Writers have been able to teach memoir writing from Memoir Network packages since 1996. The idea of creating packages started when people began telephoning us to ask if we could help them teach memoir writing. “I’d like to do what you do right here at home,” they’d tell us. At the time, we had no materials but, in 1996, I took four months out to write the two core manuals: The Curriculum Manual and The Presenter’s Manual. We are now in the process of a major update of the revisions of these texts.
By now, hundreds of individuals—600 and counting—have made great use of the materials to engage people in their communities in memoir writing. One could easily presume that 100,000 memoirs and lifestory collections have been written as a result of the memoir teachers we have helped launch. In the process…
They have managed to create interesting work or challenging avocations for themselves. A smaller number have established viable companies with our materials as a base for their success. When I look back, I feel I have reason to be proud of what The Memoir Network has accomplished.
There are many reasons that people choose to teach memoir writing and to extend that into coaching, editing and ghostwriting. Of course, it always starts with a phrase like “I’ve always loved to listen to and tell family stories.” Many people who contact us will say with a grin that carries well over the phone lines, “I’m the family storyteller.” So…
If there’s one thing I know it’s that memoir work is anchored deep in the soul—this anchoring is true both of the teacher and of the workshop writer—and it is true of you, too!
While all the people who approach The Memoir Network for help to teach memoir writing share that love for memory, for family, and for stories, there are different demands from the work. People’s interest falls roughly into perhaps two categories:
1. People who are interested in teaching memoir writing as an avocation.
They know that storytelling is an interest and a passion. Perhaps these people are retired or perhaps they are simply looking to engage in the community at a different level, a meaningful level. Money is not a rallying cry for them. More important is to invest in doing something interesting, to do something meaningful both for themselves and for others. Perhaps this person is already part of a group like a library board or a retirement community or a church or synagogue and he or she would like to teach memoir writing to people in that unit. This person is not motivated by the prospect of income, not interested in raising revenue.
Among the stellar teachers who have fallen into this category are a woman in Boca Raton who teaches memoir writing every fall and every spring to a group in her Episcopal church, another woman in Maryland—now 88—teaches in her retirement community (“They won’t let me retire!” she laments happily), another man taught in Philadelphia at his synagogue, a teacher in Toronto area taught into her eighties. All of these people taught memoir writing for the pleasure of it.
2. People who are looking to earn all or part of a living doing something s/he loves.
This person is perhaps a freelance writer or a helping professional such as a counselor or an activities director or a housewife/mother seeking to add to the family income doing something she believes in. That person is looking either to make memoir work into a full-time job or is looking to create supplemental income. Of course, they enjoy the work because that’s what they chose to do, but that work also has to contribute to the “bottom line.” We call these people Memoir Professionals and they acquire the Memoir Professional Package. In addition to the teaching materials, the Memoir Professional Package has an Editor’s Manual, a Speaker’s Manual and a Business Manual as well as an e-course geared to creating business success. Comes with much writing material including the Memoir Start Up Package.
Among the early buyers of the Memoir Professional package was Linda Myers who went on to create the National Association of Memoir Writers. So people have made use of the materials to create careers.
How do you see yourself engaged in memoir work in your community? What would you like to know about this work? Post below.
Follow your passion. Click here to learn how to teach memoir writing in your community.