Winter 2021 Offerings

If you’d like to work with me in the New Year, here are my winter 2021 offerings: Memoir Mastery: How to Write a Compelling Memoir In this comprehensive 9-week course, you’ll go from feeling alone, confused and overwhelmed to feeling excited and supported in the power of your story, clear in its scope, and confident in the craft and technique of creating a compelling memoir. With 6 online modules, 6 live coaching calls and a private community forum, you’ll get plenty of support and accountability as well as laser-focused coaching within a wonderfully supportive community. You’ll leave this course with a strong foundation for your memoir as well as a clear set of next steps. How the Course Works The keys to writing memoir are getting the right structure, accountability, encouragement and support. That’s why I’ve built the following pieces into this course: 2 […]

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What Nourishes You

What’s nourishing you these days? And what’s nourishing your writing? We were speaking about this in our mastermind writing group the other day. A couple of writers shared that the go-to activities that used to nourish/support them during normal times haven’t been as helpful during the pandemic. Can you relate? Time alone, at home, used to be one of the ways my introverted self would recharge. But with four of us at home (and two kids schooling online), there’s not a lot of quiet around here. So I’ve gone outside as much as I’m able. Thank goodness I live in Colorado, where it’s sunny more often than not. Time in nature has been saving me. I’ve also let go of a lot of nonessential obligations. In the past six months, I’ve stepped out of three professional groups. They’re lovely groups, and one of […]

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Memoir Mastery: How to Write a Compelling Memoir

How to Write a Memoir As a writer, teacher and long-time memoir fan, I’ve found that writing your story can be an incredibly rewarding journey. It can also be quite challenging. And trying to write a memoir without support can feel like wrestling an octopus. Where do you start? How do you narrow down your story, much less shape it? What do you do when the initial excitement wears off and you find yourself in the mucky middle? And how do you navigate the emotional terrain of delving into the heart of your life experiences? That’s why I created my Memoir Mastery course. For years, I grappled with the disconnect between writing a short piece and completing a full-length manuscript. Writing a book was much more complex, and my MFA program taught us how to write short pieces, not book-length manuscripts. Which meant […]

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Claiming Your Voice in Memoir

I’ve been thinking about voice a lot lately. Claiming our voices in the upcoming election has become a critical issue for those of us living in the U.S. But it’s also a critical issue in memoir. Because memoir, it seems to me, is largely about reclaiming our stories. It’s about reclaiming our voices. And that means taking back our power on a soul level. This is what makes it such hard work. There’s the craft and technique of memoir, and then there’s the spiritual journey. And getting to the point where we feel safe enough to allow that voice to fully emerge on the page can be a journey. This is why I stress safety so much in my work. Without a safe container, it’s too easy to go off the rails. This is also when the inner critic tends to rear its […]

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Write Your Memoir this Fall

I hope you’re well and navigating these challenging times with kindness and compassion. I’m so thankful for you and our community! Today, I’m excited to share my upcoming offerings. If you’re reading to get cracking on your memoir, here’s how you can work with me this fall: Memoir Mastery My 8-week signature online course, Memoir Mastery: How to Write a Compelling Memoir, starts Wednesday, September 9. Registration is now officially open.  In this comprehensive 8-week course, you’ll go from feeling alone, confused and overwhelmed to feeling excited and supported in the power of your story, clear in its scope, and confident in the craft and technique of creating a compelling memoir. With 6 online modules, 4 live coaching calls and a private group forum, you’ll get plenty of support and accountability as well as laser-focused coaching within a wonderfully supportive community. You’ll leave this course […]

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Revising and Editing Your Memoir

Revising, editing and planning for revising/editing your memoir can be maddening, especially if you’re working on your own. Book-length projects are an exercise in patience on a good day. Without support, it can be even tougher. So what’s the best way to approach the revising and editing process? Start by clarifying your expectations. I find that we often we expect the process to be more straight-forward than it is. One or two drafts, we think, and poof, we’ll be done. But the best books pass through multiple revisions, with plenty of outside support. Very few folks write stellar books in a vacuum. So let’s break the writing process down. For most of us, the writing process falls into three stages: Messy first draft Revising Micro-Editing Messy First Draft (a.k.a. Shitty First Draft) This is your early draft, when you’re getting the story down […]

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Writing Memoir: What to Expect

In my last post, we talked about the distinction between autobiography and memoir. Today, let’s talk about expectations (as well as craft and technique) so that you’ll know what to expect while writing your memoir. Writing Memoir: How Hard Can it Be? Writing a memoir isn’t an easy process. We often assume it will be, though. I mean, heck we’ve been writing our entire lives, right? How hard can it really be? Well, that depends on why you’re writing your story (i.e.: your book’s goals) and who it’s for (i.e.: your book’s audience). If you’re writing for your loved ones, then yes, it will be a much easier process. But if you want your memoir to reach a wider audience (and maybe even change some small aspect of the world), then you’re going to have to come up with a kick-ass work that […]

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The Difference Between Autobiography and Memoir

One of the most common mistakes I see folks making is mistaking autobiography for memoir. This is a costly mistake that leads to lots of rewriting. So let’s take a moment to unpack the difference between the two in order to get you off on the right foot and streamline the process. Writing Autobiography Autobiography is the story of your life. It’s often told chronologically, from birth to death, with events highlighted in the order they occurred. If you’re famous, folks will want to read your autobiography. Otherwise, these are usually written as legacy projects, intended for family members and loved ones. Writing Memoir Memoirs cover a particular time, theme or transformative event. They’re shaped, molded and rewritten into story form so that the reader undergoes her own journey in the reading process, learning something along the way. The best memoirs read like […]

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Resources for Black Writers

Over the past few days, I’ve seen a lot of press devoted to agents and publishers amplifying Black voices. There’s a clear call to action right now for Black writers and here’s how to take advantage of it: Do Your Research. Read Everything You Can Get Your Hands On. There’s a lot of info being shared on Twitter right now. For example, last week DongWon Song, an agent at Howard Morhaim Literary Agency, announced he’s open to unsolicited submissions from Black authors. Song represents science fiction and fantasy, as well as some young adult literature, so he may or may not be the right agent for you. Always research an agent to make sure they represent your genre and your writing aligns with their current writers. In other words, do your homework. Here’s a handy tool called Manuscript Wish List that you can […]

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Grief and Social Isolation: Why We Still Need to Grieve

Recently, I spoke with with writer and educator Julie Flynn Badal about the lessons I learned while writing The Secret Life of Grief and how they can help us during this challenging time. Julie shared our conversation with Quartz, and I’m honored that they published our interview earlier this week: “What We Lose When We Grieve in Isolation.” As Julie said so eloquently, “The coronavirus pandemic has cast much of the world into a collective state of grief. Our sense of loss covers a wide spectrum: from loss of personal space and freedoms to dashed expectations and visions to loss of our physical or mental health to the loss of loved ones. . . . “Most cultures have developed traditions around grief to help people contain and move through the intense feelings of loss; and most of these rituals involve community. The collective nature […]

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