The Curriculum Manual focuses on the memoir workshop structure. “Winging it” has a certain value at times, but structure always leads to faster learning.
In October of 1988, following upon the publication of my book of short stories, What Became of Them and Other Stories from Franco America, I was asked to read from this collection of autobiographical fiction to a group of foster grandparents. It was to prove how I started to teach memoir workshops.
It seemed good marketing to present to another group of people—potential book buyers. The reading would also give me an opportunity to send in a release to the local newspaper.
I accepted the invitation, but not without some hesitation. Might this group be too small?
Mary, the woman who coordinated the meeting, had told me however that, after my book program, she was confident many people in the room—Franco-Americans themselves— would want to hear the stories and share theirs. At that time, I had no mind to teach a memoir workshop.[Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
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Many memoir writers secretly, or not so secretly, want to help other people to write their memoirs. Sometimes they do this informally with a friend or two, and at other times, they get a bit more organized and offer a class at a library or other institution. One thing is certain, launching your memoir teaching will take some attention.
I have taught workshops for decades and can attest to the deep satisfaction I have derived from working with writers. I have formed friendships that have lasted these many years.
If you would like to offer a memoir class here are a few tips to do so more successfully. They are garnered from sound business practices, but don’t worry as they are easy for anyone to implement.
(I have written about the curriculum elsewhere.)