Currently Browsing: NAMW

A New Year in Writing—Finding your Courage

Happy New Year—it’s 2017! I like to begin the year, not exactly with a list of resolutions, but with ways to feel inspired. For many, it was a tempestuous fall season with the election and a lot of emotions that were stirred up by national and international events. Many of my writing friends told me that they comforted themselves with their creative passions, that they threw themselves into their writing as a way to create something positive that made them feel good. Writing is a way to cope with the past and the present, a way to meditate on what has meaning to us, and it can help us find a perspective about where we stand, what we think and feel. Writing invites us to express ourselves with freedom and safety, especially if we are writing first for ourselves. When we decide to make our work public, we then move into another realm of exposure and intent—which can also be rewarding, even when it’s challenging emotionally to do so. I hope you feel satisfaction in your writing, whether it’s in your journal, a blog, or chapters of your book. Or perhaps you are submitting to online literary magazines, or to contests. There are so many ways to get your work in the world, and it’s always a brave decision to hit “send.”

If you are working on a memoir, you know that it’s an act of courage to get your story on the page. There is so much that we have to confront to find our way to a book. Sometimes we just need to start with a single moment, a single story and see how far we can get, to test how it feels to find the words to bring that moment to life. To write a book, we will be finding scene after scene that shows moments that are deeply meaningful to us, moments that shaped and changed our lives.

To write, and publish, a memoir, we need to wrestle with a bunch of demons too—worry about family and friends’ reaction to our story, whether or not we can find the words to adequately express what is in our hearts. I know from writing two memoirs—the new one Song of the Plains will be released in June of this year—how tough it is to dig through the past and to find the images that resonate—as a memoir is not a collection of facts but a work that explores meaning and helps us make sense of our experiences. When we do that well, the reader’s experience will parallel our own—they will take their own journey with us and reflect on challenges they’ve had and problems they’ve tried to understand and solve. When you can write a book that puts you in synch with your reader, you’re offering a profound gift to them. But of course, you have to be willing and able to take that journey yourself.

We’re kicking off the year in our first Roundtable discussion at NAMW with Dorit Sasson whose work is all about courage—the willingness to dig into her painful past and unearth her story. Join us to learn about the journey that inspired her memoir and what she’s learned from deciding to become a writer and author. The great thing about having authors that are not famous or well known-yet—is that their story can inspire you to fulfill your own dreams of authorship. You learn that it’s possible to start at the very beginning with hope and courage and create a writing life.


Jane Friedman at the Public NAMW Memoir Writing Roundtable Tele-conversation

I’m so excited to be able to have a conversation with Jane Friedman this Thursday September 2 at the free NAMW Memoir Writing Roundtable!   You simply need to register by clicking here to participate or receive a link via email to download the audio recording.  Jane is a contributing editor at Writer’s Digest, and an energetic, knowledgeable, and inspiring speaker. I told you about meeting her at a conference recently, and how she energized the room as she talked about creativity and publishing. Jane knows so much about how we need to shape and educate ourselves so we can succeed in the professional writing world.
The topic for this week is Evaluating your First Page for Red Flags. Jane will talk about how to take a long hard look at your writing, especially on the vital first page that agents and editors view.
Please join us! Your writing life will benefit from Jane’s experience and wisdom.


Poetry–the Door to a Healing Memoir

Poetry–so often this topic seems daunting. People whisper, “I’m no poet,” as they shrink from the subject. But on Friday, Mary Mackey, author of many award winning books, a memoir teacher, and a poet, regaled the National Association of Memoir Writers with her knowledge about poetry and creativity during our monthly teleseminar. She showed us how poetry can open the doors to our unconscious, invite new memories, and infuse our memoirs with the sensual details we need to create a good story.
I was enjoying this presentation so much because I began my own autobiographical journey by writing poetry, and produced a chapbook long ago called Songs of the Plains. Poetry allowed me to capture snippets of memory and snapshots of moments and landscapes when I was not ready to write the stories in prose.
She suggested that we view poetry as a brief and freeflowing way of opening the doors to memory and our memoir writing journey.
Mary showed us how three of her novels emerged from the raw material of one of her poems, and told us these tips:
1. Write in longhand, a direct link from the mind to the body.
2. Write quickly for twenty minutes without stopping. We enter a trancelike state that bypasses the inner critic.
3. Poetry gets us closer to the center of our creativity and stimulates the right brain.

