December 18, 2017

What’s Your Memoir Worth?

Over the years I’ve had quite a few clients who’ve expressed their frustration, sadness, and sometimes shame that their writing wasn’t bringing in any money. It’s a real concern for a lot of writers who carve out time, shell out lots of money for support (coaches, classes, conferences), and who may end up self-publishing and paying even more for their work to get published and out into the world. Despite these niggling feelings of guilt many writers get from time to time (or maybe they plague … [Read more...]

Balancing Craft and Vulnerability when Writing a Memoir

How often I've said jokingly, "Writing a memoir is like taking your clothes off in public." True, but it doesn't go far enough. It's like taking your clothes off and reading your journal in public. You're vulnerable all the time, you feel overwhelmed—there are so many stories! Where to start? Which to choose? There's an endless chatter that many beginning writers find hard to deal with. You can't just silence it—the questions posed are important. They're the questions you need to answer, such … [Read more...]

Who Are You Writing For?

I recently interviewed Julia Scheeres, author of the fantastic and must-read memoir, Jesus Land, and A Thousand Lives. During the interview, which you can access below, I asked her the following question: “Do you imagine or envision a reader, or have a reader in mind while you write?” Her answer: “Never.” To say this totally caught me off-guard is an understatement. I just assumed that writers like Julia Scheeres, who’ve had major commercial success (her book was a New York Times bestseller) … [Read more...]

What Makes Wild Special

Wild is everywhere these days, and so it’s no surprise that Cheryl Strayed keynoted at the San Miguel de Allende Writers’ Conference, which kicked off last night. And she was great. What strikes me most about Cheryl is her presence. She’s authentic and real. She is the character you meet and grow to care about in Wild. But Wild has become much bigger than Cheryl Strayed at this point. It’s one of those rare memoirs that has launched into the stratosphere and become the next big memoir that … [Read more...]

How to Find Your Happy Middle Ground

Balance is almost impossible to achieve in our culture. In my work with writers, it’s the struggle to find balance that seems to throw the biggest curve ball. Most writers have a goal to complete a book, and then to someday publish. And yet that process can sometimes take years, and even the best of us can start to lose steam, to lose hope. I work with writers who write prolifically and every day, and yet they don’t have any truly finished pieces to show for it. I work with others who can … [Read more...]

Give Yourself Permission

Linda Joy and I talk incessantly about permission-giving when it comes to writing memoir. It’s one of the most important things writers of memoir need to allow themselves in order to write. Many writers who want to write memoir find themselves stuck right out the gate, grappling with voices both internal and external: Who gives you the right to write that? What if that’s not how it really happened? You’re not supposed to talk about your family that way. We’ve both heard these messages and … [Read more...]

Memoir Writing Tips | Your Journey to MemoirLand

  Memoir is a very popular genre right now, one that draws people from all ages and all levels of experience. It's truly a grass roots movement about the passion to tell and share our stories. When we write a memoir, we embark upon a journey—to the land of memory, to the heart of who we are and were, to the past, and to discovery--of aspects of ourselves, of new insights into our family and the times. We honor those we loved, and we name things that were never named. The memoir becomes an … [Read more...]