Friday, January 28, 2011

Interview with Shirley Brosius

by Kathy Ruff

Shirley Brosius, freelance writer and speaker based in Millersburg, Pennsylvania, will speak at BDWN’s second Write it Right writers’ conference on April 16, 2011.

Brosius’ workshop, “Turning Memories Into One-Page Memoirs,” will guide you in writing stories about persons, places and things that have been important to your life. You will learn how a memoir compares to other writings and how to prod your memory for ideas to share. You'll also learn how to organize your thoughts and how to include your values so that you may pass on a legacy to your family and friends.

BDWN: How long have you been writing and what do you write?

BROSIUS: A former teacher and director of Christian education, I have been a freelance writer for 18 years. I am the author of Sisterhood of Faith: 365 Life-Changing Stories About Women Who Made a Difference, which was published by Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, in 2006. Each page offers a profile of an inspirational woman with a message from her life and a challenge for the reader. I have written hundreds of feature stories for newspapers, and my articles have been published in dozens of magazines and devotional publications. For my family I wrote and printed Persons, Places and Things: Memories from the 1940s and 1950s That Molded My Life, a 100-page booklet of anecdotes from my past.

BDWN: Where do you find inspiration?

BROSIUS: I find inspiration for my writing from life itself. You can draw spiritual applications from any object and experience. The people I meet to complete newspaper assignments always inspire me as they face adversity and challenges with courage. I love to capture personalities on paper.

BDWN: What advice would you give to writers wanting to break into the memoir genre?

BROSIUS: No matter what genre you want to break into, write, write, write and learn all you can. Write letters to the editor and and op-ed pieces for newspapers. Keep a journal. Start a blog. Submit articles to magazines and e-zines. Don’t worry about getting paid. Just write. Attend writer’s conferences and take writing courses online or at a college. Read books on writing. Read books of the genre you plan to write. Writers must be readers.

BDWN: What can attendees of your session at the conference expect to take away from your session that will help them to pursue their writing goals?

BROSIUS: My workshop will teach attendees how to leave a legacy through writing. You’ll learn how to organize your thoughts to write interesting anecdotes from your life. You’ll also learn how to prime your memories pump. Then you’ll practice writing one-page memoirs.

Brosius offered some closing thoughts:

BROSIUS: Whether or not you are published, writing allows you to express yourself and brings a sense of fulfillment. You may not be able to quit your day job, but as you hone your skill as a writer, you develop communication skills that will serve you well in every occupation. Besides that, it’s fun.

Check out more about Shirley Brosius and her work online at

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