Upcoming Workshops and Classes

Memoir Writers Workshop | Story Crafting: Tools, and Techniques for Success

Memoir writers need to be consummate storytellers, grabbing for our craft toolbox the techniques that make all stories great: well rounded characters, an interesting plot, scintillating scenes that make us feel, see, smell and taste. We have to translate our inner world of  memory to that of story.

At NAMW, we are so pleased to offer this workshop on Story Crafting with our own popular teacher, Jerry Waxler.

Teleclass 4 weeks starting April 23, 2012

Mondays, April 23, 30, May 7, May 14 2012


90 minute workshop

Fee:  Members – $69     Non-Members – $79

To tell your story in a memoir, you need to become a storyteller. In this four session teleclass, Jerry Waxler will explain the structure of a story, and show you how to weave your life experience into this structure, by finding the dramatic tension, character arc, and beginning, middle, and end. You will learn how to transform a lifetime of unstructured memories into a world that readers don’t want to leave.

What you will learn

  • Importance of a protagonist and how you will become one in your memoir
  • The importance of the inner as well as the outer story
  • How to set up the beginning of a story so the reader wants to know the end
  • How to energize the middle so it drives the reader to the next page
  • How to create a satisfying ending to your  memoir
  • How to turn your life lessons into a crucial element of a good story


Jerry Waxler M.S. is a workshop leader and writing coach, with a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. He is the author of the blog, Memory Writers Network, which contains hundreds of essays, book reviews, and writing prompts about reading and writing memoirs. Mr. Waxler is the author of “Learn to Write Your Memoirs,” a step by step guide” and “Four Elements for Writers” a self-help workbook, both available from his website. Jerry is a board member of the Philadelphia Writers Conference, is on the faculty at Northampton Community College and on the advisory panel of the National Association of Memoir Writers.

Blog: Hundreds of Essays for Memoir Writers and Readers
Home Page: JerryWaxler.com



NAMW Members  $69   
Non-Members     $79  

Spring 2012 Writing a Healing Memoir/Spiritual Autobiography Workshop

Spiritual Autobiography and Healing Memoir Workshops led by Linda Joy Myers, President of National Association of Memoir Writers.


New Memoir Workshops starting in March and April!

You may not see your memoir as healing or spiritual, but these terms refer to the amazing process that all memoir writers go through when writing and reflecting on their lives. It does not have to mean a terrible childhood or any particular trauma, though these aspects of life touch many of us in some way.

Writing a memoir is fun, challenging, and meaningful. There is great freedom in expressing the unexpressed. It is a journey and you need companions. See my article on the journey of memoir writing here.

Some of the questions I’m asked about my online/teleworkshops.

  • What is a spiritual autobiography?  It is a memoir? Does it have to be religious?

A spiritual autobiography/healing memoir is a way to explore who you are, your philosophy of life, your journey through life. It is more than “What I did on my summer vacation” though any work can have humor and irony in it. Writing a memoir is to encounter meaning, your thoughts and feelings about life. Mark Matousek said in one of our member teleseminars, “All memoirs are spiritual memoirs.”

  • Can you write a healing memoir and still get published?

Everyone’s first draft, initial encounter with memoir involves reflecting on the past, and many people find this immensely cathartic and helpful in putting things into perspective. Any memoir teacher who has actually written their own memoir—not all have done this—will tell you that it is a surprising and an amazing journey that opened up worlds of insight and healing for them. It’s helpful to have a guide for your journey someone who has written memoir and who understands the process of finding the threads of truth and bringing them to the light.

  • Where do I begin?

A whole life is overwhelming and complex. We are all complex! To write a memoir can feel so daunting people don’t start. Starting is simple: start with the major stories that speak to you, the memories that flood your mind as you think about your life. Think about the lessons you learned, the teachers and loved ones who affected you the most. Write a character sketch about them. Write about the most important day of your life. Here is one of the tools I use in the class that can help you figure out where to begin. Xxxxxxxx

  •   Can I really write the truths that I need to explore—it’s kind of scary.

