A memoir is a slice of life. You can freeze-frame a scene in your life where everything changed, and write from that moment. 

I am a professional ghostwriter. What that means is, I help families and individuals to write their memoirs. I have also been giving talks on How To Write Your Memoir. Even in what you would call the most dysfunctional families, a marvelous healing process takes place. Families say, "we really talked, for the first time in decades."  Again and again, this process unfolds.

Six years ago, one of my daughter's classmates, a sweet young man, committed suicide. My daughter wrote a poem about his death. The young man's mother was so moved by the poem, she read it at the funeral.

In the poem my daughter said, "I wish we had known how much you hurt. I wish we had taken the time to know you better and be there for you. You were valued and loved, but we didn't say it out loud. You might still be here, if only we had known."

From that experience I began reaching out to students in high school and middle school, encouraging them to write their stories, as a life skill. The crux of this experience is in learning to say "I am." To write your story is to say "my life has value." Name yourself and learn to trust yourself first. Know, in your gut, that you have worth and purpose. You can't get that from someone lecturing you, blah, blah, blah. You have to do. You have to write.  By researching their own families or even constructing a family out of their own support structure can they see themselves as part of a whole. In accepting themselves and their current situation, they accept life and reach out for all it has to offer because they know that one simple fact: "I am."  Change Your Mind aims to take that knowledge from their mind to their heart.

We go through some simple psychology exercises and lots of writing exercises. The key to their involvement is learning to trust themselves and the others in their group. Some students may chose to do the exercises in group, but not share anything. They may share with their writing coach privately, via email if they wish, or identify a private mentor to share with. It is important for them to connect and get feedback throughout this process. Students considered at risk could also participate in regular counseling sessions through the school's guidance office or a private counselor and there could be interaction between that counselor and the writing coach to identify any red flags that may come up. 

I set a few basic goals for the program:

  • show up for class
  • go through visualizing exercises
  • trust exercises
  • intensive writing sessions 
  • journaling 
  • class' video journal
  • one to one meetings with your counselor.

That's the whole package. 

How To Change Your Mindset: There are simple writing exercises focused on identifying your current mindset, and turning that around. Hopefully, these mindset-changers become an automatic fall-back, when a student is faced a difficult social situation or a loss.

  • If a bully comes up and starts saying something negative, a student who has been trained in mindset-changing can offer up a humorous comeback and change the mood.
  • A student who has developed a habit of regarding parents and those in authority through a negative mindset, may realize she can change those interactions by simply changing her mindset.
  • She develops a powerful sense of self.
  • He discovers he can exercise self-control and change the situation by changing how he sees it.
  • It all comes down to choice: students who learn self-control come to see they have the power to choose where their mind goes.
  • They can choose to change their thoughts and improve their situation,  just by changing how they see it.
  • Students who are introduced to these mindset skills are less likely to harm themselves and others because they have learned to access a positive mindset, and that changes everything.

How it works:    I can come and give an initial talk in person, but these mindset classes can be accessed via webinar, so students could be in a language lab, for example, on headsets, going through the exercises and then meeting with a writing coach via Skype or with a school counselor to talk, as they wish. Students and coaches sign confidentiality agreements to protect those involved in the program. Ready for Change Your Mind?

Contact me at barbara@carsoncopywriting.com or call (845) 798-8006

Youth Memoir:

Change Your Mind