step in healing and change.
We will discuss the problems we face as people who have been silenced, and how to dare to break through to a new level of Being, voice, and writing.

Reserve Your Spot Today & Get Special Early Bird Pricing


Non-members $59 $49. Add to Cart

NAMW members $49 $39.  Add to Cart

Don’t delay this special offer is only valid until 10/15/2014.


Sue Silverman


Confessional and (Finally) Proud of It
Sue William Silverman

In this hour, I will discuss the importance of all of our voices. How do we overcome shame and learn to be proud of our stories? How do we discover the courage to tell family secrets…or any secret that remains in darkness? As the author of three memoirs, I’ve learned that each one required me to address a different aspect of the shame inherent in speaking one’s truth. In my first memoir, Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You, I struggled with the shame of revealing such a personal family secret as incest. In Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction, I struggled with the revelations of disclosing secrets about my own sexuality. Then, in The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew, I worried how my own tribe, fellow Jews, would react to a memoir of a Jewish girl who grew up wanting to be Christian. I understand the challenges that every essay, story or memoir presents and encourage a conversation about these issues. I believe there are powerful reasons for all of us to tell our stories anyway.
• We find redemption through understanding the past
• We find redemption through the organizing principles of writing
• We find redemption through the life force
• We find redemption through helping others to heal
• We find redemption through confession

Sue William Silverman’s new memoir, The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew, is published with the University of Nebraska Press as part of their American Lives Series (series editor Tobias Wolff). Her two other memoirs are Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction a Lifetime television movie, and Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You, which won the Association of Writers and Writing Programs award in creative nonfiction. Her craft book, Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir, won Honorable Mention in ForeWord Reviews’ book-of-the-year award. As a professional speaker, Sue has appeared on such shows as The View, Anderson Cooper 360, and CNN-Headline News. She teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Please visit

Amy Ferris

Amy Ferris
Awakening to your greatness

Amy Ferris loves inspiring people to write/right their lives. her passion is for everyone to awaken to their greatness. in order to awaken to our greatness, we must be able to look shame and fear and guilt and our deepest uglies in the eye and say, no more. writing those stories, sharing those stories, releasing those stories are so extraordinarily powerful. because once you share them tell them, release them they no longer hold you hostage. this is about transforming all of our scars into stardust, all our flaws & imperfections into glitter, and breaking-through the i am not enough syndrome.

You will learn:
1) that you do in fact have a story that will set you free
2) that you don’t need to be a writer to tell or share your story
3) that you are not alone in your shame, guilt, fear, worry, sadness.
4) that the smallest detail can become an entire book
5) writing/righting your truth takes courage, and courage comes from standing up and saying: this is me, and i am enough

Amy Ferris is an author, screenwriter, essayist, playwright and editor. her memoir, marrying george clooney, confessions from a midlife crisis (seal press) was adapted in an off-broadway play in 2012. she has written films (mr. wonderful, anthony minghella, director and funny valentines, julie dash, director), tv, and has contributed to numerous anthologies, including the one she co-edited, dancing at the shame prom (seal press). she was guest editor-in-chief for two magazine, glossies, where she created the annual all women’s issue. amy lives in pennsylvania with her husband and two cats. she is very content on most days.

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Breaking Open: The Heart of Writing Memoir—Courage and Permission to Write Your Truth
Linda Joy Myers

We have all been silenced in various ways: family rules to not air the family laundry, society’s rules to be quiet unless you have something nice to say, the rules to be “good” which means to be quiet and docile. The rules to keep the secrets in the family or risk losing their approval.

In my work with writers, I hear themes that we call the Inner Critic: “I can’t write that,” they whisper. Or “no one else knows all these things in my memoir—what will happen when they read this?” They feel embarrassed and ashamed of their story and often who they are, the life they lived. Some writers get physical symptoms from digging deep in their memories—headaches, heartaches as they drop into the mind and body of who they were in the past. It’s well known that writing helps to heal, thanks to the studies by Dr. James Pennebaker, but the act of writing for each of us is a moment to moment act of courage, an act of encounter that can free you from your silence.

