Linda Joy Meyers and The Power of Memoir Giveaway!

The WOW! Women on Writing Blog Tour is stopping by Cathy C’s Hall of Fame today with Linda Joy Meyers and her recently released The Power of Memoir. And that’s a good thing. Because not only do you get to share Linda Joy’s insightful thoughts about Accidental Enlightenment, but you also get a chance to win her wonderful how-to book!

Let’s see what Linda Joy has to say on writing in Accidental Enlightenment:

As a memoir writer and therapist, I’m always on the lookout for the small slices of life that make a story. Whether we realize it or not, we weave small stories as we go about our everyday life. What happens on an ordinary day as you drive to the store? You could have a lovely ride where you see all the beauty of the world-red roses and yellow tulips, a beautiful dog, smiling children; or if you’re having a bad day, you might have a small rear-end accident, irritating, but you’re grateful that no one was hurt. A trip to the store could change your life-meeting someone new that clicks, or encountering an old enemy that sends you careening into dark places you thought you’d escaped.

No matter what we’re doing in life, there are many ways to understand the meaning of certain moments, especially the accidental ones. This is also true with writing.You might start a piece about a lovely memory-a summer day when you picked blackberries, then find yourself writing about a scary man or a tornado or your dead grandmother, or the time you were punished for breaking a dish-memories you’d forgotten for years. Some writers feel a little bit crazy or like they are doing it “wrong” when they begin in one place and end up in another, especially when they find one of their darker stories sitting down at the writing table like an uninvited guest.

The “accidental” writing is an opportunity, if you choose to view it that way, a chance to look deeply into our souls, a chance to heal and soothe old wounds. But we need to be willing to serve the dark guest at the table, to ask questions whose answers we are not sure we want to hear. After a while, you may find yourself writing in your gratitude journal. Writing can turn us around like that.

If you sit down and write for 10 minutes, not stopping to answer the phone or listen to the whispers of the inner critic, you can create a space for something new to happen. You might think you know what you plan to write, but what if something different comes out? Can you take a chance to let some other part of yourself step in and express the “something else” of your life?

You could begin with: “I remember…” Another writing session: “The best day of my life was…” And, “I wish it had been different…”

As you can see by these prompts, you begin to create an open space where you discover stories and yourself. Allow your hand, your mind, and the story to lead you to an accidental encounter with yourself, with the truths of your life.

One of the foremost researchers in the area of writing as healing, Dr. James Pennebaker says, “Story is a way of knowledge.” This is a very exciting idea, because it means that we don’t have to know what we are going to say. That we can count on the greater wisdom of our deeper self to take us where we need to go. Just as on that car trip, we can find ourselves in unexpected places. Don’t worry about getting stuck. if you keep writing, you will find your way to where you need to go, accidentally enlightened by your writing and your stories.

Write for ten minutes today, and discover yourself!

I LOVE this idea! I’m kinda crazy about Linda Joy Meyers, too, though we haven’t met. She’s been a therapist for 27 years, and she’s used this experience, as well as her MFA in creative writing from Mills College, to conduct workshops on healing and writing. And this work has influenced her ground-breaking book, The Power of Memoir.

Inside its pages, you’ll find the steps you need to take to write your healing story. Steps like “Understanding Your Reasons for Writing” or “Organizing the Narrative Arc.” But you’ll also find answers to questions about publishing, and you’ll read stories from workshop writers.

But what I like best about this powerful how-to book is that you don’t need to write a 60,000 word memoir to appreciate what Linda Joy has to say. Maybe you just want to write a 1,000 word essay. But you want to get to the heart of your writing. The Power of Memoir can lead you there, 10 minutes at a time.

Okay, so now you’re wondering how you can get your hands on this book, right? Leave a comment. In fact, you can leave a comment anytime through Sunday, ’cause I know some of you don’t get a chance to stop by till the weekend. Monday morning, I’ll draw a name from the comments and some lucky writer will get The Power of Memoir. Oh, and leave me some contact info…either an email or your blog address, so that I can let you know you’ve won.