Mary had much more to share, and the NAMW members that were on the line were mesmerized by her suggestions and even inspired to begin writing poetry. They can tune into the audio on our website to hear the whole teleseminar.
I agree with Mary–through my own experience writing poetry, reading to groups, and freeing my imagery
that my writing was enhanced by reading and writing poetry. I recommend that everyone try it!


13 Reasons to Write a Healing Memoir

We all know that writing our personal stories is a challenge–of heart, mind, and body. To wrestle with truth, history, and memory requires us to be brave as we dare to speak out after years of silence. For some, there is the sound of trumpets as the feeling of freedom and fullness of open up through the writing. For others, they hear the voice of the inner, and outer, critics. But they write anyway, and keep writing as a practice, a meditation, a dedication. Writing leads to more writing, insights, and memories.

It’s true that memoir writing challenges us, but it can be a good friend, this process, inviting us to become more of who we really are, to find the voice that is ours and ours alone.

“Re-member” means to bring together the different parts of ourselves, and find ourselves whole.

  1. Writing your deep truths frees you from the past and creates meaning out of chaos.
  2. Re-membering brings all parts of you together again.
  3. Writing with your own voice is empowering, story by story.
  4. Telling your truth frees you from shame and guilt.
  5. Your stories on the page will be different from the ones in your head.
  6. Writing a memoir is a transformational and spiritual path.
  7. Your story can help change others’ lives.
  8. Research proves that writing heals both body and mind.
  9. Creating a narrative where you are the “I” character and the narrator integrates the past and the present.
  10. Integrating who you are and bringing memories out of the darkness changes your brain.
  11. Writing and sharing your story breaks you out of isolation and connects you more deeply with the larger world.
  12. Becoming an author is empowering and inspiring, and frees you from the shadows.
  13. Getting published online, in an anthology or in your own book, are ways to get witnessed and move from victim to leader—showing others the way to healing and greater self-esteem.

 


13 Reasons to Write a Healing Memoir

We all know that writing our personal stories is a challenge–of heart, mind, and body. To wrestle with truth, history, and memory requires us to be brave as we dare to speak out after years of silence. For some, there is the sound of trumpets as the feeling of freedom and fullness of open up through the writing. For others, they hear the voice of the inner, and outer, critics. But they write anyway, and keep writing as a practice, a meditation, a dedication. Writing leads to more writing, insights, and memories.

It’s true that memoir writing challenges us, but it can be a good friend, this process, inviting us to become more of who we really are, to find the voice that is ours and ours alone.

“Re-member” means to bring together the different parts of ourselves, and find ourselves whole.

  1. Writing your deep truths frees you from the past and creates meaning out of chaos.
  2. Re-membering brings all parts of you together again.
  3. Writing with your own voice is empowering, story by story.
  4. Telling your truth frees you from shame and guilt.
  5. Your stories on the page will be different from the ones in your head.
  6. Writing a memoir is a transformational and spiritual path.
  7. Your story can help change others’ lives.
  8. Research proves that writing heals both body and mind.
  9. Creating a narrative where you are the “I” character and the narrator integrates the past and the present.
  10. Integrating who you are and bringing memories out of the darkness changes your brain.
  11. Writing and sharing your story breaks you out of isolation and connects you more deeply with the larger world.
  12. Becoming an author is empowering and inspiring, and frees you from the shadows.
  13. Getting published online, in an anthology or in your own book, are ways to get witnessed and move from victim to leader—showing others the way to healing and greater self-esteem.

 


« Previous Entries

Powered by Wordpress | Designed by Elegant Themes