Coeur, meaning heart, is the root of the word courage, and it’s our heart, our deepest truth that we must write from. Readers want to know who you are in your memoir, and to do that you need to be authentic, to draw from your deepest truths.

In this hour, we will explore what it takes to break open, to write past shame and silence and create a memoir that is heartful and speaks universally to your readers.
We will discuss:
• How to recognize the barriers that silence you
• The studies about how writing heals body and mind
• How “the rules” of silencing are imbedded in our family and social history
• How we learn shame, and how we heal it
• Techniques to help you fully encounter your memoir and write freely

Linda Joy Myers is president and founder of the National Association of Memoir Writers and a therapist for 35 years. Her memoir Don’t Call Me Mother—A Daughter’s Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness is a finalist in the ForeWord Book of the Year Award, a finalist in the IndieExcellence Awards and received Honorable Mention in the New York Book Awards. She’s also the author of three books on memoir writing: The Power of Memoir—How to Write Your Healing Story, Journey of Memoir, and Becoming Whole. Linda co-edited the anthology The Times They Were A’Changing—Women Remember the 60s & 70s, a ForeWord Review Book of the Year finalist. Her fiction, non-fiction, and memoir pieces have been published in literary journals and online. She writes for the Huffington Post, and co-teaches the program Write Your Memoir in Six Months. Linda is a speaker about memoir, healing, and the power of writing the truth, and offers editing, coaching, and manuscript evaluation for writers. Blog:

amy great picture in green

Writing Your Memoir: After the Sorrow and Anger
Amy Friedman

Is it possible to get over your desire to scream at certain people whose experiences have deeply hurt you? As a creative writing teacher for over 25 years, focusing on memoir and personal essay for the past 15, I have encouraged writers to overcome their fears and doubts; I’ve encouraged them to slip out of the shadows in their work, to be fearless. I’ve always believed, and have taught my students, that our deepest shame and doubt often turns out to be our greatest strength, and that our secrets can make for powerful stories that resonate powerfully with readers. So when I hit the wall as I was writing my third memoir, Desperado’s Wife, although I was stumped for a long time, I also knew I was onto something.

The story of my marriage to a man I met while he was serving a life sentence in prison, and in the decade-plus during which I fought, coped with, and survived the prison system, I came to realize a number of things: I had a desire to prove something to all those naysayers; I longed to fight back against those who had fired me from jobs, castigated me and my family; I wanted to scream at those who had turned their backs on us. But a scream never encourages listening, as it is seldom beautiful or inspiring to hear (or to read). To write a book that would resonate with others, I had to learn what was beneath that scream, to uncover what secrets I had buried under the fury. Desperado’s Wife took me a decade to write, and in that decade I learned invaluable lessons for uncovering our buried secrets, lessons I’ll share during this hour.

We will discuss:
• Paths to uncovering your subconscious agendas and how they hobble you
• How to distance yourself from fury and sorrow without silencing your deepest truths
• The power of (wise) readers as allies
• What to do about those whose opinions you fear
• How others’ stories can move you beyond (and beneath) your own doubt and shame

Amy Friedman is an author, editor, ghostwriter and creative writing teacher whose most recent books include Desperado’s Wife: A Memoir, a book that led to her appearance on the Katie Couric show and ultimately to her co-creating, with her husband Dennis Danziger, the nonprofit POPS the club (, for high school students whose lives have been touched by prison. Desperado’s Wife is currently being developed as a television series, and Amy’s most recent book, One Souffle at a Time: A Memoir of Food and France, co-authored with Anne Willan, will be released in paperback in 2014. Amy’s articles, essays and stories have appeared in magazines, newspapers and numerous anthologies, and since 1992 she has written Tell Me a Story, a weekly story for children syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate that has spawned three books and three award winning CDs. Amy teaches memoir at UCLA Extension, The Skirball Cultural Arts Center, Idyllwild School of the Arts and in private workshops. For more see her website



Writing Shame and Trauma for Publication—How to Write in the Space between What Happened and What People Can Handle
Brooke Warner
In my fourteen years in the publishing industry—eight of those as an Executive Editor at Seal Press, a women’s press that makes it a point to publish women’s issues, including works of trauma—I was honored to have had the opportunity to work with many courageous authors who risked a lot to tell their truths. It’s something you have to weather and brave; yet it feels extra hard when you’re baring your soul about issues that you’ve long kept secret, issues that took years to see the light of day.

