Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Why Write Your Memoir? Why Take My Workshop?

On Friday, I was honored to be the guest speaker at the Wood River Jewish Community annual women’s luncheon in Ketchum, Idaho. The primary focus of my presentation: to promote the workshop I’ll be leading in January entitled, “Writing Your Life: Beyond Journaling.” The workshop will meet three times for two and a half hours each session. Enthusiasm seemed high but a subdued level of reluctance was in the air!

There are an unlimited number of reasons to write our memoirs. I've organized my workshops for anyone and everyone who has motivation and interest - for writers who've written volumes to those who have written little else besides checks and to those who write in journals regularly or rarely.

So often people express enthusiasm and interest, curiosity about and an intense desire in writing their memoirs yet, at the same time when given the opportunity, become reluctant to participate in a workshop. Regardless of how old we are - how self-confident and accomplished, there’s still that element of worry that lingers from childhood, too much concern about what others might think of our writing, of our stories, or even whether our stories merit writing about.

So all up, reluctance to write our “truths” isn’t really about being shy or inexperienced but about an overwhelming concern of how our writing and stories might measure up. So many “wanna-be” memoir writers make the same comment to me, “But I haven’t done anything special, nothing traumatic has happened to me. No one would care about my stories. “
In my effort to convince a roomful of women to sign up for my memoir writing workshop, I assembled a list of ten very persuasive reasons why everyone should write memoirs. One qualifier: memoirs are not necessarily written only with publication as our goal.

(Yes, I presented 10 but the reasons are in the hundreds!)

1. Writing your memoir helps you discover who you are and how you got to your present place in life.

2. When you write about your life, others learn life lessons from reading your work.

3. Writing about your life increases your self-esteem because the process of remembering long-forgotten events enables you to share with your siblings, your children and grandchildren.

4. Writing your own “truth” not anyone else’s is entirely about perceptions – yours, and consequently can be very liberating.

5. Writing your memoir provides you with the means to save your memories, can result in added insight and offers a vehicle by which to share your memories.

6. The process of writing about your life increases brain activity as you search your memories. The process of trying to remember specifics stimulates brain activity which helps grow neurons.

7. Journaling and life-writing has proven to be therapeutic and healing; it helps resolve dilemmas, focus your goals and vision and can lead you to recreate yourself.

8. Writing enhances creativity but writing about your life encourages you to become a better observer of your family and of your surroundings.

9. Writing your memoir provides a great sense of accomplishment.

10. Your memoir – regardless of its style, is your legacy, your kids’ and grand-kids  legacies, and provides a connecting thread between our pasts and futures.

But more than anything - our stories make us human because our stories have universality.
Einstein is credited with once having said,

   “ The universe is made not of atoms but of stories!”

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