Leading a Lifetales Workshop

4-14-2014 7-33-09 AMTeaching Lifewriting  

With the publication of memoirs fast becoming more and more popular, this type of workshop can be an asset to your community and maybe even earn you a few extra bucks. Perhaps you’ve already attended a writing workshop or two. A Memoir Workshop is a creative writing workshop for those people who wish to write about their life stories. 

Setting Up a Workshop Familiarize yourself with the key elements of Memoir Writing. Check out books from the library or purchase a copy of Writing Your Memoirs Workshop: A Manual for Instructors (only $2.99 at Amazon!) Organize your notes in a notebook or file folder. Label your folders or notebook sections with Possible Venues, Advertising and Workshop notes. Next, decide how long your workshop will run. Six weeks is a good length for a workshop.

Community Centers usually pay you a flat fee. Libraries and Bookstores usually offer the Workshops for free to the community. Contact your local Community Center, Libraries and local Bookstores about offering a Memoir Writing Workshop. Determine the maximum number of participants you will allow and how much you will charge each person. You can also contact Churches and Schools in your area. Explain to them the benefits to the community and to their place of business if they host the Workshop. Finally, post flyers around town. Send press releases announcing the Writing Workshop to your local papers. Post online to your local paper and such websites as Craigslist.

Be a Leader Because this is a workshop, you need to be more of a leader than a teacher. Always have a lesson plan. Introduce a topic for the day then let the workshop participants run with it. Be prepared to step in when needed. When people talk about themselves, they tend to go off in all directions. Gently pull them back to the session’s current topic. In addition, a sense of humor is essential.  Quite often the discussions get very emotional. It is your job to be prepared to inject suitable levity when needed. 

Privacy In a Memoir class, where people are writing and revealing personal life stories, it is of utmost importance to ensure all participants feel secure. Place privacy first. Draw up a confidentiality agreement for all workshop participants at the first session. They all need to agree to not divulge the stories they will hear from other members of the group.

Publishing At the end of the workshop, make an anthology of participants’ favorite writing pieces. You can have these printed and bound for very little at Lulu.com, Create Space, or another free publishing site. All participants and their families will want to buy one! Be sure to get written permission from each participant who agrees to have his or her stories published in the anthology.


3-20-2014 7-54-03 AM2You can purchase workbooks for your students hereContact me for a discounted bulk rate.

writing your memoirs instructorAll the steps, worksheets, and marketing materials you need to lead a lifewriting workshop are here! This is the digital version.

 Contact me if you would like this manual in print version.


Day #14 A to Z Blogging Challenge

Published by: Karen Y. Hamilton

Walt Whitman says about his autobiography, Specimen Days “…At any rate I obey my happy hour’s command, which seems curiously imperative. May-be, if don’t do anything else, I shall send out the most wayward, spontaneous, fragmentary book ever printed.” This is what I feel at this juncture of my life, the need to gather together memories of my ancestors as well as my own memories into some semblance of order. Because all of those fragments, all of the fragments that make up any life, become stories. I am the mother of three sons, who affectionately (I hope!) call me 'gypsy mom' because I tend to wander around a bit soaking in the universe's wonders. I am currently working towards an MFA in Creative Writing at Florida Atlantic University. I have published essays with Heritage Press, Florida Living, and the St. Pauls Review. I am currently working on a book of poems about the Florida Everglades pioneers and a memoir about grief and the bonds of friendship. I live in my hometown, Jupiter, Florida and work as a freelance writer and curriculum specialist.

Categories A to Z Blogging Challenge, LifewritingTags, , , , , , , , , , Leave a comment

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