Q: Is this a writing course?
A: Students write their stories, but don’t need to have a professional writing background. There isn’t a focus on the craft of writing, but rather on the story. In the process students often improve their writing skills. The group doesn’t critique, but rather encourages. Of course you can add more pages, edit and refine the work later.
For those wordsmiths who want to write a substantial memoir, but are faced with writers’ block or are feeling overwhelmed, taking the Writing Life Stories 4 week class is a great first step to help you get the material down on paper and move forward.
Q: Is sharing stories with the group imperative?
A: Yes. Students read their stories aloud to a small group who are there to cheerlead and offer positive comments. This sharing element, as well as owning your voice and telling your own story, has many benefits and is a significant part of the course. Confidentiality is emphasized and lifelong friendships are often forged.
Q: How is this different than a memoir course?
A: Unlike memoir writing classes, students don’t need to write hundreds of pages based on chronology. Or spend a year finessing their work. As a trained instructor, I offer exercises and priming questions to participants that evoke memories of pivotal events and vivid memories in their lives. Then students write 1-2 pages about carefully chosen themes.
Q: What exactly is guided autobiography?
Barbara’s teaching method is based on guided autobiography, which has been taught at USC and UCLA for over 30 years and has been used with thousands of college students, professionals and retirees. Extensive research has proven that while on this exploration, participants gain increased resilience and self-confidence, compassion for others and a greater appreciation of their own lives.
Q: Why is Barbara’s guided storytelling process so beneficial?
Using a guided storytelling process, the writing comes quickly and easily, giving extremely rewarding results. Students in traditional memoir classes often get overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, begin and discontinue or get mired in the details. Barbara helps you shape the process so writing your life story is doable and achievable.