My Blog


The Power of Inner Peace

Jill Bolte Taylor is a neurologist and the renowned author of My Stroke of Insight, which describes her experience and insights gained from a stroke she suffered at age 37. One of her “strokes of insight” is that inner peace is just a thought away. Inner peace is just a

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Tips for Query Letters That Sell

At the Story Circle Network Women’s Memoir Conference in Austin this month I coached several women about query letters to agents and heard their frustrations with repeated rejections. One that stood out to me was a writer who had sent out as many as 60 queries and had no bites.

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Surprises at a Writer’s Conference

I’m a California native who has always lived within an hour of the ocean, which means I don’t know a lot about air-conditioning. But I learned about air-conditioning in Austin at the Stories from the Heart VI, the 6th National Women’s Memoir Conference, April 13-15. The rooms were cold, but

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Women’s Memoir Conference

I thought I’d never go to Texas, but Austin, here I come! And it isn’t for the music scene. I’m going to Stories from the Heart VI, the 6th National Women’s Memoir Conference, April 13-15, at the Wyndham Hotel in Austin. Not only that, I’m a conference presenter. My workshop,

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Memoir in Third Person

I learned about shame and writing many years ago. I also learned a good lesson about how third person works in memoir — and doesn’t. A memoir student of mine wrote a story about her family living out of a camper by a river in Tennessee during the 1930s, when

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Why I Write

When people ask what I write, I usually tell them about what I’ve published or plan to publish, I never tell them about my four decades of journaling, those thousands of pages I’ve penned. I don’t tell them about the last six years, when I’ve  journaled on the computer so

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Write Through the Layers

Truth in memoir is expected, but it’s not always easy to tell. It may be what brought you to the writing desk, but it can also be what scares you away from it. It hurts! Why would you want to put yourself through remembering pain?! There are a few good

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The Anchorwoman

Three years into teaching memoir I met a woman who never lived the life she wanted. Marge was a regal woman with a commanding presence, a deep, gravelly voice, and neatly swept back silver hair. She was new to the retirement community where I taught memoir Thursday afternoons for the

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Alma

At 26 I led my first writing workshop at the dining room table of my San Francisco flat, overlooking rooftops and traffic winding along Highway 101. I hadn’t been able to find the workshop I wanted, so I created one, and gave groups of writers what I was looking for:

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Inviting the Muse

I hear about it all the time. People tell me they write when they’re inspired. Some write on a schedule, or at least they aspire to. And some people write by the seasons; wintertime becomes a perfect time to create and polish. Author Terry Tempest Williams is one who writes

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