Writing shame and trauma for publication requires some distance on the part of the writer. Many aspiring writers believe that the more outrageous their story is, the more likely it is to be published. But this is not true. I call this the “Trauma Olympics,” and I will talk about why trying to trump someone else’s trauma never makes for good writing. What matters most is your authenticity and willingness to “walk the radical edge,” as David Whyte so eloquently talks about. Where writing trauma and shame are concerned, you may experience internal discomfort, mental discord, and even physical symptoms. This is common. But unfortunately, the publishing industry doesn’t care.
If you want to publish, you have to dig deep, but you can’t be self-pitying; you have to show all, without being too graphic; you have to show the underbelly of what happened, yet remain somewhat dispassionate.

So how the hell does anyone actually do this? In this hour I’ll share successful memoirs that have done trauma and shame well, and why they’ve succeeded. We’ll also cover how to be self-aware enough in your own writing to appeal to an audience, and how to know if you’re ready for publication, and what to do if it turns out you’re not (hint: it doesn’t mean you stop writing).

In this hour you will learn:
• How to write authentically, yet keep the reader in mind
• How to walk the “radical edge”
• How to expose your deepest truths yet avoid the “Trauma Olympics”
• How successful memoirists expose their trauma and shame
• Techniques for self-awareness as you prepare for publication

Brooke Warner is publisher of She Writes Press, president of Warner Coaching Inc., and author of What’s Your Book? and How to Sell Your Memoir. Brooke’s expertise is in traditional and new publishing, and she is an equal advocate for publishing with a traditional house and self-publishing. She sits on the board of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and the National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW). Her website was selected by The Write Life as one of the Top 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2014. She lives and works in Berkeley, California.

Reserve Your Spot Today & Get Special Early Bird Pricing


Non-members $59 $49. Add to Cart

NAMW members $49 $39.  Add to Cart

Don’t delay this special offer is only valid until 10/15/2014.

Free Memoir Webinar: What Made Angela’s Ashes a Bestseller?

 Angela's Ashes

Tuesday: September 30

  • 4:00PM – 5:00PM Pacific

  • 5:00PM – 6:00PM Mountain
  • 6:00PM – 7:00PM Central

  • 7:00PM – 8:00PM Eastern

Sign up here

Angela’s Ashes… you know, it’s the Irish story, the “miserable Irish childhood” that Frank McCourt would talk about with tongue in cheek–and how we miss you Frank! For those of us who fell in love with this book, we know that Angela’s Ashes, the first of his two memoirs–they were really one book for a while–is beloved by so many people, a book that we laugh with and cry with, and read over and over again. And oh, we see the movie too!

Brooke Warner and I have been teaching New York Times Best Sellers–Wild, Eat, Pray, Love, and The Glass Castle for the last year, and it was time, we decided, to teach a memoir by a male writer. We sent out a survey and Angela’s Ashes won by a landslide.

As memoir coaches, we had to ask some pithy questions for this Free webinar about McCourt’s Pulitzer prize winning book:

Why is Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes one of the most beloved memoirs of all times?

How did McCourt manage to write about the horrors of his upbringing while still delivering a universal message?

What can we learn from his story that will help us with our own memoir in progress?

The art of balancing his heartbreaking story with being able to deliver to all of us something valuable is part of what we will be examining during this hour-long webinar. Every memoir strives to do this, so it is important to learn how the best memoir writers pull it off to great acclaim. Not all of us may write a best seller–though we can strive to create  a book that is that good and with such a universal message–but we all can learn the techniques that help us to create the very best memoir we can write. Please join us for an exploration of Angela’s Ashes, and discover new insights about your memoir writing!


Please join us for the free webinar!

