Be Inspired, Not Intimidated

As writers, some of your best mentors are successful writers in your genre. But you have to read them! Stephen King says, “If you want to be a writer you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

The Spirit of the Times

Everyday pleasures. My neon green transistor radio. The stack of '45s I played on my turntable—the Temptations, the Jackson 5. Monday nights watching Laugh-In. Bazooka Bubble Gum. Astro Pops. Fizzies. It's a 1960s childhood. I flattened my…

Make Your "Fertile 50" List

It's springtime in Texas, when the bluebonnets are in bloom and women from around the country come together for a conference in Austin to learn more about lifewriting. It's the "Stories from the Heart" conference of the national organization…

Naming Names: Truth in Memoir

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Shakespeare shot Cupid’s bow many a time with the ageless romance of those lines, and he makes a good point: Whatever you may call someone, they…

What Do You Know?

Recently, a woman I know received a surprise in the mail. A relative of nearly 90 years old had sent a photograph she’d never seen before. It was an old black and white family photo that raised more questions than gave answers — and…

Memoir Writing Is Beautiful, Hard Work

Have you heard the Zen saying: Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water? Replace “before enlightenment” with “to be a good writer” and you’ll have the formula.

Writing "Just for Family"?

This topic has been on my mind for — well, almost twenty years. When I started teaching memoir back in 1996, twenty-two people circled a big table at the local junior college. Stories so ready to tell poured out of them. Some of those stories…

Revising: See With New Eyes

It all starts with the first draft. A first draft gives you something to work with so you can get to where you want to go. It’s a necessary step, and hardly the last one.
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Dreaming It Real

Today I heard author Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul and many others) speak. This biggest-ever bestselling author — Canfield has had 47 separate titles on the New York Times bestseller’s list since 1976 — talked about growing…

Three Easy Tips

What's new in your life? Whatever is new in your life makes a great writing topic. It’s where the energy is. Even if you’re already working on something else, try this: 1. Make a list of what’s new in your life right now — the…