Upcoming Workshops and Classes

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

Write a Healing Memoir/Spiritual Autobiography Workshop | Spring 2014

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

Workshop: 9 Sessions Starting April 3, 2014

Thursdays, 3 PM PDT/6 PM EDT 

Member Pricing –  $390

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Non-Member Pricing –  $525

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Linda Joy Myers, Workshop Leader

Included for free: a PDF of my workbook Journey of Memoir–The Three Stages of Memoir Writing

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.” This is a process writing workshop, where digging into your memories, finding the threads of what you remember and writing into what you need to say or explore is what it’s all about. We welcome your first draft, first thoughts in this workshop.To get a memoir done, we must do this early writing first. We enter into the doorway of memory with our writing, and let it flow out.


The group is a witness and a support to your writing and the stories you have to tell. This is not a critique group, it’s a supportive group of fellow seekers and writers who ask useful questions to help you get to the core of your stories and share their own process and raw drafts.


It’s important to write freely without worrying about your inner critic or being published 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.


How It Works

  1. Send that week’s story to your classmates through email.
  2. Workshop members read and write feedback through email—reflecting on what works, and offering feedback about what could be 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.
  4. As the leader, I guide the group, offer writing tips, and teach techniques that help you keep writing and learn how to grow as a writer.


The workshop includes:

  • Narrative structure–what it is and how to create it
  • The form of a chapter–what’s needed in a chapter
  • Writing scenes that bring your story alive on the page
  • Weaving scenes and narration–the basic skills of story writing
  • Grammar–how to enhance your use of language
  • Memory–learn to flow with what you remember
  • The inner critic and outer critics–how to quiet them so you can write
  • Outlining vs. freewriting–tools that help you get your rough draft on the page
  • Exploring layers of truth–the essence of memoir writing
  • Family and psyche–the stuff of memoir








Spring 2014 NAMW Memoir Telesummit |Angles of View

National Association of Memoir Writers Telesummit

Angles of View–Writing and Sharing Your Memoir

Free to All—Sign up to get your free audio download of the whole day

May 9, 2014

10 AM-4 PM PDT

Sue Silverman

Memoir writers need to gather skills from a variety of sources– finding inspiration and motivation to write and to keep writing, discovering your unique point of view, shaping your work, and discovering the best angle to present to the world in your marketing and publicity efforts. We have to juggle so many skills as a memoir writer.

I’m so excited to spend the day of this year’s memoir Telesummit for the Spring of 2014 with these amazing writers and marketers who are experts in the field.

As you may know all writers have to become good marketers as well as writers. We have to learn how to focus our message in our book—and as we share our message. Please join us for these amazing and illuminating discussions about memoir writing.


Sue William Silverman Session One

10 AM PDT  1 PM MDT  12 PM CDT  1 PM EDT

The Serial Memoirist: How Many Memoirs Does it Take to Tell Your Story?

Sue William Silverman

As a woman I live one life. As a writer of memoir, however, I live several. With each book, I observe myself as if through a different lens of a camera, each revealing its own story. In my new memoir, The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew, I’m a Pat Boone groupie seeking to pass as Christian – refuge from my abusive Jewish father. In my first memoir, I explore this childhood incestuous relationship, while in my second memoir I write about 28 days I spent in rehab for a sexual addiction. But isn’t there more to me than an incest survivor recovering from sex addiction who is also a Pat Boone groupie? Yes! And I’m now at work on a new (untitled) memoir. So how many memoirs does it take to tell the story of one woman?

In this telesummit we’ll discuss:

  • How to find and define your various stories, so you aren’t trying to cram your whole life into one book.
  • How to write each book without repeating yourself, so each book can stand on its own.
  • But when do you have to repeat yourself in order to provide a solid context for each story?
  • How to discover the theme, the voice, the metaphors, the structure for each book.
  • How to turn an essay collection into a seamless whole.

Sue William Silverman’s new memoir is The Pat Boone Fan Club: My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew. Her two other memoirs are Love Sick: One Woman’s Journey through Sexual Addiction, which is also a Lifetime TV movie, and Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You, which won the Association of Writers and Writing Programs award in creative nonfiction. Her craft book is Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir.  As a professional speaker, Sue has appeared on The View, Anderson Cooper 360, and CNN-Headline News.  She teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.                                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   John KremerSession Two

11:15 AM PDT  12:15 PM MDT   1:15 PM MDT  2:15 PM EDT

How to Market a Memoir as a Bestseller

John Kremer

Yes, memoirs can be bestsellers, not only on Amazon, but in real world
bookstores as well. You can sell the story of your life without having to
sell yourself.

  • Learn how other memoirs have become bestsellers.
  • Learn the four best ways to market a memoir.
  • Learn how to use social media to sell a memoir.
  • Learn what you need on your website (and what you don’t!).

John Kremer is the author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Book as well as the developer of the Book Marketing Magic multimedia course. He has never written a memoir (and probably never will), but he has worked with many memoir writers to help them sell more books.