We DO Judge a Book by Its Cover—Secrets You Don’t Know About Book Cover Design

September 26, 2014
11 am PDT 12 pm MDT 1 pm CDT 2 pm EDT



Michele De Filippo and Sonia Marsh

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! This is an event that is free to all National Association of Memoir Writers Members. To learn more about membership, or to join so you can view this webinar live and ask questions, please visit

Michele De Filippo—About this Webinar
A Better Movement Before and After “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is tried and true advice passed down from one generation to the next, and for good reason. But when it comes to buying a book, the cover is EXACTLY how readers judge whether or not that book is worthy of their time and money. In fact, it takes a potential buyer only 7 seconds to judge a cover and make a decision. How can you make sure that – during those 7 seconds – the buyer decides to open your book or put it back on the metaphorical shelf?

Every element on a professionally designed book cover carries the potential for you to sway the buyer’s decision, and in this webinar you will hear from book designer and business owner Michele DeFilippo about the techniques book designers employ to create great book covers.

In this workshop you will:
• Understand the importance of a book cover in the buying decision.
• Learn how conveying the right message increases book sales.
• Explore how titles, subtitles fonts, images, and colors are designed, and the role each plays in transmitting a persuasive message to potential buyers.
Undertow Before and After• Analyze before and after images of actual book cover makeovers, understand what changes were made, why they were necessary, and how the book’s message was affected.
• Come away understanding how to work with your cover designer for success!

Michele is the owner of 1106 Design, a Phoenix-based company that provides book publishing services and expertise to authors and publishers from all over North America.

1106 Design is the product of Michele’s love of consulting with authors, publishers, business pros, legal and medical professionals, speakers, and others who want to publish a book; simply put, Michele loves talking about books and loves helping people to fulfill their dreams! Michele, her team at 1106 Design, and her extended network of partners, have assisted authors with editing, cover design, book page design and typesetting, proofreading, author websites, determining the best print options, marketing, and other services needed to craft and sell professional quality books.

Despite the multitude of tangible ways in which she and 1106 Design help authors, Michele calls “honest advice” and “hand-holding” the most important services she can provide, which are borne out through her dedication to customer service and quality book design. Michele constantly shares her knowledge (based upon her many years of experience as a designer and business owner in the publishing field) with authors through her biweekly blog, webinars, speaking engagements, and her 52 Tips & Tools e-mail newsletter. Michele is also the author of Publish Like the Pros: A Brief Guide to Quality Self-Publishing. Visit



freeways_to_flipflopsFrom Sonia Marsh:
When I decided to start my own publishing company, as an indie author, I knew this would involve wearing my “authorpreneurial” hat. I wanted to be taken seriously, as a commercial indie author, and realized I could not skimp on quality and professionalism. I also knew that in order to be proud of my books, and to make them fit the readers’ expectations of books in my genre, I had to consult with experts in the book design business. It’s not enough to say, “I like this cover.”

1106 Design was recommended to me by someone in the publishing business, and when I checked their website, I felt confident they would offer the same high standard, as traditional publishers. I am now working with 1106 Design on my 3rd cover, and have won two prestigious awards for my first two books, thanks to them, as well as my editors and the authors in the Anthology series.

My Gutsy Story® Anthology: True Stories of Love, Courage and Adventure From Around the World, has been named a 2013 Benjamin My Gutsy StoryFranklin Award Silver Honoree Winner.
My first book, a memoir, Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of gutsy Living on a Tropical Island won 1st Place, and a Gold Medal in the “Autobiography/Memoir” category of the 2012 E-lit Awards. It also received a Silver Medal, in the “Travel Essay” category of the E-lit Awards.

Sonia Marsh is an award-winning author who knows how to market books both online and in person. She continues to promote her own books at Costco, and other retail stores and is committed to helping authors avoid common mistakes. Sonia understands that most authors cannot afford to hire an expensive publicist, so her goal is to help authors develop their own plan to sell books.

She offers “gutsy” book coaching to authors, as well as Webinars and Workshops. Contact her at: #(949) 309-0030, or visit her website: Subscribe to her free “Gutsy” newsletter and receive two bonus prizes, including the free video on “How to Get Your Book into Costco.”


Back to School/Labor day Sale–Celebrating New Beginnings

labor day


Here at NAMW, we think of Labor Day and Back to School as a chance for new beginnings. To us, the start of September is a time to pick up projects that might have languished over the summer. It’s a time to refocus and reset our goals. So we say, let’s KICKSTART our focus with a sale on NAMW annual membership!

