Tag Archives: webinar

Exposure in Writing, My New Memoir, and Finding Freedom from the Past

April flowers

April flowersIn April, the colors are yellow, and green and blue skies, a season of life surging upward toward the sun. When we writers feel this upward movement of energy, we need to catch the wave. After all, there are plenty of times when despite positive energy and sun and the potential for creativity, we can feel blocked or silenced or scared to have our lives exposed—an almost inevitable reaction when writing a memoir.

This spring, I feel this kind of hesitance myself, despite the fact that I’ve published several other books including my first memoir Don’t Call Me Mother. I felt so exposed, lifting the veil from private to public on my family’s craziness—three generations of mothers who abandoned their daughters, mothers who rejected their children until the end of their life. There were wicked adoptive mothers, and molestations, and ongoing emotional abuse. What a mess!  Many of my students bring up the issue of not wanting to hurt other people by what they reveal in their memoir—and I can relate!

Song of the PlainsSo now, I’m finding myself a bit blocked as I prepare for what is truly a joy for me—the release of my new memoir Song of the Plains—A Story of Family, Secrets, and Silence. In this book, I unravel the complicated threads of our generational story in a new way—from the point of view of an adult who has spent over forty years trying to find the layers of truth—what happened, when, where, and who did what to whom. Forty years doing research to uncover where my mother lived as a little girl—I knew nearly nothing about her. And when was it that my grandmother, who ended up raising me, had left my mother as a little girl? I tracked their traumas, and the historical context of their lives as women and girls. Children in those days, and when I was raised as well, were taught, Children should be seen and not heard. Women, too, were supposed to bow to the rules and voices of men. My grandmother was born in the 19th century, and my mother five years before women had the vote. The patriarchal rules were going strong in the fifties when I grew up, when girls were urged to get their MRS degree in college, though it was also the first generation when going to college was an option. In my search, I discovered the key to how my grandmother offered me options that she never had.

I found some of the answers to the past in dusty courthouses, local libraries, and finally, on Ancestry.com. I share with the reader what I find out, and how the shackles of the past are released with each new discovery.

The Truth about Trauma

The other reason I explore these themes in my new memoir has to do with the new research about the intergenerational transmission of trauma. Through my training in family therapy in the eighties, I knew about generational patterns that were psychological in origin, but now DNA research shows that we carry traumas from previous generations with us. All my life I felt this to be true in my body, and as a result, did a lot of body therapy among other kinds of therapy to try to heal. The good news from research and books available now, including the research by John Evans, Dr. James Pennebaker, and Mark Wolynn is that the way the heal is find the family story, and find your own voice. We can use our stories and our writing to heal what was broken.

Whatever stage you are now, just know that word by word and chapter by chapter you are supporting the healing of the generations, and that you are planting seeds of freedom for the legacy you leave behind. You’ll be hearing much more about these topics this spring. On May 19, for our Memoir Telesummit, we have some amazing guests for you on exactly this topic, so stay tuned! We’ll have those details up on the site soon so you can sign up.

April Events

We’re also excited to special guests this month at our April Roundtable webinar April 6—Betsy Graziani Fasbinder on the topic of exposure in memoir and fiction and what to do about it. And Jed Diamond, an expert on the topic of men in family and relationships for our Member Webinar on April 21. Sometimes people ask us if we include men in our programs, and the answer is always yes! NAMW is about helping all voices find their stories and express their truths.

See you at the events this month. Brooke Warner and I are hosting a fantastic All-Day Memoir Conference Turn Up the Dial on Your Memoir on April 28, and our FREE event on Love Warrior on April 17. Be sure to sign up to keep learning and connecting with all things memoir.

Structure: The Backbone of Your Memoir

Structure your memoir

Structure your memoirWe’re all fired up about STRUCTURE this month. Why? Because we see over and over again how important this key element is to actually executing a readable memoir. Plus, we know it’s a place where memoirists struggle, and there are some firm decisions you can make to ease your way into a structure that sings.

We invite you to take advantage of this information-packed hour: STRUCTURE: THE BACKBONE OF YOUR MEMOIR. It’s happening next Monday, November 14, at 4pm PT | 5pm MT | 6pm CT | 7pm ET. We’re going deep here—covering:

  • What structure is, why it matters, and how you can think about structure without overwhelming yourself completely—especially if you’re in the middle of writing your memoir.
  • Tools that support structure—your table of contents, turning points, and scaffolding. These are simple ways to help focus the structure of your book, building on what you already have.
  • Traditional story arcs and how to fit your memoir into them. We will discuss how the energy of a memoir moves forward—problem/conflict/situation, which finally reaches a climax, followed by resolution—and how to track your own arc.
  • Types of structures: linear, braided, associative, framed, and circular. Complete with examples of each kind.

