Featured Q&A With Denis Ledoux
Please welcome Author Denis Ledoux, to our Featured Q&A at Writer’s Fun Zone.
If you’d like to be considered for an interview, check out our guidelines here.
On to our interview!
1. Tell us who you are and how you help authors in 100 words or less.
I help writers to write memoir with more focus, joy and skills. Many writers start their project with enthusiasm and then get bogged down in the problems inherent in any long writing project. They become discouraged. They doubt their ability to proceed and ultimately to finish. They second guess their vision and theme. I see my role as the midwife who helps to get this book baby into the world. I do this through my free and paid membership sites, through coaching, editing, ghostwriting, and book production. And, of course, there are all my memoir-writing books, MP3s, e-courses.
2. How did you get to this place in your life? Share your story!
I’ve always been passionate about personal stories. As a child, I was a listener. My grandparents lived upstairs from my family, and when they had family visiting, I would go up to listen.
As a young man, I wrote autobiographical fiction, and I enjoyed reading from my stories to audiences. Since my tales were historical—often my history, I would ask people to share their story, their history. It was not much of leap from there to leading the Turning Memories Into Memoirs workshops and then producing my how-to books that have enabled tens-of-thousands of people to write their stories.
3. What got you into this work. Tell us the story.
In 1989, in response to the interest I saw from audiences, I began to offer the Turning Memories Into Memoirs workshop. When I started leading these, people would say things like, “I have this crazy idea that I want to write a memoir.” Many were apologizing for wanting to leave a lifestory behind. By about 1995, I wasn’t hearing that any more. It had become part of the culture to leave a memoir.
I did not meet any other memoir professionals until I went to the Association of Personal Historians conference in Amherst Massachusetts in 1996. (Shameless plug: they voted me 1996 Memoir Professional of the Year!) Before then, the only people I was aware of who were engaged in memoir work were academics whose books I had read. Until that conference, I thought I was a one-of-a-kind.
In my workshops when I ask how many attendees were the kid who listened to their elders’ stories, I am always see a majority of people lift their hands. It’s just who we are and who I was. It’s a gene memoir writers have. So, I have spent years with people “just like me.” It’s been good.
4. What are you most passionate about?
Memoirs, obviously. My own writing centers around both the process of writing memoir and around writing my own memoirs. I believe that we have many memoirs within us—not just one as is the case with an autobiography. I don’t think I will ever tire of writing memoir. The journey of self-discovery and the healing that results from writing is wonderful.
5. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process, routine, and/or rituals around your writing?
I write as I can. Being engaged with my company, The Memoir Network, I am one of those writers with a busy day job. This is wonderful as it keeps me in touch with memoir writing, but it also has its negative side as the work sometimes siphons off my energy to write my own material.
I continue to have many writing projects. My most ambitious currently is a compilation of two journals—mine and my deceased wife’s—of our experience with her illness from cancer. I will get it out first as a kindle book—the first of which will be available in the summer of 2015. It will come out in paperback in the fall of 2015 or the spring of 2016.
6. What are a few challenges you faced in creating, marketing, or publishing your creative work? And your solutions to them.
The challenge of course is always to find your reading audience and to announce your work to them. In the old days I used to send out press releases regularly and this produced attention. Today, the web world is ironically more difficult for me to penetrate than was the old newspaper-radio world.
I have my web site and my blog which now has 400+ articles—so it is truly a resource library. It serves as a major conduit for new contacts. I am constantly producing new books to keep attention focused.
I have always published independently, and in so doing, I believe I have generated a larger income for myself than I would have had I gone through commercial publishers. To me, real writers are those writers who manage to support themselves through their writing and I have done that for years.
7. What do you wish you had known before you started writing, and before you started your business helping authors?
I’m not sure I would have liked to have known anything before starting to write. The process of discovery inherent in writing is satisfying and its own raison d’être.
In my work via The Memoir Network, I suppose like so many artists who launch themselves into business, I did not know how difficult it would be to carve out a space for myself in the crowded world of writing services.
I am very good at helping people create memoirs. I have a considerable insight and an intuition that leads me to pop a memoir open. The process is unknown territory. I never know what will happen next.
I work best with fearless people. I have had my share of people who say they want to tell the truth of their live, but as soon as I begin to explore their stories and ask certain sorts of questions, they turn off. I do not enjoy working with these people.
8. What’s next for you in your creative work and your biz?
I am expanding my membership option at The Memoir Network to include a tuition-based membership. A free membership is great to help many people, and my own which is called My Memoir Education has helped tens of thousands of people, but it does not allow for personal contact. There is only so much of me to go around, and I need to pay attention to my financial support.
The paid membership will open up the possibility of making more personal contact viable. Every month, there will be a new Master Class with a nationally-known writer, a focus session for editing a member manuscript, a Q & A tele-class. Plus a whole lot of other resources that are not available on the free area.
The free area is absolutely great and I have every intention of continuing to add to it, but the tuition of the membership area will permit me to devote myself more actively in the development of individual writers. The focus editing session will mean that writers get to experience how a manuscript is professionally edited—how much better it can be written. The membership tuition will begin at $19.95/month and eventually rise to $29.95 as the content increases.
9. Is there anything else you wished I’d asked? Please share!
Why would someone want to write a memoir?
First of all, telling a story is a pleasure—it’s a natural way to communicate. (Just listen for the storytellers next time you’re at a party or gathering.)
There is also a human compulsion to record the past, to preserve what’s changing and to celebrate accomplishment.
Finally, many of us feel a need to find meaning in life. Writing is a vehicle for exploring the what and the why of life and making sense of it. Lifewriting can be very growthful. Some begin the process knowing this, others discover it while writing their memoir.
A memoir is an effective platform builder for a launch into the world of entrepreneurship. It is a way of announcing credentialization and demonstrating it.
10. If you haven’t already above, please share about your creative work/your books/products.
Over the years, I have written books, produced MP3s, generated a large blog of very useful information, taught classes and workshops and written my own memoirs.
I look back on my output with some awe at the volume and I also have the trepidation that all creators of intellectual property perhaps have of asking how it will survive.
For the time being, that is not in question as the titles are going out into the world on a regular basis. I love receiving notes from people who tell me how much something I wrote has helped them.
In Write to the End / Eight Strategies to Thrive as a Writer, you’ll learn how to apply a number of techniques and best writing practices to keep you writing—your book will not only survive but it will excel.
The part you will probably enjoy the most? It probably be tapping into the energy that led you to begin to write and making use of this renewed energy to see you through to completing your manuscript.
One day soon, you will hold your published book in hand.
To connect with Denis, check out his links:
Site Link: thememoirnetwork.com
Check out his Memoir Start Package link: http://thememoirnetwork.com/shop/memoir-start-package/ here.