CHouser_TwitterPortraitSession Three

12:30 PM PDT  1:30 PM MDT  2:30 PM CDT  3:30 PM EDT

Write Your Flash Memoirs

Christine Houser

What are flash memoirs, you ask?  They are very short, personal stories – vignettes of roughly 300-2000 words.  If you are struggling with getting your memoir started or are daunted by a book length project, writing vignettes can make it easier.  Good flash stories are in high demand so they are also an additional route to getting published. Or, they might just be the change of pace that injects new vigor in your writing practice.

In this telesummit, we’ll look at a couple of great examples and have a lively, interactive discussion that explores:

– What makes a good flash memoir?
– Where can you read and/or submit flash nonfiction?
– How do you get started?

Christine Houser reads, writes, studies, and teaches flash-length creative nonfiction in Seattle. Her stories have been published in a variety of anthologies and magazines, and she writes a how-to blog at www.flashmemoirs.com. For story fodder, Chris travels widely and often eavesdrops while riding the San Juan Island ferries.  Find her on Twitter @flashmemoirs and #cnf (creative nonfiction).


martha_aldersonSession Four

1:45 PM PDT  2:45 PM MDT  3:45 PM CDT  4:45 PM EDT

How to Pre-Plot Your Transformation in Your Memoir: Yes, Even Memoirs Have Plots!

Martha Alderson

One of the most difficult elements of memoir writing is determining what life events to include and what memories to leave out. The benefit of pre-plotting is that by identifying key scenes needed at the beginning, the middle, and the end of every great memoir before you begin writing, you save yourself the pain of having to cut carefully crafted and written scenes that do not fit thematically with the deeper meaning of your memoir.

A memoir with a plot is exciting, emotional and meaningful. Character transformation, dramatic action and thematic significance are the three plot threads in every great memoir. Today, our focus is on the plot element of the main character — you. Life events are meaningful when they impacted you in such a way as to change you over time and led to an ultimate transformation. Pre-Plot your growth and transformation based on the actions that forced, caused, created a change in you and the deeper meaning of your transformation.

Of course, no one says you have to pre-plot first before you begin writing. Start writing scenes for your memoir now. Pre-plot as you write. Schedule time for each task. Each supports the other.

We will discuss:

  • The definition of plot and pre-plot
  • The three plot threads in every great memoir
  • How to pre-plot your own personal transformation
  • Essential transformational elements necessary in the beginning of your memoir, the middle, and the end
  • Identify where the emotion is going to be in your memoir — the heart of your own personal story

Martha Alderson, AKA the Plot Whisperer, has been deconstructing memoir, novel and screenplay plots for fifteen years. She leads transformational workshops for people privately and teaches plot workshops to novelists, memoirists, and screenwriters privately, at plot retreats, Writer’s Digest, and at writers’ conferences. She takes writers beyond words into the very heart of a story.

She has written several books as part of her Plot Whisperer series: The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing , The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories, companion workbook to original The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master (Adams Media, a division of F + W Media), Blockbuster Plots Pure & Simple (Illusion Press) and several ebooks.

As the founder of International Plot Writing Month, Martha manages the award-winning blog The Plot Whisperer  which has been awarded top honors as a top writing advice blog by Writers Digest 2009-2013. Her vlog, “How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay” covers 27 steps to plotting your story from beginning to end and playlists to help writers create a compelling plot for their novels, memoirs and screenplays.

Martha, in collaboration with literary agent Jill Corcoran, teaches a series of online, live video plot chats with writers through A Path to Publishing. In collaboration with author Jordan Rosenfeld, Martha offers a series of Plot, Scene & Transformation retreats beginning in May, 2014,  Mt. Madonna Center. www.writerpath.com



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Spring 2014  Memoir Telesummit

Angles of View

Free to All

Self-Publish Your Book on a Shoestring |Free Roundtable Discussion

Sharon Profile 450

April 3, 2014 Roundtable

Sharon Lippincott and Boyd Lemon


Some authors aim for wide-spread acclaim and million-copy sales, and they are willing and able to invest thousands of dollars to make that happen. Far more are primarily concerned with producing a high-quality product at an affordable price, primarily for friends and family. Services like CreateSpace, Kindle, Lulu and Smashwords allow you to upload files at no cost and order only as many copies as you want or need. It’s possible to produce a book without spending a single penny, but depending on your skills, dreams, available time, and budget, you may be well-advised to pay for a bit of help.

In this program, indie authors (the current term for self-published) Boyd Lemon and Sharon Lippincott will share their extensive experience in the low-cost self-publishing world. Between them, they have self-published a total of eight titles, and Sharon has helped friends and family with another half dozen. Both are active in indie publishing forums and groups on the Internet. Boyd began on the high cost road, gradually cutting expenses to the bone for his last couple of books. Sharon has found ways to successfully publish at no cost.

