Refining Your Memoir – Digging Deeper

Sunday, July 14 through Friday, July 19, 2019 in Boulder, Colorado

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

Register now for this unique writing workshop in beautiful Boulder, Colorado, with Linda M. Bendorf, Director of Blue Sage Writing, and E.M. (Elizabeth) Sloan, author of When Songbirds Returned to Paris.

Memoir is a most powerful genre. It is time travel for the psyche. Your life’s legacy captured in writing.

This workshop will help you to identify and write about your life’s most pivotal moments with present-day wisdom and insight. When you write memoir, the story is yours; the challenge is to capture the moments that will invite the reader into your story. It’s those moments that matter. 

This workshop is for those with a keen interest in memoir writing. Whether you arrive with several chapters or a nearly completed draft of your story, this weeklong memoir master class will take your writing to the next level. It will also give you the tools and support to complete your project once the workshop ends. This course will include key elements of craft, explored in greater depth, including: 

  • How established writers surprise us with language
  • Development of the narrator’s original, vivid, well-defined persona. Yes, that’s YOU!
  • The secret -- and process -- of getting to the real story
  • Finding balance between the factual and the imagined
  • Strategies to ground your story in time and place 
  • Organizing your memoir: Shaping the story – Refining the structure
  • The essential role of conflict and tension 
  • Plotting your story so that it moves energetically
  • How poetic prose brings your writing to life
  • Developing exceptional scenes
  • From visual to versed: how photographs help reveal “hidden” details that prompt deeper reflection and understanding
[intense_panel border="1px solid #000000" bottom_right_border_radius="2px"]This workshop includes a special presentation on The Mindful Memoir: Awakening Your Spirit by Brian Luke Seaward, PhD. Founder of Inspiration Unlimited, Seward is also a best-selling author, motivational speaker, and award-winning film director. [/intense_panel]

To provide exceptional instruction and guidance, this workshop is LIMITED  to twelve writers. Register now to reserve your place at the table!

Your workshop fee also includes one-on-one conferences to discuss your specific concerns and to work through challenges; constructive feedback from instructors and fellow writers; and an inspiring and practical course pack. It also includes Sunday’s opening dinner at Dushanbe Tea House, Wednesday’s Nibbles, Words & Wine, and Friday’s Closing Dinner and Ceremony. Your fee does not include the cost of accommodations at The Briar Rose or your nearby choice of an Airbnb. Local guests may choose to commute. 

Boulder’s Briar Rose Bed & Breakfast, located in Boulder's historic Goss-Grove neighborhood and within walking to downtown, will host our group for the week, offering rooms with writing desks, tranquil, lush gardens, a Zen meditation room, kind and gentle care of guests, delicious organic breakfasts, and day long tea, breads and cookies. Our workshop takes place around the welcoming table in the dining room of the Briar Rose. We also meet in the Boulder Book Store’s Upper North Annex, located on Pearl Street. Both locations offer lovely restaurant options within walking distance. Weather willing, our Wednesday morning class will be held in the magnificent foothills of the Rockies. 

Wondering if this is the right level workshop for you? Send a note and we’ll sort it out! 

About Your Instructors

Linda M. Bendorf (M.A.T., J.D., University of Iowa) is Director of Blue Sage Writing and an award-winning instructor and private writing coach who inspires novices and seasoned pros alike. She has been an instructor in the renowned University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival for more than two decades. Last summer in Boulder, CO., Linda co-led the workshop, Your Legacy as Memoir: The Essence of a Life. She recently completed substantive editing of a non-fiction book for an Illinois writer.

Her essays, features, and poetry have appeared in the Chicago Tribune Media Group’s Triblocal, The University of Iowa’s The Daily Palette, USA Today, Gannett News Service Wire, Des Moines Register, Instructor, The Iowan, and Gather magazine. Her essay Quest for the Rufous-Capped Warbler will appear in a forthcoming issue of Bird Watcher’s Digest Magazine.

