Upcoming Workshops and Classes

Writing a Healing Memoir/Spiritual Autobiography Workshop—6 Session Summer 2014

linda-joy-myerswith Linda Joy Myers

We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies. ~Shirley Abbott

In this workshop, we silence the noise of everyday life and dig into memories, tune into writing our stories, and learn the skills needed to write a satisfying memoir—to get all the way to “The End.”

It’s important to write freely without worrying about your inner critic or being published just yet—though that may be your ultimate goal. In order to get your memoir done, you need to feed your creative spirit, and have accountability to help get your stories on the page in a first draft.

The workshop:

  1. Send that week’s story to your classmates through email.
  2. Workshop members read and write feedback through email—reflecting on what works; offering feedback about what could be different or clarified.
  3. At class time, we gather by phone to talk about the stories—discussing what comes up as you write, your inner critic, doubts and dreams about your stories, and questions about structure. Find out in person on the call what you want to know from the group that will help you continue and develop your work.
  1. I guide the group, offer writing tips, and teach techniques that help you keep writing and learn how to grow as a writer.

Six sessions this summer, to keep your writing going!

Member Price: $250.00

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Non-Member Price: $260.00

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Finding Your Voice in Memoir | Memoir Intensive TeleWorkshop

judymandelA 4-week Memoir Workshop Intensive by Judy L. Mandel  by phone and email

June 10, 17, 24, July 1
4 PST, 5 MST, 6 CST, 7 EST

$125 for non-members

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$110 for members

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Often when we start writing our memoir, we struggle to find our own unique way of telling the story—our voice. It can be as elusive as a shadow, as hard to capture as a dream. Once we find our voice, the way our writing sounds most like our inner self, our story is much easier to shape. Finding the right voice for your memoir is very much like falling in love; hard to describe but powerful.

What you will learn:
• How word choice, cadence, and sentence structure contribute to creating the mood in the world of your memoir
• Not to be afraid to experiment with different ways of writing
• How free-writing can free your inner voice
• How to think about your life in terms of meaningful scenes or vignettes
• How to examine different memoirs in terms of voice, and how to apply that to your own writing

How the class will work
We will have four 60-minute telephone sessions. In each session I will share information that will help you develop your own voice for your memoir. You will also have an assignment for each class that will relate to your memoir development that you will send on to everyone in the class at least a day before our session to give everyone a chance to read it.

We’ll use the second half of the class to comment on each others’ work in a constructive and supportive manner. We will also address your specific issues with defining and using a consistent voice within your memoir. I will also be happy to talk to you individually about your work via email or phone during the duration of the course.

Judy L. Mandel is a workshop leader, writing coach and editor. She is the author of REPLACEMENT CHILD – A MEMOIR (Seal Press, 2013). Judy’s essays and articles have appeared in Connecticut LIFE, ASJA Monthly, Complete Wellbeing Magazine, Connecticut Authors and Publishers Newsletter, and The Southampton Review. Judy is now writing a novel as well as teaching memoir writing as part of  National Association of Memoir Writers.

Free Events at the National Association of Memoir Writers


By now, writers are aware that the publishing world is undergoing a volcanic eruption that has changed the landscape forever.  Ten years ago, when I published my first book Becoming Whole, it was “against the rules” to give anyone the hint that you were self-published. It was a dirty word then and generally understood that any self-published book was just not any good. Those of us writing and developing our books to the highest level of professionalism, which most writers did, were not in agreement with this assessment, but we wore it around our necks anyway. It carried an uncomfortable weight, and was something we had to either defend or deny.

Many of us got around the problem by starting our own publishing company–which I did with three friends. We hired the best designers of interior and covers, bought 10 ISBN numbers, created a DBA and publishing company name, got copyeditors and proofreaders–all of it. I learned about Bowker and what it does, and the Library of Congress rules. Printers, the thickness of paper, matte vs. glossy covers, shipping. It was a huge uphill climb and exhilarating. It was also a ton of work in a field I knew nothing about. And, I had to act as a publisher with Lightning Source, now called Ingram Spark, which is geared toward self-publishers now, but then I felt I was an imposter. I was a writer, mostly, but I was also determined to not be fettered by the publishing world’s gatekeepers at the time. 

I’m so excited to be part of the new conversation about publishing now! My last three books were published by She Writes Press, a hybrid publishing company that took the work I had to do by myself before and produced a professional set of books, two of which are finalists in the ForeWord Review Book of the Year contest. 

So here at NAMW, the publishing revolution, along with the Memoir Revolution, dubbed so by our own Jerry Waxler, are big topics of discussion. This week I’m pleased to have with us two self-publishing experts–expert because they did the work of researching how to publish on a shoestring, and put in the time to do their books well and with great care to detail. 