Writing your truths one at a time is a way to keep this manageable. Just listen to your own inner voice and don’t listen to the inner critic. In the workshop we work with the inner critic and help keep it at bay. We support you in your quest for truth.

  • Will you help me find out if what I’m writing is interesting to other people?

Almost everyone begins with doubt. The purpose of the workshop is to help YOU see your story as the jewel that it is, and to support you in your writing life to WRITE!

  • How does the online Teleworkshop work?

We gather once a week on the phone, and send our work out to class members weekly through email. The feedback is supportive as well as full of useful writing techniques and tips. I am the guide and help the group honor and support each other’s emotional journey as well as learning writing techniques and developing your voice and your courage.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you have other questions please email me lindajoy@namw.org

The NEXT Monday Workshop begins April,  2, 2012

1 PM PST | 2 PM MST | 3 PM CST | 4 PM EST

TUESDAY Begins March 27

 3 PST | 4 PM MST |  5 PM CST | 6 PM EST


How it Works

Write your story for that week, and email it to the workshop members. Write your feedback to each participant, and email it to all of us. Weekly conference calls are audio taped so you can listen to feedback later and keep learning. Handouts are sent by email.

The Goal of our Workshops

 The goal of these workshops is to deepen your progress with your memoir, and to develop fictional techniques such as dialogue, scenes, point of view and structure. Developing new writing skills and getting support for your ongoing learning is a good reason to take an online workshop. Perhaps you have written some vignettes and now are ready for feedback.
Writers work alone, and eventually need to find out what others think of our work. You might have been journaling for a long time, but now you are ready to put your memories into story form, whether for your own personal satisfaction or to create a legacy for your family.

In these workshops we send the stories and feedback to the whole group through email, then gather at the appointed time through a conference call to discuss the stories, develop the ideas and questions that have arisen during the week, and talk about new techniques as needed. We offer supportive feedback to help you develop your work. It is not a critique group, but a workshop that helps you to keep writing and offers help in understanding both the content of the stories as well as new techniques to develop your skills.

You receive the audio tape these calls to help you remember the feedback and discussion.


The following ideas are part of the workshop sessions:

  • What is one of your favorite stories? Would you like to develop it further?
  • What time frame have you covered in your early vignettes? Place them on the timeline to get a visual image of the quilt of your memoir.
  • Character sketches: Choose some of the people you have sketched and create a more complete scene with them. Learning about scene writing is ongoing.
  • Do you struggle with writing your truth?
  • Learn about quilting your vignettes into a larger work.
  • Does your inner critic bother you? Learn new techniques to help silence the inner critic.
  • Write about landscapes and places that are part of your soul.
  • Editing: We teach you gently how to become your own editor.
  • Revision—means “seeing again.” Writing means revision, an important skill as you grow as a writer.
  • Organization: we will discuss how to organize and keep track of your vignettes. This is an important part of ongoing writing.
  • Plot, showing, telling, and reflection in memoir.
  • What’s the heart of your story? Do you know your themes? These become clearer as you write.


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Testimonials for this workshop:

Re-membering through memoir writing patched together important pieces of myself long ago forgotten or abandoned. After several rounds of classes under Linda Joy Myers’ priceless guidance, all of me is finally snuggled well into my body, mind, and spirit. Prior to Linda Joy’s memoir classes, I never would have called myself a writer, Now, I can say with pride and certainty that I am indeed, a writer.

—-Author Dawn Novotny 


Linda Joy is an inspirational mentor who truly makes a difference and convinces you to believe in yourself and your story…..Linda Joy always provides compassionate and meaningful support and expert guidance and direction.