To celebrate new beginnings, NAMW is offering $20 off the cost of an annual membership from today through Wednesday September 3rd!

NAMW new Memberships are now just $149 $129 Add to Cart
NAMW Renewals are $139 $119 Add to Cart

Become a member today!

Current and lapsed members are encouraged to take advantage of this sale!

If you’re still unsure about joining, here are just a few great reasons why it pays to be a NAMW member:
• FREE access to Live Monthly Teleseminars and FREE downloadable recordings of over 70 archived Teleseminars
• Free downloadable recordings of our past Telesummits, with valuable topics such as “From Story to Sold! Becoming a Successful Memoir Author”
• Special Member Discounts for Workshops, Online Classes, and Webinars
• Receive three FREE e-books on the memoir-writing craft by renowned authors
• PDF download of the NAMW e-Book: Memoir Writing as a Healing Journey by Linda Joy Myers, Ph.D.
• Access to information on contests, grants, and publishers as well as exposure to cutting-edge news and information about the memoir-writing field
• Opportunities to share your successes and new publications with other memoir writers and ask questions on our NAMW Members-Only Facebook group

…And much, much more!

It’s simple! NAMW new Memberships are now just $149 $129 Add to Cart
NAMW Renewals are $139 $119 Add to Cart

We hope in the spirit of the new “school year,” you’ll decide to take your relationship with NAMW to the next level and join as a member.


Our September Member Teleseminar is already upgraded to a Webinar with Michele DeFilippo and Sonia Marsh–a dynamic way to learn. We Do Judge a Book by its Cover–Secrets You Don’t Know About Book Cover Design. When you become a member, you automatically receive the member Teleseminars for a full year for free.




retreat pic--water crop

New Beginnings Retreat Discount

Last chance discount for our Memoir Writing Retreat Write Your Memoir Now!

We have a wonderful group already registered, and there are a few openings left for this three day opportunity to be immersed in your memoir and learn from our three experts how you can write and publish your book.

Save $100. Just a few spots left.

To learn about the retreat and see the full schedule for the weekend click here.

Please email us at if you have any questions.

Here’s to new beginnings!


We DO Judge a Book by Its Cover—Secrets You Don’t Know About Book Cover Design – See more at:
We DO Judge a Book by Its Cover—Secrets You Don’t Know About Book Cover Design – See more at:

Develop the Mystery in Your Memoir | Free Roundtable Discussion

Mani Feniger
September 11, 2014


maniMani Feniger thought her relationship with her mother was over when she buried her mother’s ashes. But two years later, the discovery of a startling photograph of her mother taken just months before rise of the Nazi regime in Germany, sent Mani on a twenty-year search across continents and lifetimes, uncovering clues about her family’s past that eventually revealed the life of a woman very different from the mother she thought she knew.

Mani’s award-winning memoir, The Woman in the Photograph, reads like a mystery. She didn’t know what she would find when she started, and she had to take into account every shred of evidence to weave together the surprising story that lurked in the silences and unfinished sentences of her relationship with her mother.

Even if you already have the basic facts of the story you want to write, being open to the unknown–the unexpected clues and conversations, the realizations that emerge as you write–will bring suspense and anticipation to your memoir.

In our September 11 Roundtable, we will talk about developing the mystery of your memoir, and explore the steps you can take to open up the narrative and pique your readers’ curiosity.

1. How to uncover the hidden layers of your story

2. Interview techniques for eager and less eager subjects

3. Using intuitive writing exercises to create authentic, complex characters

4. Building suspense with rhythm, pacing and knowing when to hold back


About the Author: Mani Feniger is a therapist, speaker, documentary film consultant and author of Journey from Anxiety to Freedom and The Woman in the Photograph–voted Best Memoir 2013 by the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. Last year the city of Leipzig, Germany invited Mani to speak about her book in her mother’s birthplace.

Become a Member Today!


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

James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D.
professor of psychology, The University of Texas at Austin and author, Opening Up and Writing To Heal