Hi, I’m Tanja,
and I teach writers how to write compelling memoirs.
In the 20 years I’ve been working with writers, I’ve learned two universal truths:
- Most writers are dealing with some kind of saboteur or inner critic, particularly if they’re writing memoir. If you want to complete a compelling memoir and stay healthy/sane through the process, it’s essential that you increase your level of self-care. Compassion and kindness are what will get you to the finish line, not perfectionism.
- Every writer benefits from some kind of structure—even those who say they don’t. Because writing a book is a marathon, not a sprint.
I don’t believe in writing your way into the story—at least not for book-length manuscripts. In my experience, those are the memoirs that often need to be rewritten.
That’s why we take the time to discern the parameters of this specific story when we start working together. We get clear on what belongs as well as what doesn’t, shaping your manuscript in a way that captures your reader. Because if your reader doesn’t keep turning the pages, then you’ve lost your chance at making an impact.
From there, we create a plan to get you to the finish line, using simple techniques to help you organize, plan and create. We also dive into the craft and technique of memoir, grounding our teachings in examples from contemporary memoirs.
Teaching others how to write and structure compelling memoirs while taking care of themselves is my specialty.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve worked with writers of all levels and backgrounds as well as written five books–two of which have been published. I’ll teach you what works as well as what doesn’t.
Along the way, I’ll show you where you might get stuck as well as how to bypass the potholes (been there, done that!). Finally, I’ll teach you the secrets of self-care—essential when you’re working with messy material from your life.
Writing a memoir is a dance between form/structure and creativity/exploration. On good days, it’s a journey to the divine. On a bad one, it’s an exercise in futility. Much like any other spiritual journey.
If you’re struggling with structuring your book and/or implementing the craft and technique of memoir, I’d be honored to guide you through the process.
If you’d like to discuss one-on-one coaching or request a manuscript review, please contact me here. I offer complimentary 30-minute calls to see how we might work together and ensure that we’re a good fit.
*Please note that I often refer newer writers to my Memoir Mastery program, a more cost- and time-effective alternative to one-on-one coaching.
The author of The Secret Life of Grief: A Memoir and 9 Steps to Heal Your Resentment and Reboot Your Marriage, Tanja Pajevic is on the faculty of Lighthouse Writers and has taught creative writing and professional writing at the University of Colorado Denver, the Community College of Denver and Indiana University, where she earned her M.F.A. She is a member of the Fulbright Alumni Association, Colorado Authors’ League, Boulder Editors and Boulder Media Women.
Tanja’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, Huffington Post, Writer’s Digest, JaneFriedman.com, mindbodygreen, Gawker and Scary Mommy, as well as in literary reviews Shenandoah and Crab Orchard Review. Her memoir The Secret Life of Grief received the Nautilus Silver Book Award, an award honoring “books that inspire and connect our lives as individuals, communities, and global citizens.” Tanja is also the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, Hemingway Fellowship, Kraft Fellowship, and a faculty award from the University of Colorado Denver for her project “Writing as Healing.” She lives in Boulder, CO, with her family.
Writer, mother, teacher, dancer, wanna-be singer, fierce and tender-hearter
I’ve created black “Remember” wristbands to honor the grieving process and remember our loved ones who’ve passed.