Tag Archives: Memoir Writing

Featured NAMW Member – Dyane Harwood

Book Synposis 

Dyane Harwood’s compelling memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder shares her struggle with postpartum bipolar disorder, a rare form of bipolar disorder. The first book to address this postpartum mood disorder, Harwood recounts how she grew up affected by mental illness in her family. Her beloved father, a gifted violinist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, had bipolar disorder and suffered from crippling depressions and bewildering manic highs.

During her childhood, Harwood learned how bipolar disorder could ravage a family, but no one suspected that she’d become mentally ill until her baby was born. Within a day of her daughter’s birth, Harwood’s thoughts became a manic maelstrom, and eventually she dropped into the morass of bipolar depression.

Struggling to survive the highs and lows of her brain’s turmoil, Harwood wondered if mental health would always be out of her reach. From medications to electroconvulsive therapy, from “redwood forest baths” to bibliotherapy, she explored both the traditional and unconventional
realm in between her harrowing psychiatric hospitalizations.

In “Birth of a New Brain” Harwood reveals how she ultimately achieves stability. She learns that despite having a chronic mood disorder, a new,  richer life is possible. “Birth of a New Brain” is a chronicle of one mother’s perseverance, her burgeoning hope, and her grounded advice for others battling mental illness.

Bio
Dyane Harwood holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz. A writer for two decades, she has interviewed the authors Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, Anthony Bourdain and SARK. In 2007, Harwood was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder .Her memoir is the first book to discuss a woman’s experience with this rare form of bipolar disorder and overlooked postpartum mood disorder.

She founded a Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) chapter and facilitates support groups for mothers with bipolar disorder. Harwood lives in Ben Lomond, California with her two daughters, husband and Scotch collie.

www.dyaneharwood.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.

 

Spring Membership Sale

A memoir tells the story that otherwise would be lost.  If you are writing a memoir, you probably are aware of the various layers of excitement/worry/curiosity/ and passion that goes with such a project. It takes craft and creativity, persistence and motivation to write a story about your life. It means you are vulnerable and exposed too, even to yourself. I know this well. have just finished writing my second memoir Song of the Plains—A Memoir of Family, Secrets, and Silence, and I can tell you I went through, and am still going through, all the ups and downs that you do as I wrote the book. And now I’m going to share it with the world. Gulp!

I kept asking  myself why I did this—again—and found an answer, or answers: because I have a story that I believe is particularly mine, yet has universal elements in it that we all share: mothers, grandmothers, fathers, and a search for identity. It’s about blood ties, and the land where bones are buried. It’s about failures and secrets and successes, and hope. All our stories are about these things in one way or another. The trick is to find your particular vision and voice, the threads of your story that you weave together for us to read. 

Here at the National Association of Memoir Writers, our goal is to help you learn new skills and to lift you up as you work on your story. This year we added two new features: our monthly programs are in a webinar format, which makes learning and connecting even easier and more fun. And at our group coaching sessions members have been making new friends and finding writing buddies that help them on the journey. Our Roundtable webinars feature new authors just like you, who have crossed the finish line into “published author.” Some of these writers have been NAMW members and now are authors! Their books are winning prizes! This is very exciting.

We’re celebrating a creative spring this year, and the fact that memoir is still wildly popular and a genre that isn’t going away! There are more ways than ever to be published and share our stories, so keep writing! 

To help you celebrate we’re offering a special spring sale of $40 off our regular membership price—Only $109 for a year membership.  Renewals are also discounted $40 off and are only $107.  Our sale begins Friday, April 14th and ends at midnight on Monday, April 17th. 

You receive two new bonuses with your membership: The audio and transcript of What Made Liar’s Club a New York Times Bestseller—a four week course taught by Brooke Warner and me a year ago. And the audio and transcript of How to Tell the Truth Without Ending up in Court, a webinar by Helen Sedwick, an attorney that specializes in what writers need to know. We have many other benefits so you can find them here.

 

 

The Problem of Men in Memoir

Jed Diamond, Ph.D., LCSW

April Member Webinar

April 21, 2017

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

It isn’t easy being a man or writing about men. Yet we all have men in our lives. We were all conceived in the magic moment a lucky sperm was allowed entrance by a welcoming egg. Fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, grandsons; many are important figures in our lives, but writing about them can be difficult.

