Memoir from Memory with Allison K Williams

Memoir from Memory with Allison K Williams

This class is now over and is unavailable for purchase. Sign up to receive announcements about upcoming classes.

Telling the Right Story with Confidence

There’s a powerful truth you need to share on the page. But some of the story is…missing. How can you mine your own memory for sensory detail? Should you be interviewing family members? Scouring public records? What happens when someone else’s memory directly conflicts with yours? And which parts of your past should just remain buried?

In this 75-minute live webinar, taught by Allison K Williams, you’ll deepen your understanding of your own story, where it begins, and what makes it compelling to read. You’ll learn key strategies for recalling times, places, characters and scenes needed to tell your story, and be able to identify moments of major change by placing yourself in the moments of your memoir. And you’ll discover how to navigate real-life relationships with tact and confidence while getting the details you need to tell your story.

This workshop will cover:

  • How to know if you’re telling the right story (tip: your content is not your purpose)
  • What makes a meaningful event belong in your memoir and what to leave out or save for the next book
  • Three sensory writing techniques to help you remember events clearly—and dredge up moments you didn’t know were there!
  • What’s legit to just leave out because you don’t feel like writing it—and how to tell if you should overcome that block
  • Approaching relatives who “don’t remember it that way” (tip—their voices are actually more valuable when they disagree!)
  • How focusing on “reader takeaway” can sharpen your memoir’s plot
  • Four ways to bridge memory gaps on the page (if you can’t hide it, tie bells on it!)

Who should take this class

  • Writers with an idea, a draft, or a terrifying pile of material
  • Memoirists who know “something’s missing” to make their memoir a satisfying story
  • Essayists wanting stronger and more vivid scenes on the page
  • Book coaches and editors working with memoirists
  • Writers having a hard time accessing childhood or young adult memories
  • Creative Writing students and MFA graduates ready to write memoir but unsure where to begin
  • Querying writers hearing feedback that their book lacks tension, needs a stronger hook, or the story is “hard to follow” or “didn’t grab the reader”

How do I know if this webinar is worth the cost?

This is an important question, and it’s a tough one to answer—especially since so much online education is available free of charge. Furthermore, every student is different, and a valuable webinar for one person can end up being a disappointment to another. For this reason, we offer full refunds if you register, attend the entire class, and fail to get the information you were looking for. Please email us directly to request a refund.

Do I have to attend the live class?

No. Everyone who registers will get access to the recording. However, if you’d like to attend live, keep reading.

How do I attend the live class?

This class uses Zoom webinar technology. You will join through your Internet-connected computer or mobile device. When you register, you will receive information via email on how to join the class. If you don’t receive it within 1 hour of registering, please contact us.

  • When: Thursday, May 27, 2021
  • Time: 1 p.m.–2:15 p.m. Eastern Time / 10 a.m. Pacific Time
  • Fee: $25

The webinar is broadcasted via the internet with live audio delivered through your computer or mobile device speakers. The visual presentation is displayed directly from the presenter’s computer to your computer screen. The Q&A is managed through a chat-style submission system with questions read and answered by the presenter for the entire class to hear.

Closed captions are provided during the live class. For students joining the class through the Zoom app on a mobile device, you can disable the closed captions by going to your settings and turning off closed captions.

Allison Williams

About the instructor

Allison K Williams has edited and coached writers to publishing deals with Penguin Random House, Knopf, Mantle, Spencer Hill, and St. Martin’s Press as well as hybrid and independent presses. She’s guided essayists and humorists to publication in media including the New Yorker, Time, the Guardian, the New York Times, McSweeney’s, Refinery29, Hippocampus, the Belladonna and TED Talks. As Social Media Editor for Brevity, she inspires thousands of writers with weekly blogs on craft and the writing life.

As a memoirist, essayist, and travel journalist, Allison has written craft, culture and comedy for National Public Radio, CBC-Canada, the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Creative Nonfiction, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Kenyon Review Online, the Prairie Schooner blog, the Drum and Travelers’ Tales and Flash Nonfiction Funny.

Allison holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University and spent 20 years as a circus aerialist and acrobat before writing and editing full-time. She leads the Rebirth Your Book writing retreats series.

Her book, Seven Drafts: Self-Edit Like a Pro From Blank Page to Book will be published by Woodhall Press in September 2021. 

THE CLASS WAS STUPENDOUS. It at once opened doors for me, so much so I started writing my coming-to-America memoir after that.

Victoria Schultz


Allison’s was the very best webinar I’ve ever attended on writing, and I’ve gone to a lot.

J. Rich 


What an energizing, inspiring, informative session today was! Truly so creative and captivating.

Kate Marshall Flaherty


You’ll receive the following

  • Access to the 75-minute interactive class. After 60 minutes, Allison will take questions using in-class chat/text. The class will end after roughly 75 minutes.
  • A recording of the class—audio and video. This is especially helpful if you have a conflict with the class time or something comes up and you can’t make the session. Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for 30 days. You do not have to attend the live event to get a recording of the presentation.
  • Presentation slides. All participants receive a copy of the slide presentation in PDF form.
  • Rough transcript. We use Otter to create an automated transcript of the entire webinar, which we’ll share with you in addition to the audio and video recording.
  • Take-home writing exercises to access your own memories
  • Interview Tips Sheet for approaching others with information about your story
  • How To Start Writing Your Memoir worksheet with three ways to gather and organize material
  • Optional opportunity to join a low-key accountability group with other writers.

Event Attendance & Anti-Harassment Policy

We strive to provide an environment where all present—whether attendee, presenter, or staff—can feel supported. In order to ensure a welcoming event, here is what we expect from all who participate.

  • That the presenter and the presenter’s work be treated with respect by attendees and that all attendees treat each other with respect and a generosity of spirit.
  • That attendees will refrain from harassment of any sort including (but not limited to) comments or questions of a racist, homophobic, sexist/sexual, or threatening nature. This includes actions that disrupt or interfere with anyone’s ability to participate. Offenders will be disconnected from the live event.

System Requirements to Join the Webinar

We will be using Zoom webinar technology.

You’ll need:

  • An internet connection: broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE)
  • Speakers: built-in, USB plug-in or wireless Bluetooth

Recommended bandwidth:

  • 600kbps (down) for high-quality video and 1.2 Mbps (down) for HD video
  • If you connect through audio only: 60-80kbps (down)

Supported operating systems:

Supported tablet and mobile devices:

  • Surface PRO 2 running Win 8.1
  • iOS and Android devices
  • Blackberry devices

Supported browsers:

  • Windows: IE 11+,  Edge 12+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
  • Mac: Safari 7+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
  • Linux: Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+

For a detailed listing of system requirements, check Zoom’s site.