No matter how long your story has gone untold, you can claim your voice and write your memoir with confidence, craft, and consciousness. The question is, Why must you write it?

~Marilyn Bousquin

Women’s Memoir Book Coach
Author Accelerator Certified Book Coach

Don’t let your story go untold.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” ~ Maya Angelou

 You have a story inside you that wants to be written. The older you get, the more urgent your need to write your story becomes. 

Maybe at this point in your memoir journey, you know your story inside out; maybe you’ve written parts of your story but other parts still ache to be written; maybe you’re just beginning to write.

No matter where you are on your memoir writing journey, one thing is certain: Silence is no longer an option. As Rebecca Solnit says, “Being unable to tell your story is a living death.”

That ache to write your untold story? That’s your voice urging you to the page. You see, a voice does not go down easy. No matter how silenced your story has been, your voice is whole and intact, ready to tell the story that wants to be told.

Hi, I’m Marilyn

I didn’t always know that I had a voice. When I started writing, I had no idea what a voice was! That was decades ago. Now I teach women who are done with silence how to free their voice, claim their truth, and write their memoir with confidence, craft, and consciousness.

Welcome, I’m so glad you’re here.

I am a memoir coach who helps women write their hidden stories. I’ve also come to think of myself as a healer. Here’s a story: in 2013 I was teaching a women’s memoir course out of my home. At the end of the course a woman named Maryann, who happened to be a shaman, pulled me aside and said, “You realize you’re a shaman, right?”

Um, no?

A shaman, she said, guides someone on a healing journey. “You lead women out of silence through writing. You’re a healer. Writing is your medium.”

I know how profoundly healing it is to recover one’s voice from silence through writing. At the same time, I was afraid her comment might mark me as too woo-woo for literary circles. And if there’s one thing I am, it is literary. Literary memoir–memoir of depth and meaning–is my jam.

Then something else happened.

At the time Maryann called me a shaman, I was also teaching writing at a local college. My syllabus included critical reading, research, grammar. Nothing woo-woo about it. Yet, on the last day of class, a young woman said, “This was the most therapeutic class I’ve ever had.” I laughed and said, “Please don’t tell the administration.” I was only half-joking. What would the college think if they knew students found my academic writing classes to be therapeutic?

I think the intangible–dare I say therapeutic–quality I bring to my work as a memoir coach is my intuition. I have a sixth sense for coaxing a story out of hiding onto the page. Without trying, I seem to create conditions for people to tell their stories.

Here’s a funny tidbit: When my husband Steve and I go to parties, I’m inevitably the last one to leave, engrossed by a story someone is telling me. Sometimes the person telling me their story says, “I’m not sure what made me tell you that.” Steve’s used to it. He dubbed me the Story Midwife years ago. More recently, after coaching a memoir client to a breakthrough in her story, I told Steve how much I love tending my client’s stories. He said, “You’re a Story Tender.”

Story Tender. I like that. The way it encapsulates the fierce yet tender care I bring to my work as a memoir coach. The lengths I go to help a client tend the details of her story in order to bring her truer truth to the page.

Since Maryann called me a shaman I’ve rethought the term woo-woo. I now think of woo-woo as an umbrella term that includes the feminine energies of intuition, empathy, deep listening, fierce tenderness, and an ability to hear with one’s heart. Therapeutic qualities that are devalued in a patriarchal culture. Yet these are the very qualities that make me who I am as a memoir coach who guides her clients on a journey to recover their voice and their story from silence, and to get their memoir written. Woo-woo!

 

 

“Living a conscious and reflective life is a prerequisite for writing a memoir of substance.”

~Judith Barrington

What is a memoir coach?

A memoir coach is a book coach who wears many hats: mentor, coach, writing teacher, developmental editor, encourager, accountability buddy, project manager, deep listener, trusted friend.

A memoir coach gives you written feedback on your pages, then meets with you on a coaching call to discuss those pages and determine your Next Steps to write your memoir forward.

A memoir coach holds space for your story to emerge and asks questions to help you find the story that wants to be told.

A memoir coach provides craft lessons, suggested readings, and writing assignments to help you hone your craft as you write your memoir forward.

A memoir coach helps you dig deeper so that your voice and emotional truth infuse every page of your memoir.

A memoir coach is not a therapist. While a memoir coach provides emotional support as you navigate the inevitable ups and downs of the memoir-writing journey, a good memoir coach helps you discern if/when it makes sense to seek additional “off the page” support–such as a therapist or trained healer–to help you process the material you are writing about.

A memoir coach is with you on your memoir-writing journey from early draft to revision to publication so that you do not have to write your memoir alone.

 Ready to work with a memoir coach?

Client Feedback

Before I took Marilyn’s Writing Women’s Lives™ class I had really let my writing take a back seat. I wanted to sit down and write but felt paralyzed to do so. Marilyn’s reputation as a writer, editor, and all around cool chick made her class an easy choice. And, really, I was ready for a group experience to hold me accountable. What a good choice it turned out to be!

Marilyn’s class was ¼ craft lessons, ¼ creation, ¼ catharsis, ¼ community, and ¼ intangible. Yes, I know that adds up to more than 1 whole, but the class is more than the sum of its parts. Marilyn’s honesty, straightforwardness, and empathy are breathtaking and gave me permission to write wholeheartedly into a topic, stripping away fear and any need to feel “appropriate.”.

Nan Carmack

Librarian, Scholar, Mom, Evington, Virginia

As a female writer in academia, my creative writing voice before taking Marilyn’s Craft Your Truth class was, at times, stilted and masked with glossy magazine writing. Since taking the course, my voice feels more candid and emotionally lucid. The writing prompts in the class helped me track episodes connected to having a port wine stain birthmark, which helped me paint a fuller picture of this painful emotional history.

I am bringing a new spirit to my writing—a spirit of gratefulness for the diverse women who supported me during the class and for an instructor who was creative, compassionate, and energizing.

I am so glad I am part of such a caring and smart community of women!

Jessica Brophy, PhD

Teacher and Poet, Lynchburg, Virginia

Prior to taking Marilyn’s classes, I knew I had some writing “juju,” but I had no idea how to tap into it or bring it forth. And it wasn’t really a priority in my life until I met Marilyn. I met her at a dinner party, and she was simply dazzling. So vivacious, and funny, and engaged with life. I knew that whatever else was going on in my life, I HAD to take a class with this woman.

Class with Marilyn is a journey of self-discovery. She creates an environment of intimacy and safety where true inner healing work can be accomplished through writing.

It doesn’t matter if you ache to be a writer, or hardly give it a thought. These classes are a blessing to anyone who is willing to show up and participate, and vital to anyone who really wants to write.

Maryann Novi

Communications Assistant CCM, Lynchburg, Virginia

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