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Lynda Monk, MSW, RSW, CPCC

How Journaling Can Help You Write Your Memoir

May 21, 2021 
11 AM PDT  | 12 PM MDT  | 1 PM CDT  | 2 PM EDT

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I have been working on my adoptee memoir on and off for over 20 years. I started working on it after I found and reunited with my biological mother. I have thousands and thousands of words written. The writing is a labour of love that takes a lot of emotional presence.  It takes spaciousness for the heart to process and listen to what wants to be said.

There is also a lot of grief that slows me down and speeds me up all at once in the writing. Including my sadness that I really wanted this memoir to be a love letter, in part to my adoptive parents, a messy love letter, but nonetheless, a love letter. Sadly, in the time I’ve been working on this project, my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and he died nearly 4 years ago now.  The year he died my mother was diagnosed with this same unmerciful disease. The two readers that mattered most to me, will no longer be able to receive this story.

There’s a part in this memoir-in-progress where I talk about forced forgetting and forced remembering.  My birth mother – and many other young women in the home for unwed moms during the late 1960’s – were told to forget that their babies were ever born, they were told to forget the unforgettable. When my Dad was declining with Alzheimer’s, I witnessed him try to force himself to remember who I was, his only daughter. A memory and knowing that did eventually escape him.

During this teleseminar, I will share with you how my journal writing practice is central to writing this memoir, a manuscript I aspire to complete in 2022.  Memoir writing involves making choices, mining our memories, deciding what gets said and what doesn’t.  Most of all, it requires a willingness to know who we are, as does journal writing.  Life writing involves being curious about not just where we come from, but it also strives to shape who we are becoming as a result of the stories and experiences that influence our lives.

There are many differences between journaling and memoir writing, and there are similarities too.  The raw material in our journals can inform the heart and details of our memoir. But we need to have some ideas and strategies for working between both genres of personal writing to tap into the rich and mutually beneficial potential in both.

During this teleseminar, you will: 

  • Discover tips for using journaling to write your memoir
  • Consider how journaling builds courage for memoir writing
  • Learn how Lynda’s journal is central to crafting her memoir
  • Reflect on the importance of clarity and craft as a memoir writer
  • Be inspired to journal in support of your memoir writing

Lynda Monk, MSW, RSW, CPCC is the Director of the International Association for Journal Writing (http://IAJW.org). She is the co-author of Writing Alone Together: Journaling in a Circle of Women for Creativity, Compassion and Connection, as well as contributing author to the international bestseller Inspiration for a Woman’s Soul: Choosing Happiness. She is also the author of Life Source Writing: A Reflective Journaling Practice for Self-Discovery, Self-Care, Wellness and Creativity and producer of the Creative Wellness Guided Meditations. Lynda is the co-editor, with Eric Maisel, of two forthcoming books including Transformational Journaling for Coaches, Counsellors and Clients: A Complete Guide to the Benefits of Personal Writing (Routledge, 2021) and THE GREAT BOOK OF JOURNALING: 40 of the World’s Top Journaling Experts Show You EXACTLY How to Take Your Personal Writing to the Next Level! (Mango, 2022).

Lynda regularly teaches and speaks on the healing and transformational power of journaling and life writing. She lives on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia on the West Coast of Canada with her husband, Peter, their two teen sons, Jackson and Jesse, and their beloved Golden Retriever, Sadie.  She is currently writing Surrender: an adoptee’s search for identity leads her home within herself.

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