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Writing is no stranger to therapy. For years, practitioners have used questionnaires, journals, and other writing forms to help people heal from stress and trauma. Writing is a remedy for your mind. Recent research suggests that writing about emotions even boosts immune functioning.

Whenever you feel mentally and emotionally exhausted, writing down what troubles you structures your thoughts and brings peace. So many of us have shameful secrets we haven’t shared with others. Putting pen to paper brings skeletons in the cupboard out into the open.

Sometimes thoughts and feelings are overwhelming, creating a traffic jam in our heads, causing…

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In an essay first published on October 24, 1929, Virginia Woolf states, “A woman must have money and a room of her own…”

I agree with her about a space for writing. Whether you are writing a novel, a memoir, short stories, or non-fiction, you need a dedicated place to work from. One where you can be productive, creative, and work without distractions.

Perhaps you have a dedicated room to convert into your home office. If you don’t have that luxury, a corner of a living room or bedroom, or even a kitchen table will do. …

Here’s an excellent choice for planning your novel or memoir. You’ll find that this technique works wonders for you.

Mind mapping supports the organizing and structuring the thoughts and ideas that pop up in our minds, those thoughts that could be translated into ideas for your novel.

Many books on writing advise outlining. I believe doing this right at the beginning causes intense frustration. Outlines, though helpful later, are too linear for the associative thought processes at the planning stage.

What is a mind map?

Mind mapping is brainstorming events related to your subject. It visually represents ideas and their relationship to one another. A mind map expresses your thoughts and connects them in a meaningful manner. It’s a…

For years you’ve dreamed of putting your life down in memoir. But now you ask yourself, “is my life really that interesting?” “How do I even begin?” Remember! Your story is unique, gripping, and heart-warming; a key to your life.

Writing your memoir and sending it out to the world (or just to your children and grandchildren) makes meaning of your life. A memoir validates your experiences, displaying the passages you took and those you did not.

With a multitude of experiences behind you, you’re in the right place to discover your inner writer. This is the right time to…

Your reasons for writing a memoir influence your publication options. Every memoir writer is writing for a reason, and usually a passionate one.

John wanted to write his memoir for his grandchildren. Rosalie’s daughter had begged for years for her mother’s memories. “I need to know where I came from,” she demanded. “That will make me into a whole person.” Both John and Rosalie were happy to take their memoirs to the local stationary store to print and bind them.

Chris, on the other hand, felt it imperative to professionally publish and market his book. When he was forty-five, he…

Like you, probably, I began my memoir years ago. Like many wannabe memoirists, I started at the beginning of my life. Then I slogged my way through to just after middle age. By that time, it felt like wading through mud wearing weighted boots.

I gave up. Turned my efforts to writing nonfiction. That was much easier because of the structure of the retreats and workshops I’d given.

A student asked me, “What is the most important part of writing a memoir?”

The question made me pause, “Organization — the structure.”

A book’s structure is the skeleton supporting the body…

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The title of your book or story is the readers’ first introduction to your work. Getting it right is the most critical book marketing decision you’ll make. The title forms the basis of readers’ judgment about your book. It must grab their attention right at the get-go and make them anxious to read your story. A good title strikes at the heart of the story and can even suggest future events.

A good title won’t ensure your book’s success. But an inappropriate title will prevent it from doing well.

It should be simple to find a good title– right?
Wrong! Like…

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Her call comes at inconvenient times. Like when you’re eating lunch. Enjoying every mouthful of carefully constructed coleslaw and an equally carefully constructed egg sandwich.

You know if you don’t obey the call, the message will be lost. You push back my chair and trudge once more to your computer.

You probably feel ambivalent about your muse. She’s laid-back by nature and only wants to write when the mood strikes (which isn’t very often). There are times, days, weeks, even months when she’s silent. You look up into the clouds. …

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For years you’ve dreamed of putting your life down in words. But now you ask yourself, “Is my life really that interesting?” “How do I even begin?”

Just remember! Your story is unique, gripping, and heart-warming, a key to your life. Writing a memoir, short story collection, poetry, or a novel and sending it out to the world (or just to your children and grandchildren) makes meaning of your life. It’s a validation, displaying the passages you took and those you did not.

Through the years, I learned the desire to write is as urgent as the hunger for air…

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This morning I felt alive, perky, eager to send out those words waiting in the wings.

Not like yesterday. I woke irritable and miserable. Churning about that email from Susie, my editor. Critical, putting me down. I wanted to strangle her. I pay her; she should be supportive, right? Would I ever be a decent writer? Might as well give up right now.

I’ll bet, as with me, your emotional states amaze you with their variation and power. Shock you with their random intensity, swinging between sadness and joy, anxiety and contentment. Guilt, fury, and love.

A chaos of emotions

Shoshana Kobrin

Shoshana Kobrin is a writing coach, editing consultant, and author. She gives writing workshops, individual consultations and is available for presentations.

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