—-Author Kathy Pooler

“Through a string of semester long writing sessions, Linda Joy’s coaching has served as an invaluable service for me.  As an absolutely frustrated and floundering memoir writing novice, she continually guided me into a productive direction through teaching the art of writing.  In addition, listening to her frequent teleseminars with established memoirists and other writing coaches, has also, in some way, led me to the next stepping stone. 
Thank you, Linda Joy, for imparting your patience and knowledge to this
formerly frustrated and floundering writer.”

–Lisa Mae DeMasi


If you have questions or need more details, please email customersupport@namw.org .  We’re happy to assist you!


Memoir Writing: 5 Techniques to Get Unstuck and Get in the Flow | Free Roundtable Discussion March 8, 2012


Brooke Warner, Senior Editor at Seal Press, and Linda Joy Myers, President of NAMW are opening up a discussion about techniques that help you get unstuck–ways to conquer the walls that rise up to impede our memoir journey.

As memoirists, we know how writing is a long journey, with many different phases. Understanding these phases in the writing process is important—writing and creating an art form is all about process, not just the goal.

Most writers we work with in our coaching and teaching find themselves struggling to get writing on the page, to create a regular writing life, and to manage the voice of creativity vs. the inner critic. In this discussion, we will discuss these challenges and their solutions so you can start to get into a flow with your writing—and so you can finish the book you want to write!

Bring your questions and problems to the call!

We will discuss:

  •       Why you need to outline
  •       How freewriting helps you stay in the flow
  •       Reasons to write 500 words a day—and how you can do it
  •       How to keep the inner critic out of the way
  •       How to create a workable system for scene, narration, and themes

Brooke Warner is a Senior Editor at Seal Press and a writing coach and publishing consultant with thirteen years’ experience in book publishing. She helps writers through the completion of their book proposals and manuscripts. She offers writing coaching and professional publishing consulting to a broad range of clients who are looking to build their author platforms, better understand the complicated world of publishing, and get published. Brooke works with novelists, memoirists, screenplay writers, poets, and artists.

Read more about Brooke and Warner Coaching at www.warnercoaching.com

Linda Joy Myers, Ph.D., MFA, is the President and founder of the National Association of Memoir Writers, an Instructor at Writers Digest, Co-President of the Women’s National Book Association, San Francisco branch, and past president of the California Writers Club, Marin branch. Linda is the author of The Power of Memoir—How to Write Your Healing Story, Becoming Whole, and Don’t Call Me Mother, which won the BAIPA Gold Medal prize. Linda’s next book is Truth or Lie: On the Cusp of Memoir and Fiction. She gives workshops nationally, through NAMW, Story Circle, and the Therapeutic Writing Institute, and helps people capture their stories through coaching, editing, and online workshops.   Blog:        http://memoriesandmemoirs.com


Roundtable discussions are free to all! Please sign up below to receive the audio download link.

March 8, 2012

4 PM PST            5 PM MST        6 PM  CST           7 PM EST

Conference Dial-in Number: (605) 475-4000

Participant Access Code: 225733#




 March 8, 2012 Roundtable

Brooke Warner & Linda Joy Myers

Free to All

Everyone who signs up will receive an audio download of the event.

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The Four Elements for Your Memoir Writing Journey









Jerry Waxler

Teleclass, 4 weeks starting March 19, 2012

Mondays, March 19, March 26, April 2, April 9


90 minute workshop

Fee:  Members – $69     Non-Members – $79

To start a memoir, and just as importantly, to keep going, you must master the art of self-direction. This workshop will provide you the four essential elements that every writer needs in order to overcome resistance, and harness positive energy. Based on Jerry Waxler’s Four Elements of Self Help for Writers, the class will help you get to your chair and maintain focus and creativity while you’re there. Writing exercises will show you how to connect with the strengths you have developed in the past.

The workshop will give you insights into these four aspects of energetic writing:

Class One, Action: Use habits, schedules, dancing and doodling to keep writing and stay creative. Develop an intimate relationship between inspirations and perspiration. Learn to harness your left-brain in service to the right.

