Write Your Memoir In A Weekend: Putting Life in Life Stories
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Today more and more families are missing out of the valuable experiences of hanging out with grandparents and other members of an extended family. Life is so hectic. Over the next couple of generations, our children and their children--who have been raised on mass media rather than family stories and values sharing of important people in their lives--may come to know very little about their ancestry and traditions.
You live as long as your story is remembered.
This is a very intensive weekend project that will produce the bones of memoir writing or life story. There is a longer, more in-depth course on how to write a memoir in the works, but this will give you a great start and you may be satisfied with the finished product come Monday.</p>
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|Section 1: Introduction to Memoirs|
Make sure to grab your FREE copy of my book, Write Your Family Story - Leaving a Living Legacy. Click the ADD TO CART, and enter coupon code FAMILYSTORY
|This is a good time to ponder the specifics of your life story.
|Section 2: What makes a memoir?|
|An autobiographical story is not just an account of events. This is a charting of your emotional, physical and spiritual course as you go through those events. You now have the opportunity of time and space to look at what happened with a sense of detachment. You can look at past events with present eyes. You will realize what lessons you learned and how each of those events, people, places and times formed who and what you are today.
To say that the work you are going to do in this course is priceless is an understatement. I have had class participants tell me that they learned more about themselves in this short class than in 30 years of therapy. I have had class participants tell me that their children wept when presented with the gift of a memoir. I have had class participants tell me that family wounds have been healed when understanding came from recording about a painful incident.
I have also had siblings come to a class because their other sibling had been to an earlier class and written her life story. They said they were compelled to come and write the true story! So whose truth is truer?
|I am going to share a poem I heard one time and it has stuck with me ever since. It is written by Pam Harazin.
Strangers In The Box
Come, look with me inside this drawer.
In this box I've often seen.
At the pictures, black and white,
Faces proud, still, and serene.
I wish I knew the people,
These strangers in the box,
Their names and all their memories
Are lost among my socks.
I wonder what their lives were like,
How did they spend their days?
What about their special times?
I'll never know their ways.
If only someone had taken time
To tell who, what, where or when,
These faces of my heritage
Would come to life again.
Could this become the fate
Of the pictures we take today?
The faces and the memories
Someday to be passed away?
Make time to save your stories,
Seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours could be.......
The strangers in the box.
|There are so many things that we have mastered in life that we sometimes forget our firsts. We take for granted our first bike ride, first kiss, first failure, first time we realized we were not immortal. If ever you get stuck thinking of things to write about, make a list of your firsts.
Each one of us has succeeded at many things in our lives. Perhaps you have found yourself focusing on when you were disappointed or discouraged. I challenge you to make a list of what you have can do without assistance today. Then make a list of things that are easier and more fun for you to do with a partner.
Women tend to mark the passage of time in relationships. Men do it more often by using sports, cars or dogs as anchors in their memories. One of the hospice patients I was working with dictated his end-of-life story for four hours and knew every job, boss, salary and piece of equipment he had used to bring phone service to rural areas. Just as we were finishing up, he said "Oh, did I mention my wife and three kids?"
We wrote the story on a Thursday afternoon and he died Saturday. I was able to take copies to the funeral for his grandchildren.
|I want to share a quote with you that has great impact on my life. It is by Thich Nhat Hanh who was a Vietnamese Monk and activist. You may enjoy reading more of his work.
"If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people."
In this section we are going to work on who and what has influenced our lives. Many people divide their life by stages, but we are going to use another method to find out who has touched us and made us into the kind of person we are today.
|I like this description of defining moments:
“Our lives a series of defining moments, strung together by passing time. Surrender fully to this moment, because it is not the moment itself that defines us, but how we choose to live in it.” -Jill Pendley Some defining moments are gradual while others happen suddenly and literally redefine our lives. They can be birthed from a tragedy, an opportunity, a challenging situation, an insight, a transition, or any other illuminating circumstance. These moments can catapult us to shift our lives and take action.