Sharon Lippincott and Boyd Lemon - medium sized

Sharon Lippincott and Boyd Lemon, our April Roundtable guests, have a huge cache of resources to help you learn more about self-publishing–from writing, to online organizations, to editing. Please join us live so you can ask questions, and as always, when you sign up, the downloadable audio is yours to keep as a resource.  


April Roundtable Details

Topic: Self-Publish Your Book on a Shoestring 

Experts: Sharon Lippincott and Boyd Lemon

Date: April 3, 2014

Time: 4 PM PDT  5  PM MDT  6 PM CDT  7 PM EDT

Sign up for this month’s Roundtable by clicking here


Spring 2014 Telesummit Slide

Spring 2014 Telesummit

It’s that time again! Please join us for our FREE Memoir Telesummit May 9. This event is always very popular, and still Free to all who sign up. 




This Spring, I’m so please to offer you four amazing experts in the field of

writing, publishing and marketing for our Memoir Telesummit

Angles of View–Writing and Sharing your Memoir

Back again with us is the talented and vivacious Sue William Silverman, author of three books. Just released is her third memoir The Pat Boone Fan Club–My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew. She will talk with us about how to think about your memoir career, and the possibility that you will write more than one memoir. 


And when you write that book–what will you do? Will it fly off the shelves like books do in the Harry Potter movies? There is magic in getting your book into the right hands, and part of that magic lies in learning all you can about marketing. 

Our guest, the well-known book marketer expert John Kremer will talk about the basic, and advanced steps you need to know about to make your memoir a bestseller!  


In this era of fast everything, the flash essay and fiction has become popular–but it takes a certain angle to make your piece not just be a cut up version of a longer story. Our guest Christine Houser, owner and inspiration for FlashMemoirs.com will talk about the secrets of how to create brilliant flash memoirs that give you a chance for publication and even a prize.

One of the most challenging tasks in memoir writing is creating a plot–after all, we know what happened when, don’t we? But a memoir is more than “this happened and then that happened.” We’re so happy to welcome back Martha Alderson, best selling author of several books on plot. She’s going to talk about how to pre-plot your transformation in your memoir. She’ll guide us to find the moments that make your book sing–those moments of transformation that bring readers to your book and give them a takeaway they can use in their own lives.  


Remember, the Memoir Telesummit Angles of View–Writing and Sharing your Memoir is May 9–from 10 AM PDT to 3 PM -and it’s FREE! Tell your friends and sign up for the downloadable audio set to keep.

We look forward to seeing you at these free events to educate and inspire you to write and publish your memoir!

Have a great week!

Linda Joy Myers 


National Association of Memoir Writers 





Family Troubles: The Hazards and Rewards of Writing About Family | Joy Castro

 Castro small headshot

April Member Teleseminar

April 18, 2014

 11 AM PDT    12 PM MDT    1 PM CDT    2 PM EDT


 I’m pleased to welcome Joy Castro this month as our member teleseminar presenter. I highly recommend her memoir The Truth Book, and Family Troubles–Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family. She gave a powerful presentation at the AWP Conference in Seattle last month, and I loved meeting her in person. It’s always inspiring to meet the “real” people I have gotten to know in their memoir.

We’ll be discussing the ethical and emotional pressures that infuse the process of writing memoir about family.  While William Faulkner famously said that good writing was worth “any number of old ladies,” most memoirists are more sensitive to our family members’ privacy, dignity, and feelings.  How do we write memoir that holds true to our own vision while not gratuitously exposing our family members?  Is it possible–or even desirable–to try to protect them from our literary explorations?

What you’ll learn:

  • We will explore the hazards memoir writers face when writing about family
  • What some of the textual techniques are for preserving family members’ privacy
  •  We’ll talk about strategies for if, when, and how to share manuscripts with family members
  • We’ll discuss the important personal and literary rewards of wrestling with the difficult challenge of writing memoir.



Joy Castro is the author of the memoirs The Truth Book (2005; U of Nebraska, 2012) and Island of Bones (U of Nebraska, 2012); literary thrillers Hell or High Water (St. Martin’s, 2012) and Nearer Home (St. Martin’s, 2013; short story collection How Winter Began (U of Nebraska, forthcoming).  Winner of a Nebraska Book Award and an International Latino Book Award and a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award.

Joy edited Family Trouble:  Memoirists on the Hazards and Rewards of Revealing Family, (U of Nebraska, 2013).  Her work has appeared in Fourth Genre, Seneca Review, Afro-Hispanic Review, and The New York Times Magazine.  She teaches literature, Latino studies, and creative writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.




Story Structure for Memoir Writers | A 4-week Memoir Intensive by Jerry Waxler

 April 1 – 22, 2014, 4 weeks (Tuesdays) 4 PST, 5 MST, 6 CST, 7 EST

$125 for non-members

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$110 for members

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To write a memoir, you need to translate unstructured memories into the structure called “Story.” In this four session teleclass, Jerry Waxler will break the form of a Story into simple elements. Then we’ll walk together step by step through the process of translating your life experience into a form that readers won’t want to put down.

