Spiritual Autobiography and Healing Memoir Workshops led by Linda Joy Myers, President of National Association of Memoir Writers.
New Memoir Workshops starting in March and April!
You may not see your memoir as healing or spiritual, but these terms refer to the amazing process that all memoir writers go through when writing and reflecting on their lives. It does not have to mean a terrible childhood or any particular trauma, though these aspects of life touch many of us in some way.
Writing a memoir is fun, challenging, and meaningful. There is great freedom in expressing the unexpressed. It is a journey and you need companions. See my article on the journey of memoir writing here.
Some of the questions I’m asked about my online/teleworkshops.
- What is a spiritual autobiography? It is a memoir? Does it have to be religious?
A spiritual autobiography/healing memoir is a way to explore who you are, your philosophy of life, your journey through life. It is more than “What I did on my summer vacation” though any work can have humor and irony in it. Writing a memoir is to encounter meaning, your thoughts and feelings about life. Mark Matousek said in one of our member teleseminars, “All memoirs are spiritual memoirs.”
- Can you write a healing memoir and still get published?
Everyone’s first draft, initial encounter with memoir involves reflecting on the past, and many people find this immensely cathartic and helpful in putting things into perspective. Any memoir teacher who has actually written their own memoir—not all have done this—will tell you that it is a surprising and an amazing journey that opened up worlds of insight and healing for them. It’s helpful to have a guide for your journey someone who has written memoir and who understands the process of finding the threads of truth and bringing them to the light.
- Where do I begin?
A whole life is overwhelming and complex. We are all complex! To write a memoir can feel so daunting people don’t start. Starting is simple: start with the major stories that speak to you, the memories that flood your mind as you think about your life. Think about the lessons you learned, the teachers and loved ones who affected you the most. Write a character sketch about them. Write about the most important day of your life. Here is one of the tools I use in the class that can help you figure out where to begin. Xxxxxxxx
- Can I really write the truths that I need to explore—it’s kind of scary.
Writing your truths one at a time is a way to keep this manageable. Just listen to your own inner voice and don’t listen to the inner critic. In the workshop we work with the inner critic and help keep it at bay. We support you in your quest for truth.
- Will you help me find out if what I’m writing is interesting to other people?
Almost everyone begins with doubt. The purpose of the workshop is to help YOU see your story as the jewel that it is, and to support you in your writing life to WRITE!
- How does the online Teleworkshop work?
We gather once a week on the phone, and send our work out to class members weekly through email. The feedback is supportive as well as full of useful writing techniques and tips. I am the guide and help the group honor and support each other’s emotional journey as well as learning writing techniques and developing your voice and your courage.
I hope this information is helpful to you. If you have other questions please email me email@example.com
The NEXT Monday Workshop begins April, 2, 2012
1 PM PST | 2 PM MST | 3 PM CST | 4 PM EST
TUESDAY Begins March 27
3 PST | 4 PM MST | 5 PM CST | 6 PM EST
How it Works
Write your story for that week, and email it to the workshop members. Write your feedback to each participant, and email it to all of us. Weekly conference calls are audio taped so you can listen to feedback later and keep learning. Handouts are sent by email.
The Goal of our Workshops
The goal of these workshops is to deepen your progress with your memoir, and to develop fictional techniques such as dialogue, scenes, point of view and structure. Developing new writing skills and getting support for your ongoing learning is a good reason to take an online workshop. Perhaps you have written some vignettes and now are ready for feedback.
Writers work alone, and eventually need to find out what others think of our work. You might have been journaling for a long time, but now you are ready to put your memories into story form, whether for your own personal satisfaction or to create a legacy for your family.
In these workshops we send the stories and feedback to the whole group through email, then gather at the appointed time through a conference call to discuss the stories, develop the ideas and questions that have arisen during the week, and talk about new techniques as needed. We offer supportive feedback to help you develop your work. It is not a critique group, but a workshop that helps you to keep writing and offers help in understanding both the content of the stories as well as new techniques to develop your skills.
You receive the audio tape these calls to help you remember the feedback and discussion.
The following ideas are part of the workshop sessions:
- What is one of your favorite stories? Would you like to develop it further?
- What time frame have you covered in your early vignettes? Place them on the timeline to get a visual image of the quilt of your memoir.
- Character sketches: Choose some of the people you have sketched and create a more complete scene with them. Learning about scene writing is ongoing.
- Do you struggle with writing your truth?
- Learn about quilting your vignettes into a larger work.
- Does your inner critic bother you? Learn new techniques to help silence the inner critic.
- Write about landscapes and places that are part of your soul.
- Editing: We teach you gently how to become your own editor.
- Revision—means “seeing again.” Writing means revision, an important skill as you grow as a writer.
- Organization: we will discuss how to organize and keep track of your vignettes. This is an important part of ongoing writing.
- Plot, showing, telling, and reflection in memoir.
- What’s the heart of your story? Do you know your themes? These become clearer as you write.
PLEASE EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org PRIOR TO ENROLLING TO MAKE SURE SPACE IS AVAILABLE!
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Testimonials for this workshop:
Re-membering through memoir writing patched together important pieces of myself long ago forgotten or abandoned. After several rounds of classes under Linda Joy Myers’ priceless guidance, all of me is finally snuggled well into my body, mind, and spirit. Prior to Linda Joy’s memoir classes, I never would have called myself a writer, Now, I can say with pride and certainty that I am indeed, a writer.
—-Author Dawn Novotny
Linda Joy is an inspirational mentor who truly makes a difference and convinces you to believe in yourself and your story…..Linda Joy always provides compassionate and meaningful support and expert guidance and direction.
—-Author Kathy Pooler
“Through a string of semester long writing sessions, Linda Joy’s coaching has served as an invaluable service for me. As an absolutely frustrated and floundering memoir writing novice, she continually guided me into a productive direction through teaching the art of writing. In addition, listening to her frequent teleseminars with established memoirists and other writing coaches, has also, in some way, led me to the next stepping stone.
Thank you, Linda Joy, for imparting your patience and knowledge to this
formerly frustrated and floundering writer.”
–Lisa Mae DeMasi