My Writing Journey
“Conscious aging is about having meaningful goals for our elderhood that spring from our authentic selves and using the power of intention and inner work to make our vision a reality. It is about having the courage to aim high in an unconscious world.” ~Ron Pevny in Conscious Living, Conscious Aging: Embrace & Savor Your Next Chapter.
I’m building a whole new life in retirement!
Nita Leland ~~ My Memoir Writing Partner
Nita and I have been meeting every two weeks since the spring of 2012 to support each other in the writing of our memoirs. The structure of needing to have something to read every two weeks has been invaluable.
Nita feels she was chosen to hear my story and I feel it was Divine guidance that brought us together. Her feedback and encouragement have been priceless.
We are currently (spring 2015) in the process of revising our manuscripts and supporting each other in the business of being a writer.
I’ve learned a lot about writing from these on-line organizations:
The Story Circle Network was founded in early 1997 by Dr. Susan Wittig Albert and is dedicated to helping women share the stories of their lives through memoir, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama, and to raising public awareness of the importance of women’s personal histories. We carry out our mission through publications, a website, classes, workshops, writing and reading circles, and woman-focused programs. Our activities empower women to tell their stories, discover their identities through their stories, and choose to be the authors of their own lives.
To fulfill our mission, we offer classes, workshops, story circles, reading circles, retreats, and conferences in the Austin TX area, and encourage Story Circle members to organize similar activities where they live. And please visit our websites often, because we continue to develop new features to serve our members and the growing community of women writers. (www.storycircle.org)
I joined SCN in December 2011 and in July 2014, I began participating in their Works-in-Progress group. In WIP we share what we’re working on for the week, how we’re building a platform (marketing our work), and what we’ve achieved by the end of the week. This is an accomplished group of women writers of many genres. I’m honored to be a part of them.
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In February 2012 I joined the National Association of Memoir Writers founded by Linda Joy Myers. NAMW provides programs and resources to help member writers feel empowered to begin and develop their stories into a publishable memoir, whether it’s a book, a family legacy, or a blog. I’ve gleaned valuable insights and tools into the craft of memoir from NAMW on-line classes.
In addition to reading a ton of books on writing, I’ve attended these workshops and classes:
University of Dayton Life-Long Learning ~~ October 2014
Since memoirists need to learn the tools of fiction writing, I took a class facilitated by Nancy Pinard, another talented Dayton writer. Writing classes are in great demand at UDLLI. www.NancyPinard.com
Antioch Writer’s Workshop ~~ July 2014
Antioch Writer’s Workshop held in Yellow Springs, Ohio, is a premier workshop for writers. My week was rich with gifts. I made new friends and learned a ton about writing from awesome craft teachers every morning.
A highlight for me was being able to tell keynoter and Master Class instructor, Andre DuBus III, how moved I was by the way he wrote about his transformation at the end of his memoir, Townie. His eyes sparkled as he admitted, “I didn’t even know I’d transformed until I wrote it.” Now, having reached the end of a workable draft of my memoir, I know what he means. He gave me a hug and inscribed his book to me with, “Here’s to you and A Long Awakening to Grace. Love, Andre. Did I tell you how cute he is? www.andredubus.com
Another bright spot for me at AWW was Erin Flanagan. She teaches at Wright State University and is another one of our talented Dayton writers. Erin went above and beyond in helping me find a proper beginning for my memoir. You’d be surprised at how difficult it can be to find the best place to start. www.erinflanagan.net
Mad Anthony Writer’s Workshop ~~ April 2014
Nita and I attended this Hamilton, Ohio workshop together.
I received invaluable feedback regarding several pages of my manuscript in Nancy Pinard’s Master Class.
Four of the five Plot Sister’s also attended Mad Anthony. They demonstrated the amazing support given and received by the Dayton writer’s community. I was on the receiving end at Mad Anthony. Thanks, Sisters!
Omega Institute ~~ August 2013
I spent an amazing week at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York taking writing workshops. I have never experienced such a high level of positive support in my life.
I was in a weekend Memoir Lab with Marge Piercy and Ira Wood. I survived critique by these famous writers and met a participant living less than five miles from me. It’s a small world. Then, I participated in a week-long Relax and Write workshop facilitated by Maia Danzinger. During that week, I actually began to believe in myself as a writer. I got a standing ovation after reading one piece of work. One participant told me I was her favorite writer in the group. I began to feel like a celebrity. That was a new experience.
Katrina Kittle ~~ May 2013
Katrina Kittle is one of our talented Dayton writers who also teaches writing.
I took a character development class from Katrina through Wordsworth Writing Center and another on writing description through OnLiten, online workshops. Katrina is a great teacher and makes learning fun. She cheers students on to their greatness. My memoir is better because of her.
Contemplative Writing Feeds My Soul:
Cincinnati Contemplative Writing Group
After reading my Caring Bridge blog about my lymphoma experience in 2009, I was invited to join this writing group. We love to hear how each of us is reflecting on our lives and watching each other grow and become better human beings as well as better writers.
Sophia’s Table Book Signing ~~ October 2013
This evening validated all our hard work. So many people came and showed their interest in our project. We were very grateful for a wonderful event.