Write Your Memoir In A Weekend: Putting Life in Life Stories
3.3 (4 ratings)
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Write Your Memoir In A Weekend: Putting Life in Life Stories

Intensive life story writing workshop that will give you the foundation, outline and a good start on your memoir.
3.3 (4 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
84 students enrolled
Created by Judy Helm Wright
Last updated 3/2013
Current price: $10 Original price: $25 Discount: 60% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Imagine yourself being able to give your life story to loved ones as a gift. Can you picture how pleased they will be to have a written record of family stories and anecdotes. They will be able to share these stories for generations and be so grateful you took the time out of your busy life to think of them.
  • You will be able to sort through the many stories and tales and recognize which ones you really want to describe in detail. You will be able to anchor time, place, events and what is going on in society at the time to paint a verbal picture for your reader.
View Curriculum
  • You do not need to be a writer to take this course. You do need to have a message or story you would like to tell. This will only require your willingness to look inward, put butt in chair, fingers on keyboard and just let it flow. We write fast and edit later. I hope you will enjoy this class as much as I enjoy teaching it to hundreds of people around the country who have wanted to write a short book fast. In the last segment, I will share how to go about publishing or having the book printed if you so desire. Please join us. You will always be glad you did.

Today more and more families are missing out of the valuable experiences of hanging out with grandparents and other members of an extended family.  Life is so hectic. Over the next couple of generations, our children and their children--who have been raised on mass media rather than family stories and values sharing of important people in their lives--may come to know very little about their ancestry and traditions.

You live as long as your story is remembered.

This is a very intensive weekend project that will produce the bones of memoir writing or life story.  There is a longer, more in-depth course on how to write a memoir in the works, but this will give you a great start and you may be satisfied with the finished product come Monday.

Who is the target audience?
  • Baby-boomers, young professionals, grandparents, new parents, aunties, uncles and people who have a message to share with others.
  • Writing about your life is very therapeutic and you may find after completing this course, you don't want to share the manuscript with anyone. You will find answers to life-long questions and a platform to express your thoughts and examine your life.
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Curriculum For This Course
11 Lectures
Introduction to Memoirs
2 Lectures 29:48
Make sure to grab your FREE copy of my book, Write Your Family Story - Leaving a Living Legacy.  Click the ADD TO CART, and enter coupon code FAMILYSTORY
Preview 11:43

This is a good time to ponder the specifics of your life story.
  •  Who is your audience? Family, friends, to be published, to use as a therapeutic tool for self discovery?
  • What do you want to write about? Remember you are just choosing some pearls to focus on, not the whole long necklace. 
  • Where are you going to keep your writing so that it is organized and you do not get overwhelmed?  I suggest a 3 hole notebook.  Even if you are writing online, print it out and put it in a folder.  Put a few sheet protectors inside the folder to hold the notes, photos and memory joggers for each section.  Once you have some sense of order, you will be more inclined to keep at it.  If you have to go through drawers and boxes, it will never get done.  And you have already made the commitment to do this, so let's make it as painless as possible.
  • When are you going to write?  I wrote my first book by getting up 30 minutes earlier in the morning.  I figured it was 17.5 minutes of actual writing by the time I really got down to it.  If you write 2 hours a week, you will soon have a book ready to be published.  Commit to turning off the TV and turning on your memory.
  • How are you going to do this?  My brain thinks best when my fingers on on a keyboard.  Other friends and class participants can only write in longhand and then have someone else format, edit and correct a manuscript. If you do not feel comfortable writing, then sign up for a voice service, talk your talk and then have it transcribed on http:// fiver.com   http://www.freeconferncecalling.com 
  • Why  are you drawn to this project?  If you feel a burning in your heart and you resonate with this message then you need to record the story.  There is someone waiting for what you have to share.
Who, What, Where, When, How and Why: Part 2
What makes a memoir?
8 Lectures 01:03:39
An autobiographical story is not just an account of events.  This is a charting of your emotional, physical and spiritual course as you go through those events.  You now have the opportunity of time and space to look at what happened with a sense of detachment.  You can look at past events with present eyes.  You will realize what lessons you learned and how each of those events, people, places and times formed who and what you are today.

