Writing Your Story #7 — Memoir Writing Groups

Writing as part of a memoir group is an excellent way to keep your stories coming.  The more you write the easier it is to write.

Check your local senior center (even if you are not a senior); check your YMCA; or the adult-education program at the community college.  You may find classes or groups that already exist.

Taking a memoir class is a good way to get started.  It will give you the opportunity to meet people in your community that share your desire to write memoir.  There will be members in the class that you feel compatible with.  These are the people who you want in your group.

If there are not any classes or groups in your community, start your own.  Between six and ten members is a good size.  This size group allows for enough time for each member to read what they have written. The memoir group I attend currently has six members.  It has been as large as ten.

The more diverse the group, the more interesting the readings will be.  Diversity also stimulates more topics for writing.  The members in our group have ranged in age from their 40’s to their 90’s.  They come from different backgrounds and the group includes both males and females.

It is important to have a consistent meeting time so that members can be prepared.  Meet as often as works for the members.  Our group meets once a month and takes turns hosting the group in their homes, but you could meet at a restaurant, a coffee shop or even in the park if the weather is good.

We have found that it is helpful to have someone send out a reminder about a week before our meeting.  For our group the hosting member usually sends the reminder.  Personally I think reminders are important.  If gives members a sense of security that the meeting is actually going to take place.

When we meet we select a topic for our next reading session.  However, if a member has a topic they want to write about that is different they are welcome to vary from the chosen topic.  We select topics because we find that some members are more comfortable if they have a starting point.

I think one of the greatest rewards of being part of a group has been how well we have gotten to know each other.  As we have shared our stories we have shared things with each other we would never have had a reason to share.

If you start or join a group of memoir writers remember it is not about who writes the best.  It is about having an environment that keeps everyone writing.


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