As a an author and psychotherapist for more than 40 years, I have helped men and the women who love them to live long and well. In this seminar, I will help you better understand the nature of men so you can write more deeply and honestly about the males in your life.

In my first book, Inside Out: Becoming My Own Man, I recall the day my father took an overdose of sleeping pills and was hospitalized at Camarillo State Hospital, north of Los Angeles. I was five years old and grew up wondering what happened to my father and whether I would someday “go crazy” and end up in the “nuthouse.” When my first son, Jemal, was born in 1969, I made a vow that I would be a different kind of father than my father had been able to be for me and I would work to create a different kind of world where families didn’t go through the traumas that my family experienced.

After reading Mark Wolynn’s book, It Didn’t Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle, I expanded my understanding of men to include my mother’s father, the man I was named after, who died suddenly when my mother was five years old. My mother never talked about him, but he was always a powerful, yet shadowy, presence in my life.

I came to realize that I could never feel totally successful in my life, or in my relationships, until I came to peace with my father and the other male members of my family.

In this revealing and engaging hour you’ll learn:

  • How to understand the conscious and subconscious power men have in our lives.
  • Why men are the way they are—From the Y chromosome to the male brain.
  • To recognize the importance of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in understanding men.
  • How to get inside the heart and soul of men who are reluctant to talk so you can “hear the sound that male cells sing.”
  • Why we must address male shame and how to tell the truth about men without wounding them further.

Jed Diamond, Ph.D., LCSW, is one of the world’s leading experts on men’s health. He has written 14 books including international best-sellers, Surviving Male Menopause, Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, and The Irritable Male Syndrome: Understanding and Managing the 4 Key Causes of Depression and Aggression. His most recent book, The Enlightened Marriage: The 5 Transformative Stages of Relationships and Why the Best is Still to Come was released in 2016. Visit him at www.MenAlive.com and www.TheEnlightenedMarriage.com.

 


This is our monthly member webinar and is for NAMW members only.  If you are a NAMW member, you will receive the webinar access information via email and can also find it in the Members Area by clicking the Event Phone Numbers link.

If you are not a NAMW member yet, we encourage you to join!  Click here to learn about what other benefits are reserved for our members only.

Featured NAMW Member – Rena Graham


Book Synopsis

INFALLIBLE: A Modern Mystical Memoir tells the story of an ambitious young interior designer, living a life of freedom and novelty, in 1980s San Francisco. She thought she’d left her past behind and attained the glamourous new life she’d fought hard for. Then the violence started: four seemingly random attacks in two years, the last almost fatal. These coincided with some of the worst violence San Francisco had also endured: the Jonestown massacre in the jungles of Guyana by local cult leader Jim Jones, the double murder of George Moscone and Harvey Milk and the subsequent White Night Riots. Was there a connection between her mugging, attempted car-jacking, street attack and stabbing and the violence that rocked The City she dearly loved?

Searching for help after exhausting conventional medical and legal sources, she met a one-armed astrologer who told her she had the most difficult chart he’d ever seen. His uncanny level of prescience and clear-headed guidance helped her move forward in life and heal the deep trauma she’d suffered. But what of the thirty difficult years ahead that he tried to prepare her for? What would she believe and which of his prophecies would come true? How did her belief influence the fate he saw for her? Would she eventually engage the future he saw for her, one so different from the one she strived to achieve?

Rena’s voice is as distinctive as the tale she’s chosen to tell. She plumbs experiences that could have sidelined others to bring the reader universal questions regarding belief and fate. Written from the mature, reflective voice of someone who lived and evaluated those years, this is a book for anyone who might wonder at their own odd destiny. Bold writing, telling dialogue and provocative characterization are highlights on this dramatic, yet humorous debut memoir.

Bio
Rena writes short and long form creative non-fiction and is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC. Originally from the U.S., her work’s been published there and in Canada, where she currently makes her home. Cobalt Review, The Bookends Review, and the upcoming inaugural edition (spring 2017) of Chroma Magazine have all featured her work. She’s also had pieces shortlisted in Malahat Review’s Open Season awards and The Writer’s Union of Canada Short Prose Competition. Her work as an editor and ghostwriter helps writers and non-writers get their personal stories on the page.

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