Many people come to my workshops because they have an incredible personal story they wish to write, but they're not sure where or how to start. Others have been writing for a while but find themselves feeling stuck, overwhelmed or out of steam. I have had experienced writers come with a clear project in mind, or well underway, and a series of specific questions for which they need answers. And sometimes a person arrives simply with a long-held dream to write their story, having decided that now is finally, finally, the time.

No matter where you are with your writing, a workshop can help you. Enormously.

In addition to offering the answers to critical questions and the essential tools you need to structure and sculpt your personal stories successfully, a workshop can spare you unnecessary struggle and frustration, save you time (spinning your wheels, reinventing the wheel...), and offer the accountability and support (and laughter!) we simply cannot find on our own.

The progress I have witnessed over the course of these workshops has been breathtaking. Writing begins to soar as people find their voices, focus their stories, find clarity, understand their strengths, bypass obstacles, gain confidence, employ the insights and feedback from the group, and walk away with the motivation and inspiration to turn their stories into beautiful writing.

Alumni from my workshops have gone on to see their stories published in newspapers and magazines, their essays shortlisted for international writing prizes, their books published, their autobiographical plays produced. They have secured agents and publishing contracts, positions in MFA Creative Writing programs, and they have created priceless self-made books as gifts for their grandchildren.

Most importantly, they have had the pleasure of writing their stories.

If you are interested in writing yours, I'd be happy to help.

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— Hope K.

Do you wonder...

* how to choose which of your innumerable stories to write about?
* how to create a structure to contain the material?
* how to transform your personal stories into something of universal interest?
* what the difference is between autobiography and memoir?
* where the line is between memory and fiction?
* how you can write about difficult situations or people, especially if those people are still alive?
* if it is possible to write accurately about something that happened decades ago?
* how to recreate dialogue in a convincing and truthful way?
* what happens if someone else remembers the same events differently?
* what to do if writing your story inspires someone to want to throw a brick through your window?

These are just some of the joys and common challenges to be found in chronicling one's life on the page, so welcome!

Each workshop session begins with an informal lecture and discussion about the essential elements of memoir writing. After that, everyone has the option of workshopping one short piece of writing (or an excerpt from a longer piece). Writing can be generated over the course of the workshop or be previously created. While virtually everyone is apprehensive about sharing their writing at first, guidelines for helpful feedback and a well-monitored workshop ensure that the experience is an inspiring, encouraging and clarifying one. The aim of every session is to provide each writer with fresh and ongoing insights into her/his work, as well as the direction, focus, clarity, enthusiasm and energy s/he needs to move forward.

First things first: you do not need to be tech-savvy to take an online workshop.

Secondly, while you do miss out on fresh baking that I provide in my in-person workshops, an online workshop provides a remarkably comparable experience: an opportunity to learn the essentials of memoir writing, receive helpful feedback on your work, and join a small and supportive group of people who will provide accountability and inspiration -- all without having to leave your home.

These workshops take the form of six weekly 2-hour video conference sessions. No special software or bells/whistles are required! If you have a computer and know how to use the internet, you are sufficiently tech-savvy to participate.

In order to make these workshops as simple and streamlined as possible, there is a limit of only FOUR participants per workshop. This is a more intimate setting than most other workshops and significant attention is given to every person's work.

Because we are all able to see each other's faces, the experience is far more intimate and enjoyable than a standard teleconference, and the online dialogue works surprisingly well. Everyone's computer screen looks something like this:

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Please note:

I have never had anyone attend an online workshop wearing a tie.

Come to think of it, I haven't yet had a man attend an online workshop

(though men are welcome!).

Also, we don't tend to look quite as shiny and put together as these people.

But we do tend to be just as jolly.

Over the course of the six weekly sessions, you will gain an understanding of the most vital aspects of memoir writing, including options for framework and structure, establishing a strong voice, working with dialogue, questions of memory, the line between fiction and nonfiction, how to find the universal resonance of a personal story, and common mistakes and obstacles.

You will also have the opportunity to share up to six short pieces of work and to receive the kind of feedback that provides clarity, direction and inspiration. Be prepared for substantial progress in your work and a spirited desire to move forward with your writing for the duration of the workshop and beyond.

Limited to 4 participants.

 

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