Tag Archives: workshop

3 Steps to Becoming a Brilliant Writer of Memoir

Guest post by Jasmine June Cabanaw

Think of the most influential books you’ve read. I bet at least one of them was based on a personal journey, of someone overcoming their hardships and gaining valuable life lessons. This is the beauty of memoir writing— the protagonist doesn’t have to achieve something extraordinary in order for it to be inspiring. In fact, some of the recent bestselling memoirs, such as Eat, Pray, Love and Wild are based on events to which most people can relate.

If you have a personal story to share— one that you hope will inspire and motivate others— there are some things you can do that will help you be a brilliant writer of memoir and stand out from the crowd. Here are three steps to get you started:

Understand Memoir vs Autobiography

An autobiography encapsulates an entire life, while a memoir is a collection of memories from that life. This is an important distinction because oftentimes new memoir writers will make the mistake of trying to fit too many details into their story.

With a memoir, it’s okay to omit people, events, and other information if it isn’t relevant to your theme. A memoir is not a diary entry. You don’t need to write your memoir chronologically, or even start at the beginning. Writing more than one memoir is appropriate, too, if you have multiple stories to share.

Learn from other brilliant writers

One of the best (and pleasurable) ways to become a brilliant writer is to be a voracious reader. And if you want to be a brilliant writer of memoir, then you should be a voracious reader of memoir writers. Read everything from Ernest Hemingway (A Moveable Feast) to Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love). What do you think worked for those authors? What gripped your attention and kept you turning page after page? Make notes, jot down thoughts, and highlight passages that truly inspired.

Another option is to take classes and workshops from memoir writers. It’s a good idea to read their memoirs first, take notes, and then ask the authors to expand upon them during the workshop. Many authors are happy to do this, especially if it is during a designated Q&A. The bonus to this option, of course, is getting to meet a brilliant writer in person, and maybe even getting a signed copy of their book.

Have a story arc

A memoir may be a series of memories from a specific time period, but there still needs to be a story arc. Otherwise, you’ll be left with disconnected islands and nothing to join them together; you need to either build bridges or give your readers a boat. Plan a beginning, middle, and an end, and a theme or two that ties them all together.

Remember, you are writing about real life, with all of its challenges, twists, turns, and lessons. Your memoir doesn’t have to be dramatic, but it should be relatable. This is the gift that memoir writers bestow; their writing inspires, motivates, and helps us get through the challenges in life, if even just a little.

Benefits of taking an online writing course

Guest Post By Jasmine June Cabanaw

All good writers have ways of honing their craft. People who want to write professionally usually obtain degrees which involve some form of writing, whether it be essays, creative writing, or literature analysis. But attending post-secondary school isn’t always an option, especially for people who start writing later in life. When you’ve got an existing career or kids to care for, an online writing course is a great option. Check out the top three benefits below:

Lower Total Costs

Post-secondary courses and writing workshops can be expensive. In addition to the price of the course, you have to factor in transportation costs and any money lost from taking time off work. Traditional writing courses also tend to include registration fees and sometimes pricey textbooks.

In contrast, any online writing course that’s worth taking won’t have any hidden fees associated with it. Many companies will offer a course taster, too, so you can get a feel for what the course will be like before you sign up. You wouldn’t want to purchase a glass of expensive wine without tasting it first, right? With online writing courses, you can sample a few before deciding on the one that best suits your palette.

Convenience and Flexibility

It pretty much goes without saying that taking an online writing course offers you flexibility, but we still want to emphasize how truly great of a benefit this is. With an online writing course, there is never any need to take time off work, find a babysitter, hire someone to walk your dog, or figure out a way to juggle your busy schedule.

Being able to take the course in the comfort of your home also means that you can stay in your pajamas. And that you can sit in your favorite comfy chair. While sipping a cup of tea. Can you see why we love this yet?


Writing courses and workshops offer limited subjects. Even a writer’s dream city, like San Francisco, will not always have courses on topics you want to study. Your options are even more limited if you don’t live in a city. Commuting two hours just to take a workshop rarely seems worth it (unless it’s by a writing master, of course, and then by all means, do it!)

Oftentimes, writing courses will also require prerequisites. If you missed out on the prerequisite courses, you might be waiting a full year until you can take the course you want. What is a writer to do?

Online writing courses to the rescue! You can study anything your little writer’s heart desires. A quick Google search will reveal courses on everything from writing an e-book to crafting your memoir. In addition to craft courses, you’ll also find courses on how to market your writing, how to publish, and how to generally be a successful writer.

Interested in taking your writing to the next level? Check out the Master Class for Successful Writers at www.brilliantwriter.com.