To say that the work you are going to do in this course is priceless is an understatement.  I have had class participants tell me that they learned more about themselves in this short class than in 30 years of therapy.  I have had class participants tell me that their children wept when presented with the gift of a memoir.  I have had class participants tell me that family wounds have been healed when understanding came from recording about a painful incident.

I have also had siblings come to a class because their other sibling had been to an earlier class and written her life story.  They said they were compelled to come and write the true story!  So whose truth is truer?
What a memoir is and what it is not

I am going to share a poem I heard one time and it has stuck with me ever since.  It is written by Pam Harazin.
Strangers In The Box
Come, look with me inside this drawer.
In this box I've often seen.
At the pictures, black and white,
Faces proud, still, and serene.

I wish I knew the people,
These strangers in the box,
Their names and all their memories
Are lost among my socks.

I wonder what their lives were like,
How did they spend their days?
What about their special times?
I'll never know their ways.

If only someone had taken time
To tell who, what, where or when,
These faces of my heritage
Would come to life again.

Could this become the fate
Of the pictures we take today?
The faces and the memories
Someday to be passed away?

Make time to save your stories,
Seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours could be.......
The strangers in the box.
What a memoir is and what it is not: Part 2

There are so many things that we have mastered in life that we sometimes forget our firsts.  We take for granted our first bike ride, first kiss, first failure, first time we realized we were not immortal.  If ever you get stuck thinking of things to write about, make a list of your firsts.

Each one of us has succeeded at many things in our lives.  Perhaps you have found yourself focusing on when you were disappointed or discouraged.  I challenge you to make a list of what you have can do without assistance today.  Then make a list of things that are easier and more fun for you to do with a partner.

Women tend to mark the passage of time in relationships.  Men do it more often by using sports, cars or dogs as anchors in their memories.  One of the hospice patients I was working with dictated his end-of-life story for four hours and knew every job, boss, salary and piece of equipment  he had used to bring phone service to rural areas.  Just as we were finishing up, he said "Oh, did I mention my wife and three kids?"

We wrote the story on a Thursday afternoon and he died Saturday.  I was able to take copies to the funeral for his grandchildren.
What a memoir is and what it is not: Conclusion

I want to share a quote with you that has great impact on my life.  It is by Thich Nhat Hanh who was a Vietnamese Monk and activist.  You may enjoy reading more of his work.

"If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors.  All of them are alive in this moment.  Each is present in your body.  You are the continuation of each of these people."

In this section we are going to work on who and what has influenced our lives. Many people divide their life by stages, but we are going to use another method to find out who has touched us and made us into the kind of person we are today.
A Mathematical Formula To LIfe

I like this description of defining moments:

“Our lives a series of defining moments, strung together by passing time. Surrender fully to this moment, because it is not the moment itself that defines us, but how we choose to live in it.” -Jill Pendley Some defining moments are gradual while others happen suddenly and literally redefine our lives. They can be birthed from a tragedy, an opportunity, a challenging situation, an insight, a transition, or any other illuminating circumstance. These moments can catapult us to shift our lives and take action.

Often we don't even realize when we are having a defining moment.  It is only in retrospect that we look back and realize how that one event, moment, statement or choice changed our life.  We look back at our lives and remember the dinner when we were deciding to relocate to Montana to raise our family. It was as if we were making this huge decision while we were passing the peas and cutting the meat for the kids.
A Defining Moment

Since I referred to Dr. Phil's mathematical formula, it is only fair that I provide his descriptions;

Ten Defining Moments: In every person's life, there have been moments, both positive and negative, that have defined and redefined who you are. Those events entered your consciousness with such power that they changed the very core of who and what you thought you were. A part of you was changed by those events, and caused you to define yourself, to some degree by your experience of that event.

Seven Critical Choices: There are a surprisingly small number of choices that rise to the level of life-changing ones. Critical choices are those that have changed your life, positively or negatively, and are major factors in determining who and what you will become. They are the choices that have affected your life up to today, and have set you on a path.

