Many goals are easier to achieve in a group setting, where support and encouragement are built in. People join Weight Watchers, take exercise classes and go to AA meetings in order to pursue a goal—and the same strategy can apply to memoir writing. Hook up with other memoir writers, and you’ll find the inspiration and motivation you may be having trouble developing on your own.
First, check your local senior center, the most likely organization to hold a formal memoirs writing class or informal group meeting. Even if your age doesn’t qualify you as a senior, they’re unlikely to turn you away—and this tends to be either free or very affordable. Libraries are another good bet; click here for an account of a longstanding memoirs class held at the public library in Arlington Heights, Illinois.
If you can’t find a memoirs group in your area, how hard would it be to start one? According to Cathy Fulton, it’s not difficult at all. She did it and then wrote a book about it: Facilitating a Lifewriting Group is Easy. Fulton found that weekly, two-hour meetings work best, with most of the time devoted to having the members read their stories and the rest asking questions or providing positive feedback. A discussion about a topic of choice and a 10-minute break fill up the remainder of the time.
If you join or form a memoir writing group, please email us to let us know! If you would ever want one of us to speak at your meeting, we would be happy to do that for nothing more than the reimbursement of travel costs from our Chicago location.