It’s Monday: November 14, at 4pm PT | 5pm MT| 6pm CT | 7pm ET
Brooke Warner and Linda Joy Myers
SIGN UP HERE. 

Don’t worry if the timing doesn’t work for you. We always record our webinars. As long as you’re signed up, you’ll get the link the next day.

We’ll see you Monday!

Linda Joy & Brooke

NAMW President, Linda Joy Myers to Present Webinar at Writer’s Digest

How to Write Your Lifestory or Memoir: Exploring Truth, Memory, and Craft

a Writer’s Digest Webinar with Linda Joy Myers, Ph.D., MFT

Writing a memoir or a lifestory can be an overwhelming task. You wonder where to begin, how to structure it, how much truth to tell, and how to manage conflicting family opinions. Not only do writers need to sort through the emotional aspects of writing a memoir based on their own experiences, but it’s important to write a story with dramatic interest. Even if you simply want to share your story with family, the reader needs to be drawn into your story. You create the world of your past through using fictional tools such as the correct point of view, scenes, vivid descriptions, and by creating a narrative arc.

Join Linda Joy Myers, NAMW, President for her upcoming Webinar at Writer’s Digest!

All registrants are invited to submit a vignette of 500 words or fewer in advance of the event. All submissions will receive a personal critique by Linda Joy!

Attention will be focused on teaching craft elements needed to create a publishable and well-written work that you can be proud of.

What you’ll learn:

  • How to create a hook and theme—in other words: how to make your story stand out from other memoirs that editors and agents review
  • Ways to think about truth and memory, family, and legal issues that block your writing; how to find your theme and focus your story for your audience.
  • Create a timeline, write vignettes, and choose the most important part of your story—the turning points.
  • The reasons why you need scenes and a narrative arc
  • Why you need to draw upon fictional techniques, such as sensual details, point of view, scenic structure, and vivid descriptions to craft a great story.
  • How to research the parts of your story that you’re not sure about

Each registration also comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for 1 year.

Length and price: 90 minutes; $89
Date:  Thursday October 21, 2010
Click Here to Learn More or Register

Who should attend?

  • Writers who want an overview of memoir and lifestory writing
  • Writers interested in exploring ethical issues in memoir writing, such as different versions of the truth, family conflicts, and how to find your own voice
  • Writers who want to understand the current demands of the publishing world.
  • Journal writers who want to write a publishable story
  • Writers who need to learn about the craft of story and how it applies to memoir and lifestory writing

About Linda Joy Myers

Linda Joy is the president of the National Association of Memoir Writers, and an expert in memoir, lifestory, and the topic of writing as a transformational journey. She has written three books—The Power of Memoir, released by Jossey Bass, an award-winning memoir Don’t Call Me Mother, and Becoming Whole: Writing your Healing Story, a ForeWord book of the year finalist. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and at www.namw.org.

How does the critique work?

All writers are invited to submit a query (500 words max) before the event. (Instructions on how to submit your vignette are sent after you officially register.) Registrants will receive a written critique after the event.

How does the webinar work?

The live audio is delivered over your telephone or computer speakers. The Power Point presentations and desktop or document sharing are presented over the Internet. This is like a talk-radio program with visuals on the Web. You’ll be able to have a live Q&A chat with the speakers.

What equipment do I need?

All you need is a computer.  You will be able to view the slides and listen to the audio over the computer speakers.  However, if you are on wireless we recommend you listen to the audio over a phone line as VOIP technology is not as stable on a wireless connection.

Recommended equipment

  • Pentium III 733mhz+ or equivalent
  • Operating system: Windows 2000, XP, Vista
  • Browser: For optimal viewing experience, we recommend using Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher.  For Netscape, only versions 4.x are supported at this time.
  • Mac users are encouraged to use Firefox 2.0 (or later) with Flash to view the webcast. You can also test your system using the system test button in menu on the left hand side.

Questions

If you have questions about the program, or have any technical difficulties, please contact writingwebinars@fwmedia.com.

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