Five Pivotal People: These are the people who have left indelible impressions on your concept of self, and therefore, the life you live. They may be family members, friends or co-workers, and their influences can be either positive or negative. They are people who can determine whether you live consistently with your authentic self, or instead live a counterfeit life controlled by a fictional self that has crowded out who you really are.

A Pivotal Person

A Critical Choice

Writing Through Our Senses
Final touches and course conclusion
1 Lecture 12:21
Everyone has a story to tell......share yours!

What is a story?
The most meaningful and poerful stories are often drawn from commonplace occurrences.  Dates of births, deaths, weddings, divorces, and historical events are only backdrops for family stories.  Many times, the real fabric of a story lies in a description of a childhood home, a remembered neighbor, an adored teacher, a first kiss or the death of a beloved pet.

Storytelling connects us in vital ways with where we come from and who we are.  At life's end, storytelling can lessen the emotional discomfort of dying and can leave a wonderful legacy for the living.  Through the stories of our elder family members we can come to know who we are in new and unforeseen ways.

Stories can:
  • teach values
  • show us how to deal with difficult situations
  • guide decision making
  • help us connect with one another
  • keep our cultures alive

Stories provide potential for:

  • creating a family storytelling tradition and lessening the influence of electronic equipment
  • enhancing our everyday experiences
  • learning for our enemies and transforming experiences into powerful, healing stories
  • tuning into our senses and awareness of our surroundings
  • experiencing a richer emotional life
  • teaching our children and our children's children
  • finding miracles in our everyday life

Please join our community of kind, thoughtful people who want respect for all at http://www.ArtichokePress.com

Conclusion, format and publishing
About the Instructor
Judy Helm Wright
3.3 Average rating
4 Reviews
84 Students
2 Courses
aka "Auntie Artichoke", Grief Coach, Author, & Speaker

"Visiting with Judy is like having a cup of tea with a loving auntie"

Judy is a life educator, family & pet grief coach, and keynote speaker who has written more than 20 books, hundreds of articles and speaks internationally. She has recently began a new company Animal/Human/Connection, which will be an off shoot of Artichoke Press LLC.

This heartfelt business will train Pet Grief Coaches to work with those who are coping with the loss of a beloved pet. As a member of WIPIN (Women In The Pet Industry) and a radio host interviewing those in the pet industry, she has gained a great deal of expertise and insight.

Artichoke Press is not Judy's only self-starter project. Judy has owned and managed numerous small businesses, and her entrepreneurial experiences as a mother of six and a stay-at-home-mom is what prompted the National Association of Home-Based Moms (NAHBM) invite her to join their expert advisory council.

What's With The Artichoke?

The symbol of the artichoke has great meaning for Judy in her teaching and writing. As she works with families, she sees that frequently only the outer edges are exposed, which can be prickly and sometimes bitter to the taste. But, as you expose the artichoke and people to warmth, caring, and time, gradually the leaves begin to open and expose the real treasure--the heart.

The artichoke also became a teaching lesson when Judy, as a young military mother, moved her family into military housing in California to find a surprising collection of artichokes planted in their yard. Knowing it takes two years for the vegetable to grow, Judy realized the original gardener never saw the fruits of their labor, but planted the artichokes anyway. Judy was reminded by this experience that many times in life our actions toward others are felt by people we will never meet, but we plant the seeds of kindness anyway.

Be Part of the Animal Human Connection

Claim your copy of any number of books on the different websites and sign up to join our community of kind, thoughtful people who have respect for all, two-legged and four-legged.

People who resonate with the message of kindness, compassion and personal growth are special. They are the type of like-mided people we like to hang with. You will always be glad you became a part of the community.

You will enjoy Judy's approachable manner, wonderful storytelling and common- sense solutions gleaned from working with hundreds of families and organizations just like yours. Your encounter with Judy will leave you feeling inspired, entertained, and especially motivated.

Judy is a regular columnist for Women's Online Magazine and Montana Woman.