Starting Your Own Group


Step One:

Before starting your own group, you may want to see what groups may already exist in a location near you.  You might want to check the following:


Local libraries

Community colleges

Community centers

If you are unable to find a group in one of these nearby locations, you may want to inquire at one of these places to see if they would be interested in your starting a group there.

If not, why not meet in your home or in a coffee shop or other location that is convenient for you?

Step Two:

Your next step is to phone, email, or write to friends and acquaintances who you think might share your interest.  Facebook and other social media also offer venues for you to “recruit” members for a memoir-writing group.

Some people may say, “Well, I’m not necessarily interested in writing memoir, but I do like journaling and/or writing personal essays.”  I personally think that memoir writing groups are the perfect place for those who journal and/or write personal essays.

Step Three:

Once you have a group that meets on a regular basis, here are some tips:

Gather in a circle so you can see each others’s faces

Here’s a simple format that generally works well:

  1. 1.Take a few moments to jot down recent “microjoys,” small moments of joy and then share these by going around the circle.

  2. 2. Do a “freewrite” for 10 minutes in which everyone writes quietly on a surprise topic, such as “I remember ...” or “Something I overcame ...”

  3. 3. Share a few freewrites, with no one feeling pressured to share unless they want to.

  4. 4.BREAK (Refreshments are always a nice touch!)

  5. 5.Sharing of one or two pieces that members have written between sessions.  Time or page limits may be applied to keep this democratic and efficient.

Memoir-writing sessions should be enjoyable events that provide friendly support in writing and reflection. It’s desirable for everyone to have a chance to share something at each session, even if it’s just a few lines.

There are many more tips and suggestions in the book, Writing Memoir Together: A Roundtable Approach.  The purpose of this book was to be a guide for groups.  Please check it out! (It can be ordered at