What you’ll learn

  • What skills you can learn to keep the cost of publishing down. Styles, formatting tools, and more.
  • How to know what you can safely do yourself and when to get help–resources to learn about.
  • How and where to find help when you need it. Facebook groups, Forums, Joel Friedlander, YouTube, Google, friends, NAMW events. Smashwords Style Guide, Kindle formatting guide. Smashwords conversion list …
  • High quality alternatives to professional services. Trading services with friends, both writers and other. Use lots of beta readers…
  • How to make the best use of limited funds. Collaboration, low budget cover people, do your own layout,  low budget editors— check references!


Boyd Lemon Photo

Boyd Lemon, a retired attorney, is the author of A Long Way To Contentment: A Novel, Retirement: A Memoir and Guide, Eat, Walk, Write: An American Senior’s Year of Adventure in Paris and Tuscany, Digging Deep: A Writer Uncovers His Marriages, Unexpected Love and Other Stories, and Winter: Short Fiction and Personal Essays. After a stellar 40-year career as a nationally recognized attorney, Boyd Lemon discovered his passion was writing, and pursued it in the idyllic coastal town of Ventura, California; the literary, art and music scenes of Boston; a Bohemian year on the Left Bank in Paris; and finally by the bucolic rivers and forests of St. Marys, Georgia, where he currently lives.  Boyd’s newest book is Retirement: A Memoir and Guide.   He has four adult children and four grandchildren.  His second passion is travel, and he has visited six of the seven continents.

Sharon Lippincott, a lifewriting coach and teacher, is the author of Adventures of a Chilehead: A Mini-Memoir with Recipes, The Heart and Craft of Writing Compelling Description, The Albuquerque Years, The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing, and Do’s, Don’ts and Donuts: The Complete Handbook for Successful Meetings. She teaches in Osher Lifelong Learning programs, directs the WE WRITE! Creative Writing University series of events, and serves on the Advisory Board of NAMW. Sharon  lives, writes and teaches in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Find her online at http://heartandcraft.blogspot.com



 FREE April Roundtable with Sharon Lippincott & Boyd Lemon

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Journaling for the Empowering Discovery of Who You Are |Dawn Herring

Dawn Herring photoMarch Member Teleseminar

March 21, 2014

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

Do you need a fresh approach toward discovering who you are and appreciating what you bring to this world? Are you looking for a fresh perspective in all of your life dimensions and want to express your creativity, thus increasing the quality of your life? Are you looking for a way to set appropriate boundaries in order to thrive and live life authentically?

Dawn Herring, Host of #JournalChat Live for all things Journaling on Twitter, will share the empowering process of discovery journal writing can take when you make is part of your daily routine, honoring your preferences, personality and purpose in life and appreciating yourself for who you are. Find empowering patterns of life experience and give expression to your creativity in all forms that are the most meaningful to you.


 What you need to know about journaling:

  • Journaling is an empowering tool in learning to love and respect yourself from the inside out.
  • Journaling helps you to honor your preferences, your personality and your purpose in life.
  • Journaling enables you to appreciate yourself for who you are, validate your emotions and feelings and nurture your soul.
  • Journaling gives you space to express your point of view, release your angst and revel in joy with life experiences. It enables you to determine what it is you really want in life as you record your thoughts, dreams and desires.
  • Journaling activates your awareness of what works for you, what is toxic to you and what empowers you. The process enables you to create proper boundaries, express your creativity and empower you to discover your life purpose and even your destiny so you can leave your positive and unique mark in the world.
  • Journaling can become an empowering tool when you make it part of your routine, something you look forward to daily, to be inspired, uplifted, and to strengthen the fabric of your life tapestry.

My personal approach includes daily personal journaling, dream journaling, spiritual journaling and art journaling which combines color, texture, image, and message to express myself creatively.

My personal daily exercise each evening: Use a Star * or X to mark each item in a list you create of positive and negative life experiences and use a word or phrase to describe how you feel about each event. The visual helps you discover any imbalances (too much negativity, not enough of what uplifts you). Repeating patterns may reveal what is toxic to you so you know where to implement appropriate boundaries and what is refreshing so you can determine to make more time for these activities to improve the quality of your life.


Dawn’s BIO:

Dawn Herring is a writer, journal writer, artist and host of the monthly #JournalChat Live for all things journaling on Twitter. Her thematic focus is on journal writing, refreshment, positive change and personal empowerment on her blog, Refresh with Dawn Herring: For a Fresh Perspective and in her published articles. She publishes a monthly Refresh Journal, offers private Refresh Sessions to help you discover Who You Are through Authentic Refreshment, and is the author of The Birthday Wall: Create a Collage to Celebrate Your Child. She is also office manager and director of Social Media and SEO for Bill’s Quality Electric, LLC. Her website is dawnherring.net. Her Twitter is @JournalChat and @DawnHerring. Her Facebook is JournalWriter Freelance where Dawn’s #JournalChat Favorite and Dawn’s #JournalChat Choice are featured. She always reminds folks to refresh themselves.


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