And finally, just so you know, no one paid anybody here at the Hall of Fame. I received a lovely copy of The Power of Memoir, which I’m giving away. So there.

24 thoughts on “Linda Joy Meyers and The Power of Memoir Giveaway!

  1. Great post! I think accidental enlightenment is as compelling as it is frustrating–when you want the story to go in a particular direction with a certain tone and something completely different ends up on the page.Toss my name in the hat for the drawing. =) I'd love to read what Linda says about organizing the narrative arc.

  2. When I started writing a memoir about teaching, I was surprised when a dark story about my husband's alcoholism surfaced and took over.He passed away when I had been teaching at a parochial school for only a year, and without the support system, I'm not sure where I would have ended up. Definitely made me stronger. Maybe someday I'll get back to the teaching memoir. So many funny stories worth sharing. Add my name to the drawing.

  3. Yes, there are so many "accidental" stories inside us, begging to be released. And, sometimes it's indeed very frustrating not to be able to control that darn story! It has a mind of its own, and wants to get something out that you often are not aware of.But sometimes we need to let it have its way, and other times, after we allow the writing to come out, we may still end up editing a couple of things so they come together in a new way. That might be another version of Accidental Enlightenment too!Keep writing!–Linda Joy

  4. This was a great article! I feel better about my memoir writing now that I've read what she said about starting off in one place and winding up in another. Thanks for posting this. Now I think I'll go Tweet it! 😉

  5. I often start an essay, thinking I'm writing about A, only to find that I'm actually writing about B. Or maybe C. The point is, as Linda said, I find some interesting things along the way.Good luck, y'all-I wish you could all win. But you know what they say-there can be only one. :-)And thanks, Linda Joy, for stopping by today. You know you can't win the book, right? 🙂

  6. Loved this! Funny timing too, because my blog post today was about a very ordinary life moment that turned into something much more special.Thanks for sharing about this book/author!

  7. A lot of people are drawn to memoir, but shy away for various reasons. If you are concerned about others reading your truths, just write privately for a time, don't tell anyone you're writing a memoir. Family and friends can get super curious once you tell them, and it's best to write without hearing them breathing on your neck!It's best to write in a bubble, except perhaps for your writing group–everyone there understands the mysteries of writing, and protect the little seedlings of your work.–Linda Joy

  8. Hi Cathy, Thanks for today's wonderful post. Hi Linda Joy,The concept of accidental enlightenment is fascinating. I will try using some of your prompts and see what happens.Donna Volkenannthttp//

  9. Hello, oh wonderful Cathy C.! Please enter my name!! I think I've already told you I'm writing a memoir, so I am very interested in this book. Linda Joy Meyers sounds like my kind of gal!

  10. Some of my favorite reads have been memoirs. Anne Lamott, Carrie Fisher, Annette Fix,etc. Some people are truly gifted and courageous.

  11. This looks like a great resource that I am eager to find out more about. I have recently launched a blog about valuing our memories more even as life's pace gets faster and faster. ( Joy's description of "small slices of life that make a story" really resonated with me as I have also recently undertaken a project to compile a mini biography of sorts for a living family member who is a decorated war veteran. My primary motivation in doing this is to make it available to some of his grandchildren that are much younger than the "first wave" of grandchildren who are now in their 30s. I can also appreciate the connection between writing and healing or soothing. In my case, it facilitated more organized, clear thought processes that has helped to weed out the unnecessary and focus on the essentials of a well lived life.Thanks for this recommendation!

  12. Congratulations on your book. From your article on accidental writing, I am anxious to read your book for more great info that I can use for my life story writing. Thanks.

  13. Hey, thanks for another great post. I love the term "accidental enlightenment". I jot down crazy stuff on a daily basis (in my little brown book) and find that one thought does lead to a dozen others that trigger heaven-knows-what. I love the analogy of the darker stories sitting at our table as an "uninvited guest". Well stated, and true.

  14. Wow–it's so great to read all these comments and find out what people are thinking about and trying to do with their personal stories. When I write, of course I hope that my work will resonate with people, so finding out that it does is very gratifying! It's my birthday too, so your blog is a birthday present to me.–Linda Joy

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