Craft, Writing, and Feedback
Bundle Offer: Register for all of it: $499*includes Reignite Your Inspiration with Sharing Circles and 4-Week Annie Ernaux course
++ These are online courses and will be recorded! ++
Reignite Your Inspiration
Reignite Classes: 6 Tuesdays: March 14, 21, 28, April 4, 11, 18 at 4pm PT | 7pm ET
Sharing Circles: 6 Fridays: March 17, 24, 31, April 7, 14, 21 at 10am PT | 1pm ET
If you’re writing a memoir, whether you’ve just started or you’re a ways in, then you know the power of staying inspired to carry you through week to week, month to month. We all need a bit of recharging—which comes from reminding yourself why you’re writing, knowing in your heart that your story matters, and staying connected to a writing community that holds your same values about the importance of bearing witness and sharing what’s true.
This is the first course Brooke and Linda Joy have taught outside of their 6-month intensive that includes writing and feedback. This 6-week course is less lecture-focused than past intensives and instead focuses on what drives your inspiration, providing concrete ways to stay connected to your writing. Each class will include an opening teaching session followed by writing in community. At the end of the 6 weeks, you’ll have the opportunity to submit your strongest or favorite submission to Brooke and Linda Joy for feedback.
For those students interested in sharing your writing in community, Friday sharing circles will be a separate add-on ($51 for 6 six sharing circles). If you want to join the sharing circles, which will be held by Brooke and Linda Joy on Fridays following the Tuesday classes, please be sure to sign up for the option on the registration page that includes the sharing circles.
Sharing Circles dates:
March 17, 24, 31, April 7, 14, 21
10am PT | 1pm ET
Sharing circles are 1 hour
Sharing Circles will be one-hour Zoom sessions where students are invited to come and share their writing out loud with fellow students. Readings will be limited to 2-3 minutes with verbal feedback from Brooke and Linda Joy.
Classes and Sharing Circles are on Zoom
Classes are recorded, Sharing Circles are not recorded
Week 1 - March 14
Self-expressing without fear or shame
What does it mean to be “free” when it comes to memoir writing? We’ll explore the many freedoms we’re striving for when we write, some more elusive than others. This class is focused on the freedom to stay true to yourself, freedom to say what you think, freedom to experiment and try new forms and so much more. One of the most challenging parts of writing memoir has to do with the ways we feel confined—sometimes by others, sometimes by ourselves. We kick of this 6-week course with the intention of setting you free to explore what’s yours to write, feel, and explore, free from fear, shame, or reprisal. Your story is yours and yours alone.
Week 2 - March 21
Strategies for how to remember and knowing which memories matter
Whether your memories are sharp or blurry, your memory is bound challenge you as you work to reconstruct “what happened” and sort out what to include and what to leave out. In this class we offer strategies to help you to remember, and also provide a roadmap for tracking what matters and knowing what scenes belong in your book. This class includes teaching on how to turn important moments into scenes, which comprise chapters, to support you to see the bigger picture of your story. Memoir is a series of memories and the meaning you make from the experiences that happened to you—and as such we’re supporting you in this class to work with what you have, and to know that whatever you remember is enough.
Week 3 - March 28
Extracting truths that serve your story
Ah, truth, a complicated topic that stymies most of us, especially those who question their memories, or who’ve grown up having their truth challenged by others, or who’ve been gaslighted in relationships. All you have is your own truth to work with, and as such it’s imperative to cultivate trust in yourself as a storyteller. In this class we teach that what matters is “emotional truth”—not so much the explicit facts as what you know to be true. This means sometimes writing what would have happened, or creating composite scenes or characters, or finessing meaning to serve the story. In other words, what we make of “what happened” is a skill every memoirist must hone, and that means coming to terms with the reality that your truth might differ from others’ truths—and that’s okay.
Week 4 - April 4
Finding relief in what's been kept hidden
We know well that writing memoir often feels like walking around naked, totally exposed and vulnerable, even before sharing a single word with another person. Self-revelation is a paradoxical experience, however, because it’s both terrifying and gratifying. Most people find deep relief in finally releasing secrets they’ve been expected or explicitly told to keep. And while memoir is not always about revealing secrets, it is always centered on revealing aspects of self that might feel hard to share, or experiences you’ve never told another person, or things that happened to you that you’ve kept hidden for fear of being judged. This class will delve into the many facets of self-revelation in all its paradox, both to acknowledge what’s difficult about it, and also why it’s so profound and essential to memoir writing.
