Writing Memoir Without Fear

Writing Memoir Without Fear with Allison K Williams

Avoiding Legal Issues, Trauma, and Your Mom’s Hurt Feelings

You have a powerful story to tell … but what if your mom gets mad? What if someone sues you? We all have a right to tell our own experience, but it’s hard to feel sure about our words when we’re wading through dark memories. Where does your book end, and will anyone really want to read it?

In this 75-minute live webinar, taught by Allison K Williams, you’ll gain tools and skills for sharing your truth on the page without retraumatizing yourself as you write. You’ll learn key strategies for avoiding legal action and hurting feelings while writing truthful characters and scenes. And you’ll discover how to navigate real-life relationships with tact and confidence while feeling good about publishing your words.

This workshop will cover:

  • How to get personal on the page—specific writing techniques for sharing difficult experiences and invoking empathy, not pity!
  • Setting your own boundaries for privacy and safety without compromising your creative flow
  • Determining your strongest purpose for writing, and how that affects your words and where you share them
  • Whether you should write a memoir or if fiction would serve you better
  • Three key routines for writing trauma without retraumatizing yourself (Even if therapy’s not an option!)
  • Five strategies for telling the bitter truth without ruining fragile relationships
  • Actual legal issues to consider vs. amorphous fears of “being sued”
  • The simple technique to help yourself feel “good enough” to keep writing
  • Dealing with social media trolls (and sure-fire scripts for deflecting real-life busybodies!)
  • Finding the clear and specific ending for your book, and how to actually live your ideal final chapter

Who should take this class

  • Writers who want to honor their family’s privacy and their personal boundaries while telling important truths
  • Book coaches and editors working with memoirists
  • Memoirists who want to finish their book, but fear or reluctance is blocking their creative power
  • Writers unsure if a memoir is the best way to tell their story
  • Essayists working towards a unified collection and needing a dramatic arc
  • Writers approaching the submissions process and nervous about family reactions to their published work
  • Authors building platform and unsure of how much to share on social media
  • Creative Writing students and MFA graduates who need more specific guidance on how to tell their own story with maturity in their writing

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: Wednesday, March 10, 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. We use Rev’s automated closed caption service, which is about 80%+ accurate. 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 March 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.
  • Worksheets to determine your purpose for writing, plan the end of your book as a satisfying dramatic arc, and figure out whose opinion actually matters.
  • 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.