From the time I was old enough to form letters on a page, I have written. My childhood best friend tells me I would sit at my little desk and write stories, always dreaming of becoming a published writer. Starting at such a young age, one would think I would have published a book long ago, but it took me decades for my desire to write a book to become stronger than my critic, doubts, and insecurities.
In 2010, I wrote my life’s story, and when I read it, I realized it was “flat.” I learned that recognizing good writing in others does not necessarily translate into creating a good book. I went online and contacted an author who had published a New York Times Best Selling memoir and began to study with her. Eventually, she started an online group, which I joined, and through the process of producing eight pages a week, the story of my relationship with my mother the last years of her life was born and wouldn’t let go. Eventually, I began working with Linda Joy Myers, who taught me the value of digging deeper than I thought possible, and through our work, I finally achieved my childhood dream.
I am a great example of never too late to fulfill your dreams. My first published book, The Space Between: A Memoir of Mother-Daughter Love at the End of Life, birthed into the world when I was sixty-six years old. I learned a lot along the way and am honored to share some of this hard-earned “wisdom” with you:
- The importance of discovering the real story underneath the one you think you’re writing.
- Memoir is more than writing a story—it’s a treasure hunt for our deepest self and for the right words to express what we find.
- Editing is your friend.
- Find a good—no, great—writing coach
- Writing memoir is a painful healing journey—why it’s worth it!
Virginia A. Simpson, Ph.D. FT has 35 years of experience working with the dying and grieving. In 1995, she founded The Mourning Star Center for grieving children and their families and for the next ten years, she trained all facilitators and led groups for children, teens, widowed adults, and bereaved parents. Simpson has a Ph.D. in psychology, holds a Fellowship in Thanatology from the Association for Death Education & Counseling, and is Executive Counseling Director for hundreds of funeral homes throughout the U.S. and Canada. Simpson is the author of the award winning The Space Between: A Memoir of Mother-Daughter Love at the End of Life.
2015-2016 Winner Sarton Story Circle (Memoir)
2016-2017 Winner Readers Views Award: Memoir/Autobiography/Biography
2016-2017 Winner Readers’ Choice Award: Best From West Pacific Regional
2017 Winner Independent Press Award: Relationships
2017 Second Place Northern California Publishers and Authors Second Place: Memoir
2017 Northern California Publishers and Authors Second Place: Book Cover
2017 Winner Bronze Readers’ Favorite Book Award: Memoir
2017 Finalist International Book Awards: Autobiography/Memoir
2016 Finalist, National Indie Excellence Awards: Memoir