Delving into memoir writing was a little bit like jumping stark naked off a cliff into the ocean: thrilling, terrifying and vulnerable. It felt possible because of Alison’s incisive, articulate, artful expertise in challenging and encouraging us. As she helped us enliven our own and each other’s stories, I was struck again and again by how, when we wrote with courage and vulnerability, we could “write through our experiences to something greater,” just as she described. Thank you, Alison, for helping us find the “transcendent quality in our stories” and the capacity for healing in the process.
— Karen James-Abra

Do you have a personal story you wish to write?

Do you wonder...

* how to tell your story in such a way that it becomes compelling reading for others?

* how to transform your personal experiences into stories of universal interest?

* what the difference is between autobiography and memoir?

* where the line is between memory and fiction?

* how to structure the material so it is focussed and gives the story momentum?

* 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?

If any of these questions feel familiar or relevant, you are in the right place.

Many people come to my workshops because they aren't sure where or how to start. Others have been writing for a while but find themselves feeling stuck, overwhelmed or out of steam. Experienced writers might come with a series of specific questions for which they need answers. But most often people arrive timidly, warily, with a long-held dream to write and a decision that now is finally, finally, the time.

No matter where you are with your writing, a workshop can guide and inspire you. In addition to offering the tools needed to structure and sculpt your personal stories successfully, a workshop can spare unnecessary struggle, frustration and confusion, while offering the accountability and support (and laughter!) we simply cannot find on our own.

Over the course of a short workshop, participants learn to hone their stories, settle into their voices, find focus and 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 ideas into beautiful writing.

Alison creates an environment of respect, knowledge and intimacy, in which one feels safe and supported while negotiating the labyrinth of memory and the challenges of mapping it on the page. The workshop setting also offers the precious opportunity of sharing in the struggles, insights and triumphs of other writers. Frankly, it was a life-changing experience and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
— Marion Adler, Stratford, Ontario

WORKSHOP FORMAT: Each session begins with an informal lecture and discussion about one of the essential elements of memoir writing. After that, everyone has the option of sharing and receiving feedback on 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 (or downright nauseous) 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.

If you have ever thought that you might have a story to tell, run to an Alison Wearing writing workshop.
Alison is a luminous master teacher. Her generosity of spirit creates an atmosphere of joyous, supportive learning and sharing. With patience, kindness and humour, Alison draws participants together to form a ‘safe’ community of creative writers who value each other’s work.
— Nancy Benjamin
Alison created a safe place to tell my story, gently prodding me toward greater clarity and deeper truth. In addition to her masterful guidance, everyone in the workshop shared insights, offered suggestions, and bore witness to one another with great generosity. This is the true meaning of ‘life affirming.’
— Holly Shephard
This was a rewarding workshop in so many ways. I came with numerous apprehensions, not the least of which was that I had nothing to write and maybe even nothing to learn. I found I had lots to write — and to learn! I also dismantled my procrastination. It was a privilege and inspiration to hear what other writers had to share. An enlivening experience expertly facilitated by Alison.
— Rosemary Dunsmore
Alison’s workshop is fantastic! She helped me to be brave enough to write, gave me validation and a sense that my stories could be unearthed and exposed to the light. I will always be grateful for her inspiring alchemy.
— Cynthia Dale
This experience opened a door to a core of creativity that had felt long abandoned in me. Alison’s skillful and insightful guidance held the space, and the warmth and support of the souls around the table was nurturing. I was spellbound by the quality of writing from everyone. Wow!
— Linda MacKay
Alison has helped me elevate my writing skills to new levels. Through honest, detailed feedback, she reviews our writing and motivates us to tweak and improve. Her animated, often humorous, anecdotes about her own writing process have us excited to write, write and write! I never want it to be over.
— Astrid Russell
By sharing her own experiences, her precise observations, and very apt questions, Alison inspires and encourages her students to succeed. She is a masterful mentor.
— Marion Lane
The workshop days with Alison were pivotal for my writing. My compass has been reset.
— Lynn Wyvill
Not only did I discover the narrative voice of my memoir, but with Alison’s guidance, I found a new container that moves the story from the ordinary to the universal. I am grateful for her insight, compassion and encouragement.
— Joan McAndrew
It’s not that Alison simply holds a mirror to reflect what you need to see within yourself and your writing; rather, it is as if she holds a body of water of immeasurable depth that allows you to go as deep as you must in order to find out who you really are and what you want to say.
— Carolyn Agis
Thanks to Alison’s encouragement to permit myself to look closer and delve deeper, I’m beginning to discover my own voice and realize my stories are interesting and relatable. Humans are the only species that share stories. We’d be lost without them. With them, we find ourselves.
— Barbara Fulton
Alison’s passion for helping others excavate the beauty and meaning of their own story is evident in the depth of her listening and the grace in her teaching. The writing journey was a wildly joyful reckoning, a sweet reunion with parts of myself that I had long forgotten, kept hidden, or locked away.
— Pam Gerrand
Alison helped me release the real voice inside me and it made my memoir sing.
— Karen Mills
Alison’s workshop was the key that unlocked my voice, the fire that lit my confidence and the sage that inspired my daily writing practice. Still going strong.
— Pam Beatson
Alison’s classes are pure JOY!
— Basia del Fante