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
  • How to turn life lessons into a crucial element of a good story


How it works—From Jerry:
We’ll get together for four 90-minute telephone sessions. During each session, I’ll offer a lesson to help you organize your structure. Then each of you will have an opportunity to share your project. By exploring your story in this virtual classroom, we build a trusting, mutually supportive atmosphere. Between each session, you wijerry-head-28ll write brief assignments and email them to all in the class. Because we will be able to read your pieces on our own, you won’t need to read them aloud. We can use class time to work through issues and offer feedback. At every step, during and between classes, I will offer guidance to help you discover the story structure that best expresses your unique life experience.


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 Memoir Revolution, about the cultural passion for lifestories and Learn to Write Your Memoirs a step by step guide. 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.



This was the second time I took Jerry’s class and I’m sure, I’ll be a regular as long as he teaches this workshop. His guidance is very valuable and helps structuring the many “shimmering images” I’m carrying around about my childhood, my younger years and occurances in the recent past that need to be written down to make sense.
Thank you, Jerry! You’re a gem!
~Evie Sullivan
Dear Jerry:  Thank you for helping me to see the “puzzle pieces” of my story through your story structure class.  Your assignments and feedback helped me see myself for the first time as a character on a journey in my own memoir (and on a journey in writing my memoir.)  The way you structured the class had me visualize and actually write crucial parts of my story — a beginning, two parts of the middle and the all important ending (or potential ending).  It changes everything to have these bookends in place.  It makes it seem possible to actually accomplish telling the story in between.  I know these may change as my story and structure evolve, as you said, but I have a very basic arc to hang the rest of my story on and to evolve from.  This is an invaluable step forward and in such a short time — the four week class.
Thank you also for using the stories that we each wrote for class and pulling out teaching points from the stories.  We not only enjoyed sharing our stories and kindly critiqued each other’s work, thanks to the tone you set for the class, but we could actually learn from each other’s weekly assignments. 
Your class and your encouragement throughout have been an important step for me and I want you to know it and to properly thank you.  Please consider teaching other classes through NAMW.  You are a kind man which makes you a great teacher for such a sensitive subject as memoir.  Your have a vast body of knowledge, always able to point students to a memoir that uses a method or technique that might work for us.  I would definitely take another class you taught and, indeed, may take this class again in April after my memoir and I have evolved further!  Thank you so much for your help. 
Frances A. Rove
Hi Jerry,
Thank you so much for your invaluable feedback and wonderful class.
I also would be interested in your class in April. I think Frances said it all in her email to you!
Jerry you are a great teacher, and you do so in a way that the student is not aware of it until  after the class is over.
Your teaching is subtle and supportive, which is what is needed in writing memoir due to its highly charged emotional memories that live in each of us.
I have a direction and structure now to move my memoir move forward!
Thank you so much for this wonderful class and the opportunity to get to know the other writers life stories and struggles to fulfill their dreams of writing their memoirs.
Warm Regards,
Lilly Gwilliam
This course is a great way to get your memoir on paper and straight in your head. It helps you locate the story you are telling with your memories — and you will find yourself humbled and awed by other people’s stories and how they can help you write your own. Jerry, your instruction was straightforward, but kind and generous. You kickstarted my confidence. 

~Dr. Danna Walker

Many of us have stories about our families, ourselves, that we want to write about but don’t know how.   I encourage anyone wanting to turn his/her life experience into a memoir to sign up for Jerry’s workshops. His classes provide a safe and encouraging environment in which we can explore and find structure for our stories. Jerry is one of the best teachers of memoir development I’ve encountered. His coaching is insightful and inspiring.
~Lorenzo Martinez
I would highly recommend anyone who is interested in writing their memoir take this class, regardless of where they are in the writing process.  Jerry is a gentle and compassionate guide to your memories and their placement process.  I have worked on my memoir for several years, never getting pass the first few pages.  During this class I realized why I couldn’t.  I was trying to tell the wrong story.  Thanks to Jerry’s insight, I learned what my real story is as did several others in our class.  
~Betty Kurecka
To anyone looking for direction in their pursuit of writing a memoir, I highly recommend this class. Jerry’s familiarity with memoir writing and his expertise in the field is exactly the right foundation needed to help, not just the seasoned writer, but the beginner as well.
Having just birthed the idea of writing a memoir within the last few months, this class was such a joy to me.  I came away feeling exuberant and encouraged.  We all have areas of our writing which need to be polished.  My area of weakness is with ‘showing, not telling’.  Through the help of others in the class, I have the determination to pursue the skills necessary to become better at describing scenes in my writing.
~ Don


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