Self Guided

Write Your Memoir Month

November 1 - 26, 2021

Why should fiction writers get all the support this month? We’re claiming November as National Memoir Writing Month. Long live NaMeWriMo!

Additional Information

Patterned after our popular Thirty-Minute Memoir course, this self-guided course is designed to help you break the potentially overwhelming task of writing a memoir into manageable daily writing assignments. Each week’s lesson, revealed on Monday, will focus on a different aspect of memoir writing, from opening chapters to scenes involving dialogue. Daily writing prompts will keep you motivated and moving ahead with your project.

Each week provides:

  • DAILY PROMPTS to help you generate new writing
  • INSPIRATION in the form of written lectures and selected readings

After the course closes: you will receive a zip file containing all of the course content and any writing you posted. You’ll also continue to be a member of our Creative Nonfiction Writing Classes’ Community Page. With this free membership, you will be able to share writings and calls for submissions, recommend books, and stay connected with other writers.

Course Schedule

Week 1: Find Your Focus

A memoir needs a focal point on which the writer can build, but many writers dive into their first draft without knowing what their focus is. During Week 1 you will identify the focus of your book (or think of ways to fine-tune that focus for an existing project). This week’s writing prompts will help you identify and hone the central idea of your memoir.

Week 2: The Shape of Your Narrative

A book-length memoir offers many possibilities for structure: should the narrative be chronological, braided, retrospective? You will explore possible shapes for your memoir, and this week's writing prompts provide opportunities to try out (or again, hone) different structures and approaches.

Week 3: Writing About People & A Sense of Place

People are the most important element of a memoir, in that a reader’s interest in all the book’s events is generally founded on his or her interest in the people who lived through those events. The setting in which your book takes place can also be an essential part of the story you want to tell; in many cases, the setting can be a character in and of itself. This week you will learn how to write about people and place in ways that readers will find engaging.

Week 4: Scene & Summary

Two of the most pivotal elements of nonfiction are scene and summary. You’'ll study the difference between summary and scene and practice using both effectively.

View Complete Syllabus

Course Registration

$29.99

Out of stock

Become a Supporting Subscriber today and get up to 10% off your purchase.

Please Note

It is not uncommon for classes to fill up before the end of early registration, particularly in the last few days before the deadline. If you know for certain that you wish to take a particular class, we recommend registering early. If you'd like to be added to a waitlist for a sold-out class, please email our director of education, Sharla Yates, at [email protected].

Hear from our Students

Creative Nonfiction’s online writing classes have helped more than 3,000 writers tell their stories better.

Read Success Stories

Testimonials

I enjoyed reading other peoples work and getting feedback about my own work– the handouts/video links and class lessons were also very informative and relevantly paced to the give structural guidelines.

Catherine O’Neill

Self Guided FAQs

  • How do I prepare for the webinar?

    We usually open the webinar 3-5 minutes prior to start time (see webinar invite) so you can check your audio settings and make sure everything is working properly on your end. The host will welcome everyone and ask you to introduce yourself and share where you’re joining from in the text-based chat. Participation in the chat is optional.

    The actual webinar program usually gets rolling five minutes after the start time. This is also when the recording starts if you watch the video afterward.

    No one can hear you or see you during the webinar. The only people who are visible and can be heard during the webinar are the instructor and host.

    Audio Settings:
    If you’re unable to hear any sound during the webinar, please look at the bottom left of your Zoom window for Audio Settings, and click the small arrow to check your settings.

    Getting familiar with the Zoom software

    There are several ways to interact with the presenter and other students during the webinar:

    *Live chat

    *Formal Q & A window

    Live Chat:
    The live chat is where you can exchange messages in real time with other students attending the webinar, as well as the instructor and host. Usually your chat visibility defaults to just the presenter/panelists. If you want everyone attending to see your chat message (and most people do), then you need to select “everyone” or “all panelists and attendees” in the chat window.

    How to banish the chat:
    We encourage you to make use of the live chat throughout the webinar because it’s one of the great benefits of joining the live event. However, some find the chat distracting and would like to turn it off. As of today, Zoom doesn’t allow students to disable the chat, but there is a way to effectively “banish” it if you do not want to see it:

    1. Click the Chat icon at the bottom of the Zoom window
    2. When the Chat appears on the side of your window, click the small arrow icon and select Pop Out, which separates the Chat into its own free-floating window
    3. Then, using your cursor, drag the Chat off the side or bottom of your screen

    Formal Q & A:

    All webinars include time for Q & A with the presenter. This will be included in the recording.

  • How can I download the webinar recording?

    In most cases, unless you see the download arrow under the recording window, you will not be able to download the recording. You will have ongoing access to the recording link to view at your leisure. You can download any supplemental materials provided by following the links in the webinar recording description. The recording will be sent to you three days after the live event.

  • I did not receive the recording for a webinar. Can you re-send it?

    Yes, we’re sorry this happened. These messages are sent from “[email protected]” and sometimes go missing. Please email us and we’ll respond with a link to the recording.

  • When will the recording be available?

    We ask for 3 days to send you the recording. If you do not receive it within that time frame, please contact us and we’ll assist you.

  • Can I still register for [x] webinar?

    If the webinar is not marked “sold out,” you can still join.