Often we don't even realize when we are having a defining moment. It is only in retrospect that we look back and realize how that one event, moment, statement or choice changed our life. We look back at our lives and remember the dinner when we were deciding to relocate to Montana to raise our family. It was as if we were making this huge decision while we were passing the peas and cutting the meat for the kids.
|Since I referred to Dr. Phil's mathematical formula, it is only fair that I provide his descriptions;
Ten Defining Moments: In every person's life, there have been moments, both positive and negative, that have defined and redefined who you are. Those events entered your consciousness with such power that they changed the very core of who and what you thought you were. A part of you was changed by those events, and caused you to define yourself, to some degree by your experience of that event.
Seven Critical Choices: There are a surprisingly small number of choices that rise to the level of life-changing ones. Critical choices are those that have changed your life, positively or negatively, and are major factors in determining who and what you will become. They are the choices that have affected your life up to today, and have set you on a path.
Five Pivotal People: These are the people who have left indelible impressions on your concept of self, and therefore, the life you live. They may be family members, friends or co-workers, and their influences can be either positive or negative. They are people who can determine whether you live consistently with your authentic self, or instead live a counterfeit life controlled by a fictional self that has crowded out who you really are.
A Critical Choice
Writing Through Our Senses
|Section 3: Final touches and course conclusion|
|Everyone has a story to tell......share yours!
What is a story?
The most meaningful and poerful stories are often drawn from commonplace occurrences. Dates of births, deaths, weddings, divorces, and historical events are only backdrops for family stories. Many times, the real fabric of a story lies in a description of a childhood home, a remembered neighbor, an adored teacher, a first kiss or the death of a beloved pet.
Storytelling connects us in vital ways with where we come from and who we are. At life's end, storytelling can lessen the emotional discomfort of dying and can leave a wonderful legacy for the living. Through the stories of our elder family members we can come to know who we are in new and unforeseen ways.
Stories provide potential for:
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"Visiting with Judy is like having a cup of tea with a loving auntie"
Judy is a life educator, family & pet grief coach, and keynote speaker who has written more than 20 books, hundreds of articles and speaks internationally. She has recently began a new company Animal/Human/Connection, which will be an off shoot of Artichoke Press LLC.
This heartfelt business will train Pet Grief Coaches to work with those who are coping with the loss of a beloved pet. As a member of WIPIN (Women In The Pet Industry) and a radio host interviewing those in the pet industry, she has gained a great deal of expertise and insight.
Artichoke Press is not Judy's only self-starter project. Judy has owned and managed numerous small businesses, and her entrepreneurial experiences as a mother of six and a stay-at-home-mom is what prompted the National Association of Home-Based Moms (NAHBM) invite her to join their expert advisory council.
What's With The Artichoke?
The symbol of the artichoke has great meaning for Judy in her teaching and writing. As she works with families, she sees that frequently only the outer edges are exposed, which can be prickly and sometimes bitter to the taste. But, as you expose the artichoke and people to warmth, caring, and time, gradually the leaves begin to open and expose the real treasure--the heart.
The artichoke also became a teaching lesson when Judy, as a young military mother, moved her family into military housing in California to find a surprising collection of artichokes planted in their yard. Knowing it takes two years for the vegetable to grow, Judy realized the original gardener never saw the fruits of their labor, but planted the artichokes anyway. Judy was reminded by this experience that many times in life our actions toward others are felt by people we will never meet, but we plant the seeds of kindness anyway.
Be Part of the Animal Human Connection
Claim your copy of any number of books on the different websites and sign up to join our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all, two-legged and four-legged.
People who resonate with the message of kindness, compassion and personal growth are special. They are the type of like-mided people we like to hang with. You will always be glad you became a part of the community.
You will enjoy Judy's approachable manner, wonderful storytelling and common- sense solutions gleaned from working with hundreds of families and organizations just like yours. Your encounter with Judy will leave you feeling inspired, entertained, and especially motivated.
Judy is a regular columnist for Women's Online Magazine and Montana Woman.