‘Writing is a comfort’: Memoirists Mindy Greiling and Abby Maslin on their 2021 writing resolutions

With the help of inspiring journalists, we learned about writing in many different ways over the last year — from sharing about personal loss to evoking emotions through detail; and finding your focus to turning your memories into a memoir. As we enter the new year, we reached out to our previous writing program instructors to hear about their 2021 writing resolutions. 

Names: Mindy Greiling and Abby Maslin

Current roles: Greiling is the author of “Fix What You Can: Schizophrenia and a Lawmaker’s Fight for her Son;” Maslin is the author of “Love You Hard” and blogger for Brainline.org, speaker on wellness, caregiving, brain injury and authentic living

Previous program: Write what you know – ‘Fix What You Can’ & ‘Love You Hard’

What are your writing resolutions for 2021? 

Greiling: I resolve to write family history stories in 2021. More than 40 years ago, I started researching ancestor dates and places, until life got in the way. I want to continue that research, but the exciting part will be finding stories to go with the facts. I plan to use every online resource and database I can find, and I will comb newspapers for stories.

My daughter, National Press Club Journalism Institute president Angela Greiling Keane, is helping her father and me to remember to record our own stories. She and her family gifted each of us a subscription to StoryWorth so we can record stories for the family. After a year of weekly writing prompts, she will print a beautiful book with our stories.

Maslin: My resolution is to complete a few big projects that have been living inside me this past year. The first steps I’ll take are posting a calendar for myself and working backwards from there. For me, it’s important to break these big goals into tiny ones that I keep posted visually.

What lesson about writing most influenced your writing during 2020? What do you hope to learn in 2021?

Greiling: While I was writing my recently published memoir, I came to deeply appreciate the assistance of editors. My beta readers included several professional editors — including daughter Angela — and I also hired two editors. During 2020, I came to value really good copyediting and proofreading as well. I was privileged to work with a great copy editor at the University of Minnesota Press who worked to make sure every phrase and word was perfect and then a fine proofreader.

During 2021, I hope to learn to apply everything I learned writing my book to the family history stories.

Maslin: I learned that writing is a comfort. It’s a release during times that are especially challenging or confusing. This year I hope to learn that not everything I write has to be important or emotionally profound. This is also a time for fun and escapism in writing!

How did your writing change during the pandemic?

Greiling: My husband retired during the pandemic, and our son started living with us just before it started, so I had less solitary time, which is when I journal. My journals were essential for writing my memoir. This year, I wrote blog pieces instead, including one about how the pandemic affects son Jim and his mental illness.

Maslin: Well, there was certainly less of it! With two kids at home and a full-time job as a teacher, I’ve had to offer myself plenty of grace for all the writing that didn’t happen this year. However, I sleep better at night on the days I put words to the page, so there’s another lesson to bring forward in 2021!


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