Class Two, Attitude: Reframe your self-talk to more positive habits that will improve your energy and self-confidence, and defeat self-doubt and discouragement.

Class Three, Audience: Realize that writing is an attempt to communicate with an audience. Embrace your imaginary audience. Turn them from judges into fans. Make peace with gatekeepers.

Class Four, Story of Self: The story you tell about yourself has an enormous impact on your momentum, but few of us have been trained to improve our self-story. The workshop helps you improve your image as a writer, and develop a future-story that includes your memoir.

 Jerry Waxler M.S. is a workshop leader and writing coach, with a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. He is the author of the blog, Memory Writers Network, which contains hundreds of essays, book reviews, and writing prompts about reading and writing memoirs. Mr. Waxler is the author of “Learn to Write Your Memoirs,” a step by step guide” and “Four Elements for Writers” a self-help workbook, both available from his website. Jerry is a board member of the Philadelphia Writers Conference, is on the faculty at Northampton Community College and on the advisory panel of the National Association of Memoir Writers.

Blog: Hundreds of Essays for Memoir Writers and Readers
Home Page: JerryWaxler.com


NAMW Members  $69       
Non-Members      $79 

Soaring High and Digging Deep: Tools for Refining Your Memoir, Part 1

Sharon Lippincott

3-Week Short Course

February 8– February 29

Fee:  Members  $59  Non-Members $69


One of the most daunting aspects of writing a memoir is finding and clarifying the thread of the story. You may have already used the tried-and-true technique of drawing a time-line of your life, listing turning points and other key events. Perhaps you’ve mined piles of journals and made long lists of memories. Stacks of vignette stories may wait to be woven into a larger tale. Or, you may be staring at a blank page and wondering where to start. Whatever your situation and stage of writing, this class will give you unique new tools for exploring your life from several perspectives. They will help you find your focus and sort relevant factors from distracting detail.


This interactive course includes a combination of creative exercises to help you view your life from fresh perspectives and writing assignments to help you deepen, refine, and anchor resulting discoveries and insights. These exercises are designed to rev up your right brain, transcending the logical left that can limit you to ruminative ruts. Plan to spend some time with crayons or markers. At the beginning of each week you’ll receive an email describing the week’s exercise and explaining the writing assignment. You will post your written work to a private Yahoo Group for everyone in the class to read.

A weekly hour-long conference call is scheduled for the end of each week to discuss your experience with the exercise and the written assignments. Calls will begin at 8 p.m. EST / 7 CST / 6 MST / 5 PST. Calls will use a free conference line, but normal long-distance charges apply. Although participation in the calls is expected, all calls will be recorded for those who must miss a session.

Week One: email Feb. 8, Call Feb. 15

Exploring layers of your life, discovering transition points, shifts of focus, and tracing ongoing themes.

Week Two: email Feb. 15. Call Feb. 22

Unraveling your threads. Even on those rare days that you do the same thing all day, other aspects of self lurk in the background. Some are dominant and ongoing, others are fleeting and fragile. Find the ones that matter.

Week Three: email Feb. 22, Call Feb. 29.

Finding Connections. String striking new combinations of memory beads on threads of story.


Sharon Lippincott is a life writing teacher and coach and the author The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing, The Albuquerque Years, Meetings: Do’s, Don’ts, and Donuts, and the popular Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing blog and stories and essays in assorted publications. She serves on the Advisory Board of NAMW and  teaches lifestory, memoir, and creative writing classes at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. She leads writing groups at Gilda’s Club and the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Center. She is currently collaborating with the Allegheny County Library Association to establish lifestory writing groups in all county libraries.


NAMW Members  $59       
Non-Members      $69 






Myers makes a compelling case for the power of words as a form of healing and growth.

James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D. professor of psychology, The University of Texas at Austin and author, Opening Up and Writing To Heal

...the NAMW memoir classes with Linda Joy Myers are wonderful

Kathy Pooler