PEOPLE ALWAYS ASK ME for my single greatest piece of writing advice. I guess everyone is in a hurry, but honestly, that’s the question I get asked more than any other. And I always say the same thing. I’ve say it at conferences. I said it to the Tribe Writers in Franklin, Tennessee, recently, as well as to a large group of memoir-writing psychoanalysts at another recent convention. I say it to my memoir writing students, memoir writing coaching clients, as well as to myself every single day. What is it? Simple. Write with intent. [Read more…]
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DOES WRITING A BOOK FEEL LIKE facing a hazardous obstacle course? It doesn’t have to, because the biggest challenges to writing a book are not what you might think. Specifically, when writing memoir, the biggest obstacles are not a lack of material, nor a lack of ideas. Or time. Nope. They are not a need for more research before you write or needing to wait another day/week/month/year until you see how this thing you’re writing about turns out. What are the biggest obstacles to writing a book? Let’s enumerate them. [Read more…]
“What is the one thing I need to know to write a book?” I am asked this all the time, and I used to reply that it was knowing what the book is about. No more. I now know that the single greatest challenge to writing a book is knowing how to structure a book. [Read more…]
GETTING PUBLISHED IN AN ANTHOLOGY is something I regularly recommend as a goal to my memoir coaching clients. It’s a joy to see your piece of memoir included in a book, of course, but the work to get included in an anthology can also be one of great collaboration and learning, during which a writer can absorb an education about writing and editing to theme and space. Such is the case for Dan New, a friend and student, whose experience with the just-published anthology, The Weight of My Armor, will inspire you to consider getting your own work into an anthology.
I’m going to let him tell it in this guest post, but not before I say that there are few feelings I know as deeply moving as seeing in print something I first read in one of my classes. I remember exactly what I felt when I first read his essay, The Trip Home. The wonder has only increased over time. Seeing it in print in this fine new book is an almost inexpressible joy for me.
First, though, here is Dan’s answer to my question of how his inclusion in this marvelous new book came about. Following, with the kind permission from his publisher, is The Trip Home. [Read more…]
For 20 years I have been teaching a class called Writing What You Know at a regional arts center in New York, at the famed Chautauqua Institute, and at writing retreats all over the country. It’s one of the great joys of my life. I am now offering it online via Skype for small groups, meeting weekly for two hours, meaning that no matter where in the world you live you can study with me and get to that memoir you’ve been meaning to write.
Here’s the promise of the class:
Flannery O’Connor said that anyone who survived childhood has enough material to write for the rest of his or her life. She’s right, of course. But writing about yourself and your crazy (or not-so-crazy) family can be the big vein, if you’re ready, or the brick wall, if you’re not. This course will help you dig among your stuff and get it down on paper in some interesting, funny, enlightening, compelling, readable and possibly saleable way.
In this class you will:
- Learn to write with intent – meaning without prompts or assignments
- Master the essentials of writing memoir, including knowing how and why to tell the truth
- Receive helpful critiques of your work from a small group who will become as invested in your work as I am
- Grow enormously as a writer
- Workshop one piece of memoir per week
After six weeks you can expect to:
- Set a goal for your writing and meet it
- Write succinct and precise dialogue, characterization and scenes
- Develop tremendous confidence as a writer
You should take this class if you:
- Have some experience writing memoir
- Have already read The Memoir Project, A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life (order a copy now to read before class begins)
- Want to succeed as a memoir writer of essays, book-length or online writing
- Have taken the 90-minute class, Memoirama
- These classes are taught via GoToWebinar. I will send you the link to practice beforehand. It’s easy.
- I suggest using a USB headset with microphone (using your computer’s microphone can create poor sound quality). I use this one.
Please read The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life and consider attending one session of Memoirama.
$500(plus Eventbrite processing fee)
Limited to 6 students.
This class will run regularly throughout the year. THE NEXT CLASS WILL BEGIN LATER IN 2018. Registration will be announced.
No pornography. I should not have to say this, but I do. Sex scenes are fine. But no porn. You know the difference. So do I.
For the rest of my live, online memoir writing classes, please visit me here.
NO MORE WRITING EXERCISES. I mean it. If you are going to learn how to write memoir, you need to learn to write with intent. That’s my phrase — writing with intent — and I’m sticking to it, since I know how well it has worked for others. Ready to come along? [Read more…]