Memoir Coaching

I am currently accepting new clients.

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The only book that is worth writing is the one we don’t have the courage or strength to write. The book that hurts us (we who are writing), that makes us tremble, redden, bleed. It is combat against ourselves, the author; one of us must be vanquished or die. —Hélène Cixous

Do you have a story you burn to tell? Are you ready to spill blood on the page?

Drawing on inspiration from Hélène Cixous, Annie Dillard, Maya Angelou and many other phenomenal writers, you will connect deeply with your desire to tell your story. Often clients come to me with an idea of the book they want to create, but after a few weeks of writing exercises, they embark on a new journey to create a piece far better than the one they’d originally envisioned. My coaching perspective is different. I emphasize trusting your gut and looking around for clues in the world to aid you in the execution of your vision. Artist dates are as important a discipline as your time at the computer.

This work is exciting, but it is vigorous and challenging. I will hold your feet to the fire. And I will do it in a loving way. My favorite thing to do is to help female writers connect with their impulse to create a book. The WHY of your impulse is as important as the book you will one day hold in your hand. The WHY informs every decision you will make in terms of structure. Writing can get monotonous and annoying. We must lay the groundwork to understand what has driven you to uncork your memories on the page. We will then craft a structure that best suits the story.

What to Expect

Memoir coaches all work differently. A few say exercises and prompts are pointless. Others believe these tools are the keys to unlocking your story. I believe the latter. Because we will most likely be strangers when we meet, I need to get to know you and your story in order to best help you craft it. You must be comfortable with me in order to spill your blood on the page.

For the first month, you will do exercises that will challenge and enable you to delve into the dark places in your past, the home of your story. I ask frank, tough questions. But I do this work because I love it, because I believe Mary Karr when she says:

"To watch someone scrutinize a painful history in depth—which I've done as teacher and editor and while working with former drunks trying to clear up ancient crimes—is to witness not inconsiderable pain. You have to lance a boil and suffer its stench as infection drains off. Yet all the scrupulous self-examinations I've seen over time—whether on the page or off—always end with acceptance and relief. For the more haunted among us, only looking back at the past can permit it finally to become past."

Working on a memoir is hard, emotional work. It's not the same as writing fiction, where you are living in the head of someone else. You will fully inhabit your own head and that can get scary sometimes. I am there to hold your hand, to provide you with inspiration and reminders that you can climb to the top of the mountain. We will get there together.

“Jennifer has been instrumental in shaping me into the writer I am today. Her criticism is honest and constructive. Her approach is patient and warm. She’s fearless, clear headed, and has a refined palette for excellent writing.”

If this all sounds wonderful to you, please contact me via the link below.

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