Week 5 - April 11
What your story means—to you and your readers
Meaning is the heart of memoir. Without it, all that exists on the page is what happened, and that’s not enough. This class is a celebration of meaning, which means we’ll teach about reflection and takeaway. But more than teach about it, we’ll share what kind of reflection touches the reader, and why reflection so often falls short, especially in early drafts. The deep dive into your story’s meaning is an ongoing process, a layering on of meaning and understanding, that will most often unfold during your revision process. This class will support you to find ways to consider meaning—in scenes, for your book as a whole—without feeling like you have to perfectly execute that meaning as you’re sorting out your structure, your themes, and the scope of your story. Memoir is a journey, we know, and therefore meaning invariably comes in stages as well.
Week 6 - April 18
Keeping close to why your story matters
We end this course on the power of inspiration. How do you stay inspired? What are your ways back to inspiration when you feel creatively blocked? We’ll consider different students’ experiences—from those of you who are new to the journey and just beginning to confront certain challenges of focus and momentum, to those who might be stalled out or stuck or just plain uninspired, to those who are staying the course but bumping up against inner critics and fear and imposter syndrome. There are more ways to get uninspired than there are to stay inspired, a truth that inspired this very course. We end on supporting you to reignite the spark of inspiration—over and over and over again until you see through your book to completion.
++ These are online courses and will be recorded! ++
A 4-Week Study in Memoir
4 Tuesdays: May 2, 9, 16, 23
4pm Pacific | 7pm Eastern
This 4-week course is an invitation to get familiar with 2022’s Nobel laureate, Annie Ernaux, author of more than 20 books.
When the Nobel Prize winners were announced last fall, we were elated to know that Ernaux—a memoirist—had been named for the prize in literature. This honors her work, of course, but it also elevates the genre. Reading and understanding why her work rises to this level will make you a better writer—which is why we invite you to read and study Ernaux with us this May. It’s not required, but highly recommended, that you read each book chosen for this course. Her books are short, many can be read in a single sitting‚ and you’ll go on a journey that will ignite curiosity and questions about how any of us approaches writing about our pasts.
An excerpt from The New Yorker profile of Ernaux (worth reading the whole thing) asserts: “Ernaux works exclusively from the factual material of life—her life. But how to shape and present the facts? How to account for their particular power and the way that the truth changes, or doesn’t, when exposed to the forces of memory and time? These are profound artistic questions, fundamental to both Ernaux’s creative practice and her moral principles. ‘I believe that any experience, whatever its nature, has the inalienable right to be chronicled,’ she has written. ‘There is no such thing as a lesser truth.’”
This class will open your horizons and improve your writing, and expand your thinking about memoir writing. Each class will focus on a particular book and will include participation from students in the form of a discussion session.
Class 1. Happening (May 2)
Class 2. The Years (May 9)
Class 3. A Girl’s Story (May 16)
Class 4. Getting Lost (May 23)
• Sessions are on Zoom.
• Each session is 1 hour.
• All sessions are recorded.
Linda Joy Myers is the president and founder of the National Association of Memoir Writers, and the author of two award-winning memoirs Don’t Call Me Mother and Song of the Plains. Her three books, The Power of Memoir—How to Write Your Healing Story, Becoming Whole, and Journey of Memoir, guide writers through the stages of creating a powerful, truthful, and universal story. Together with Brooke Warner, she teaches memoir intensives here and at WriteYourMemoirinSixMonths.com.
Brooke Warner is publisher of She Writes Press, president of Warner Coaching Inc., and author of Write On, Sisters!, Green-Light Your Book, What’s Your Book?, and three books on memoir, including How to Sell Your Memoir, and two books co-authored with Linda Joy Myers: Breaking Ground on Your Memoir and The Magic of Memoir. She is committed to helping writers become creative entrepreneurs and thought leaders, a message conveyed in her TEDx talk, “Green-Light Revolution.” Together with Linda Joy Myers, she teaches memoir intensives here and at WriteYourMemoirinSixMonths.com.