Welcome to the New Year at the National Association of Memoir Writers! Two weeks into the year, I am hearing a lot from writers about how they want to get their memoir done this year—which is a great goal to have. Here at NAMW, we do our best to help you achieve your goals by selecting some of the best experts in the field of writing, marketing, publicity, and publishing to talk with us at the member teleseminars and on our free Roundtable discussions.
And most of you know that every year, we have two huge free events: the all-day Telesummit, a teleconference that offers you connection live on the day of the event with the experts so you can ask your specific questions, and free audios afterward for your resources. All NAMW members have access to all our previous teleseminars for the last five years—there are over 120 to choose from!
What skills do you need to get your memoir done?
- Accountability—get a writing buddy to be your partner in helping you keep track of how much time you spend writing. Send each other your calendar each week.
- Perseverance—writing regularly helps you keep the threads of your story fresh; write 15 minutes a day, or 2 pages a day. Over time, that will add up to a memoir.
- Inspiration—we all need to be freshly inspired. Note what keeps your spirits up when you’re writing—is it caffeine, music in the background, writing at a café, planning to attend a book event, signing up for an online seminar. Feed the artist in you!
- Support—memoir writers need a tribe to help connect and conspire to get your writing on the page. It’s almost impossible to write without a group, best friend, or coach to keep you going in the fallow moments when it all seems too much. NAMW as a group for members, and a non-member group on Facebook—lots of members are on there too! If you “friend” me on Facebook, you’ll see that groups I belong to, and you can join too.
- Training—being a memoirist is like being an apprentice—you’re in training for a while learning the tools of the trade, the skills of craft that make your story really sing. Read writing books, take courses, enter contests, submit your work, and write, write, write. That’s how you develop as a writer—being open to the process of development.
I wish you the best for your creative life this year! See you on the Roundtables and teleseminars!
President of the National Association of Memoir Writers
Magic Marketing for Memoir–It’s Never Too Late or Too Early to Do Right by Your Book January 18, 2013
11 AM PST 12 PM MST 1 PM CST 2 PM EST
Too many memoirists and others who write in literary genres like poetry have come to believe that marketing or promotion won’t work for them. Worse, that it can’t be done. Worse still, that it is counter to their artistic intent. How do you feel about marketing? Does it make your heart beat harder? It’s time to get in the flow of positive thinking about getting your book, and yourself, into the world.
Some of our greatest writers and artists have been master marketers. Think Mark Twain, Dickens, Andy Warhol, Peter Max. Think, too, how many more people they reached and inspired because they were good at reaching out to people. Won’t you join us to learn how you can get over your barriers to being a magic marketer?
During this teleseminar you will learn:
- How to get over your fear of publicity and marketing
Teleworkshop time: Thursdays, 3 PM PST/6 PM EST.
Workshop leader: Linda Joy Myers
Begins: Thursday January 17-March 21
$390.00 for NAMW members
We have room for one or two more people in this intimate workshop starting January 17th. Classes are always small, no more than six, usually 3-5 people. Your work is read and commented on each week, and each week we meet on the phone to discuss feedback, skills, process, and questions about memoir writing.
In different hours, a man represents each of several of his ancestors, as if there were seven or eight of us rolled up in each man’s skin,—seven or eight ancestors at least, and they constitute the variety of notes for that new piece of music which his life is. Ralph Waldo Emerson
The journey of writing a memoir includes learning how to stay on the path of your project and having faith in the process. Having a special time and place to gather with others who are writing deeply confessional, exploratory, and adventuresome memoirs is important. It’s almost impossible to write a memoir totally on your own. As an experienced memoir writer and mentor, I act as guide, teacher, and cheerleader for the group, and everyone supports each other with accountability and feedback.
This writing workshop invites you to explore your memoir writing project with craft tips, and guides you in the often challenging process of digging deep to find meaningful moments and a theme for your story. Writing a memoir is an exciting and deepening process which demands that you tune into both happy and not so happy memories, and enter your personal history again to become the narrator of your experiences, able to reflect and weave through time. A good memoir has a narrator that is going to go beyond “this happened, and that happened” to finding the meaning and message and making it clear for the reader.
However you need to feel you can write your first draft, fully supported to dump out whatever it is that’s been on your mind in terms of your story, and know that you can explore the light and the dark avenues in your life that have shaped you into who you are now.
The workshop includes these topics, and much more:
- Narrative structure—what is it, how to develop your structure
- What is included in a chapter
- A healing and/or spiritual memoir—what is it?
- How to write good scenes
- Weaving scenes and narration
- How language and thought weave to create a great story
- Memories—yours or theirs?
- How to manage the inner and outer critic
- Outlining vs. freewriting—which kind of writer are you?
- Exploring layers of truth
If you are interested in joining this workshop, please contact Linda Joy at firstname.lastname@example.org. to set up a time to discuss your work before class begins.
