September 23, 2020

About Linda Joy Myers

Enliven Your Memoir with Sensual Details

When we write memoir, we’re creating a story, and re-creating moments in our lives rich in detail, experienced through the body. But sometimes we forget or don’t yet grasp just how much we need to bring forward those details so the reader can live that experience alongside us. Writing stories means that our task is to create “real life” experiences a reader can participate in, that reach into their hearts and minds. How do we do this trick? Create that kind of intimacy? The secret: write scenes … [Read more...]

Getting to What Matters Quickly and Succinctly

What’s your focus and what’s your point? These are the most important questions you can ask as you start to unwind the threads of your life in your memoir. Brevity forces us to think about the best words or brief phrases that express a complex story. When writers are asked, “What’s your memoir about?” Brooke and I observe that oftentimes the responses can be a meandering attempt to find the heart of the story, often missing the essence of the message they want to convey. Publishers and … [Read more...]

Memoir Writing Is Not an Act of War

Writing a memoir is not an act of war, but it can seem that way to our family. When our “truths” are other people’s “lies” that they need to believe, when the larger than life stories are skewed or downright wrong—some people look askance at any story that does not agree with their own version. Family members are like slices of a pie, seeing the center through a different lens. It’s a war when families fight over what “really” happened, and this can go on and on, for generations. Memoirists … [Read more...]

How to Craft the Beginning of Your Story

    As readers, we all have the experience of trying to find our bearings as we begin a story. To get “inside” the story that’s beginning, we readers are curious about who the main characters are, and we’re eager to learn about them—to learn why we are being told this story about these people. Early in a story, we’re getting grounded in where we are—literally—on the planet, in the world, and in the geography of place.  We need to know the time frame for the story, too. That’s the who, … [Read more...]

15 Tips for Mining Your Memories

  Memoirs are woven from memories, but many memoirists I talk to wonder if they have enough memories, or if their memories are “correct.” The important thing is to understand that memories can't be measured or proven correct. What you remember is your raw material for creating your memoir--and there are a lot of ways to enhance your memories. It can be helpful to do "research"-- to gather with others and share memories around the table, to pore over family photo albums, reminiscing and … [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...]

The Joy of Freewriting Scenes and Themes

  “All this plotting and planning makes me feel that I’m just using my left brain. I miss my freewriting!” said one of my students the other day. Yes, we all know that great feeling when we are in flow. It’s like a drug, and it’s also the feeling of being exactly in the center of our creative energy, which is one reason we love to write. But if we only freewrite, we end up with bunches of pages that have nowhere to live. We get lost in the middle of our story and don't know how to get out. … [Read more...]

From Starting your Memoir Journey to the Muddy Middle–And Onward!

  What a joy it has been this month teaching people how to get started writing their memoir! There's nothing like over a dozen people with stories they want to capture and publish to create an amazing vortex of energy. We feel that teaching gives us great gifts as well. Each story and person needs focused answers for their specific problems. We learn about the stumbling blocks that get in the way--from overwhelm to worries about family reactions.  We learn about people with stories that go back … [Read more...]

Three Stages of Memoir Writing

    When you write a memoir, the journey will change you. There is no way that we can encounter art, the imagination, and our inner psyches without being changed by the experience. And just like any journey, it shifts our perspective on life and on ourselves. You will not be the same person who began the journey.   As poet T. S. Eliot wrote in his wonderful poem “Four Quartets” You are not the same people who left that station Or who will arrive at any terminus. … [Read more...]

Begin your Memoir by Mining Your Memories

  Writers often struggle with the issue of memory: do I have enough memories to write a memoir? Are my memories “correct?” Do I have a right to remember things the way I do even if people disagree with me. There’s no such thing as correct memory, Memory is about perception and interpretation. Everyone’s view of an event is like a slice of pie—each section looks toward the middle from a different angle. Everyone in a family would write a different memoir—if they dared! The first step in … [Read more...]