Upcoming Workshops and Classes

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 





Build Your Writers Platform in 2012 | Free Roundtable Discussion January 12, 2012 | 4 PM PST; 5 PM MST; 6 PM CST; 7 PM EST

We have declared 2012 The Year of the Memoir, and in our first event of the year, we’re going to plant seeds to help you envision yourself as a successful published author and take steps to build your audience—your platform—as it’s called by agents and publishers.

Our Roundtable Discussion leader this month is Teresa LeYung Ryan, author of Love Made of Heart and Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days. Teresa will talk with us about ways to create success in your writing life—especially the specifics of creating that foundation of potential audience that will help you get published and sell your book. Be prepared to tell us what your book is about and think about who your audience will be.

Whether you’re pitching your memoir to agents or you want to be your own publisher, the thing that gives you the competitive edge is a platform that attracts fans before and after publication. 
Coach Teresa’s definition of platform:  “Making your name stand for something—so you attract targeted consumers who are likely to buy what you have to sell.”

Step 1 “What are you selling?” Your literary products—articles, columns, stories, poems, essays, speeches, scripts, books. Your memoir and anything connected to it like a blog, article, poem or essay are your products which deliver ideas, stories, and themes. Being published means that we plan to share these ideas, we are putting them out into the world so others can find out about them, and so our ideas can enrich their lives.

Step 2 “Making your name stand for something”–the “something” is the subject matter, the issues and themes in your writing. You will become identified and known for what you write about, what you stand for, and the topics and ideas your work represents. Publishers, agents, and consumers look for continuity in your name and the “brand” that you are building.

Step 3 “Targeted consumers?” They are the readers who want to know about your subject matter and themes, and are invested with reasons to read what you write—to learn, to enjoy, and to be inspired. They need your work, there is something you have to offer that will change their lives.

Coach Teresa LeYung-Ryan will lead our discussions to help you link steps 1, 2, and 3.

Teresa LeYung-Ryan has helped over 1,000 writers take steps to further their careers.

  • She’s the author of Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase In 22 Days: Attract Agents, Editors, Publishers, Readers, and Media Attention NOW (available in print edition and as E-book). You can sneak preview the 2 exercises for Day 1 by going to Amazon’s page for Teresa’s workbook and “Click to look inside.”
  • As a manuscript consultant, Coach Teresa shows authors how to write page-turners by identifying themes & archetypes in their stories. 
  • Her using her book Love Made of Heart (to inspire adult children of mentally ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas and find resources for their families) demonstrates the power of making one’s name synonymous with the themes/subject matters/issues one writes about.  


The Roundtable discussion meets



Telephone Conference call-in number: (605)
475-4000 Telephone Conference call-in code: 225733#



Memoir Writing TeleWorkshops–Spring 2012

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.

Read more ...


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