San Francisco Writing Conference
February 14-17, 2013
Mark Hopkins InterContinental Hotel, San Francisco
Want to meet dozens of famous authors and chat with hundreds of your colleagues who are writing, publishing, and excited about becoming an author. This is the place to meet EVERYONE!
There are so many craft, publicity and marketing, and inspirational classes, fantastic lunches and snacks, and so many moments to connect with authors you admire, fellow writers, network with other writers and agents, and generally have a great time! What better place could you spend your time but on top of Nob Hill at the Mark Hopkins Hotel. Gather your buddies and go to the Top of the Mark and discuss your new marketing strategy. This conference always buzzes with the excitement of eager volunteers, presenters, authors, agents, publishers, editors, and writers. See you there! I’ll be on a memoir panel, and sharing my two new books Don’t Call Me Mother—A Daughter’s Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness, and Journey of Memoir—Three Stages of Memoir Writing—a workbook.
Tips for making the most out of attending a writing conference
- It’s as important to network with other upcoming writers as the big names. We all need to support each other on our path to success with our writing lives. Collect cards and emails from people at your lunch table, workshop buddies and at the coffee bar. Connect and share resources. You can make lifelong friends at a writing conference.
- Wear your professional hat when you approach authors, agents, and editors. Of course, you already know that you want to make a good impression, and that means don’t inhale the space around the author. Be polite, and consider how many people come up to them wanting something. Be gracious, and offer to connect later if they seem busy.
- Have an open mind about learning new ideas, even if you don’t agree with a presenter. You never know where or when your next new amazing idea for social media, a pitch proposal, or new book might come from.
- Take notes and photos, as people are willing, to post on your blog, Facebook page—yes you should have one as you build your platform—or on Twitter or LinkedIn. Show that you are out there connecting and building your network.
- Notice how presenters discuss the publishing and marketing world, language, assumptions, trends. Take notes. There’s a huge shift in publishing now, so learn what’s happening that will affect your choices.
- Have fun. Celebrate your creativity and that of all the writers around you. You can have fun and learn at the same time.
Learn more here.
POST-CONFERENCE SFWU CLASSES AT SFWC
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2013
Mark Hopkins InterContinental Hotel, San Francisco
9:00 am – Noon
FROM MEMORY TO MEMOIR: THE THREE STAGES OF MEMOIR WRITING – $99
Linda Joy Myers
Writing a memoir is a journey, from the snapshots of memory to a story that offers the reader powerful themes and messages that are entertaining and life changing. And what a journey it is, starting with your passion to write your story, making your way through the “Muddy Middle,” and finally getting to “The End.”
Memoir writers need answers to these kinds of questions:• Where do I begin?
• What about my family?
• What is my truth and dare I write it?
• How do I structure my memoir?
• How do I go from writer to author with a memoir in this market?
• Do I have to learn about social media?
• Why would someone want to read my story?
• And more…
This workshop will take you through the stages of memoir writing. We will discuss these important topics, and do exercises to clarify your memoir and its message, where to begin, and how to find your themes. We will discuss truth, lies, and secrets, and how to manage family and inner critic voices. Structure, the narrative arc, and how to decide what publishing path you want will fill these three hours with information that you need to write and publish your memoir. Learn more here.
Memoir Book Release!
Don’t Call Me Mother—A Daughter’s Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness
My memoir Don’t Call Me Mother—A Daughter’s Journey from Abandonment to Forgiveness is being released on Amazon! I’m pleased that my book can have a new life with SheWritesPress. It’s a story about three generations of mothers who abandoned their daughters, and how I changed this pattern. I wanted to offer the new generation a chance for happiness, and start a new way for mothers and daughters to love each other. Set in the Midwest, the wheat fields nurture me, and the wind whispers its secrets of hope and forgiveness. I’ll be posting parts of it on my blog, and will be blogging about the story and how I came to write this new edition on my blog tour this spring. Stay tuned for more!
Praise for Don’t Call Me Mother
In this new edition of her memoir, Linda Joy Myers illustrates just how powerful the combination of memory confronted, forgiveness offered, and new love expressed, can be. What I admire most is the way the author takes you to the prairie land of the Midwest — where forgiveness becomes “a feather on my heart, as natural as the plains wind.”
–Shirley Showalter, former president of Goshen College, author of the blog I Have a Story
With poetically visceral prose, Linda Joy Myers tells of her relentless work to emerge from an abandoned and abused child to a forgiving and loving daughter, mother, and grandmother. This must-read memoir brings her raw dark secrets to life. I couldn’t tear myself away. –Madeline Sharples, author of Leaving the Hall Light On
The new afterword pulls back the veil and lays bare the actual healing power of memoir…I felt I was witnessing transformation.
–Kathleen Adams LPC, Author, Journal to the Self