Updates

What Made Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club a New York Times Bestseller–Free Webinar

Mary Karr free

 Mary Karr free

Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club is one of the classic memoirs that started the Memoir Revolution. This book is so engrossing that anyone who’s read it has the same reaction: I LOVED THAT BOOK! As a reader, you identify with her raucous, dangerous family.

Karr’s honest exploration of sex, guns, and alcohol pushes the boundaries of what we might think we’re allowed to write, giving the rest of us creative inspiration and permission around what’s possible for us with our own writing. Karr’s a trustworthy narrator of tragedy and trauma, sprinkling hope and compassion throughout—the perfect recipe for a compelling memoir.

 

Join Linda Joy Myers and Brooke Warner, co-authors of Breaking Ground on Your Memoir, for an in-depth conversation about Mary  Karr’s The Liars’ Club, and a discussion about what made this memoir become a favorite.

  • How Mary Karr handles trauma in The Liars’ Club and what you can learn from her.
  • How to use varied narrative/voice techniques to guide the reader through a complicated story and through to transformation.
  • How Mary Karr’s uses a circular structure to unpack her intense story, and how to choose what to tell and when.
  • Ways to bring your characters to life, and what we can learn about character development in The Liars’ Club.

 

Sign up here and receive a free recording of the teleseminar

http://writeyourbookinsixmonths.com/the-liars-club-free-webinar

 

The Art of Slow Writing

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Date: March 5th, 2015

Time: 4 PM PST / 5  PM MST / 6 PM CST / 7 PM EST

Guest: Louise DeSalvo

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I’m so very pleased and excited to have as our Roundtable guest for March the renowned author and teacher Louise DeSalvo. Over ten years ago, I immersed myself gratefully into her book Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives. There I discovered so many interesting details about how writing had helped to change the lives of writers who were famous, but whose stories about the process of writing weren’t generally known. This book also referenced the then new research by Dr. James Pennebaker about writing as healing, which led to my first book Becoming Whole-Writing Your Healing Story. For years I had worked with writing as a healing art as a therapist, and was excited to hear that the work of healing through writing was being validated in so many ways.

During this Roundtable discussion, Louise DeSalvo will discuss the stages of the writing process and how a writer can best work with—not against—the process. She will describe appropriate behaviors for each stage of the process and she will describe how learning about how “real” writers write can help us begin and complete our work. She will discuss those moments in a writing life—the dreaded middle of the process when nothing seems to be working—that often stop a writer’s work and she’ll discuss how to deal with those difficult moments. Finally, she will discuss some useful tools—the writer’s process journal; the use of a “Next to Do” list; the use of a writing plan—to help writers begin and complete their work.

From our discussion with this amazing teacher and writer:

  • You will learn about the stages of the writing process.
  • You’ll find out what the appropriate behavior will be for each stage of the process.
  • You will discover how knowing about how “real” writers work will facilitate your own
    process.
  • And you will learn a series of techniques to facilitate your work.

In addition to these points we’ll talk about her own process of writing five memoirs, and because I was so inspired by her book on writing as healing, I’d like to talk about that book and that important topic–one that memoir writers encounter regularly.

Sign up today to get the call information. A recording of the call will be emailed to everyone that signs up.

www.writingalife.wordpress.com

Louise DeSalvo is the Jenny Hunter Endowed Scholar for Literature and Creative Writing at Hunter College where she teaches memoir to undergraduates. She has published five memoirs, among them, the award-winning Vertigo and two books about the writing process, Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives and, most recently, The Art of Slow Writing: Reflections on Time, Craft, and Creativity. She has been studying and writing about the writing process of famous writers for forty years and has recently completed Chasing Ghosts: A Memoir of a Father, Gone to War, which took her ten years.

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.

 

Your Brain on Ink: Writing and Neurobiology

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Date: January 23, 2015

Kathleen-AdamsTime: 11 AM PST  12 PM MST  1 PM CST  2 PM EST

Guest Speakers: Kay Adams and Deborah Ross

If you are a member, log-in to get the call information or listen to the recording. If you are not a member, join today to get full membership benefits.

We’re so pleased to start the new year with a member teleseminar that addresses some of the basic realities of how “story” lives inside us, and how your brain and your writing are connected. It’s our job as writers to learn how to create the magic of story by understanding how to create a story world where your readers can feel and sense it fully. That’s the intersection between writing and neurobiology. So join us for a fascinating conversation that will help you bring your writing to another level.

Did you know that you can enrich the transformative power of story simply by using your attention as a spotlight? Or that creativity does, in fact, favor a relaxed mind? Or that you can use writing to shift the brain’s Velcro bias for negativity? Join two leaders of the writing-as-healing movement to discuss how the neurobiology of expressive writing can unlock more of the powerful storyteller within you.

You’ll learn:
• How writing from the senses brings memory alive
• Why meaning-making through writing is healing
• How writing can help you build resilience
• The role of attention and intention in shaping new neural pathways

Deborah RossDeborah Ross LPC, CJT studied neuroscience at the Mindsight Institute with Dr. Dan Siegel and applied her findings to therapeutic writing. An avid journaler, she recognizes the healing power of expressive writing and believes that this practice can change the way our brains work so that we experience a deeper sense of well-being and great resilience. Deborah is a licensed psychotherapist and a certified journal therapist (Therapeutic Writing Institute). Her first book, Your Brain on Ink, is a workbook co-authored with Kay Adams and will be released Fall 2015.

Kathleen (Kay) Adams LPC is the founder/director of the Center for Journal Therapy and its professional training division, the on-line Therapeutic Writing Institute. She is the author/editor of ten books on therapeutic writing, including the best-selling Journal to the Self and Expressive Writing: Foundations of Practice. In an internet poll, Kay was listed (with Anais Nin and Anne Frank) as one of the three top influencers in personal writing.

If you are a member, log-in to get the call information or listen to the recording. If you are not a member, join today to get full membership benefits.

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.

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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