Linda lived on the North Sea in England during her early years, then grew up in Evanston, Illinois. She and her husband, Carl, moved to Colorado’s Front Range in 2015.

E.M. (Elizabeth) Sloan, Associate Director of Blue Sage Writing, teaches The Creative Mind at the University of Idaho, and leads workshops in research through attention to detail from photographs and documents. Last summer in Boulder, Co., Elizabeth co-led the workshop, Your Legacy as Memoir: The Essence of a Life. She is currently coaching a writer through competion of his eco-adventure novel.

Elizabeth has created a number of e-books, designed from her original one-of-a-kind print editions, combining short story elements with images. Elizabeth lives in Moscow, Idaho where she received her MFA in creative nonfiction (2008). Her memoir,When Songbirds Returned to Paris, was nominated for the American Library in Paris Book Award, as well as Award-Winning Finalist in the "Narrative Nonfiction" category of the 2016 International Book Awards.

Sloan's family memoir began from a 100-year old photograph, identified by misleading names and dates. What followed involved a four-year MFA thesis, 12 years of research, international travel, correspondence, translations, serendipitous friendships, and two publishing houses.

"With an innovative narrative structure and lively cast of characters, Elizabeth Sloan’s When Songbirds Returned to Paris weaves a powerful family history set against the backdrop of world war.  Sloan’s impressive research reminds us that with enough digging, remarkable, true stories can rise from the dead."—Buddy Levy, author of Geronimo, Conquistador, and River of Darkness.

Scenes from our 2018 workshop

Your registration fee of $1,200 includes:

  • Five days of extraordinary instruction and inspiration
  • Experienced & passionate instructors who will guide you to creative breakthroughs and your best writing
  • Individual conferences and coaching on your manuscript & most pressing questions
  • Optional pre-workshop assignments
  • Sunday Night Welcome Dinner at Dushanbe Tea House
  • Wednesday Nibbles, Words & Wine - Opportunity to read aloud at open mic - optional!
  • Friday Closing Dinner & Ceremony
Our Workshop Headquarters - Briar Rose Bed & Breakfast CLICK TO ENLARGE

Most of our daily workshop sessions will be held on site at the highly acclaimed Briar Rose Bed & Breakfast  at 2151 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder, Colorado  80302.   Although lodging is NOT included in your workshop registration fee, we are holding a limited number of rooms at the Briar Rose.  Early registrants will have first choice on rooms. Make your reservations directly by calling the Briar Rose at 303-442-3007 or toll-free at 888-786-8440 and mention the memoir workshop.

Workshop participants may choose lodging elsewhere in Boulder. 

Your Workshop Fee does not include lodging, air/ground transportation to and from Boulder, Colorado and any meals except for the included Welcome and Closing Dinners and Wednesday Nibbles, Words & Wine.


If you have any questions about this unique workshop, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Sample Comments From July 2018

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"Our workshop, Legacy as Memoir, exceeded my expectations! Incorporating visual exercises helped re-energize my creativity. Appreciated having the time to reflect and write!"

2018 Workshop Participant

“I learned more than I ever imagined I could in this short time! The venue offered private work time and space for solitude and real reflection...and also time together.”

L.A., Loveland CO

“Our dinner events over good food and wine offered wonderful nights of sharing and getting to know one another. I look forward to next summer’s memoir workshop with Blue Sage Writing!”

F.T., Texas Hill Country

“Legacy as Memoir exceeded my dreams! I often deal with inner writing demons who look for an “escape hatch” to keep me from writing. NOT AT ALL THIS TIME with Linda & Lizzie! Thank you for your commitment to us and our process!”

C.F., Louisville, CO

“The bed and breakfast venue gave us the opportunity to share more with one another outside of workshop time. Also loved how the events and field trip offered time for reflection and connection -- with each other and nature. It was also helpful to learn techniques for using my photos to inspire memory and written word. So very happy I invested in myself and my writing!”

2018 Workshop Participant

“Now I think about metaphor of water as one overarching theme for the variegated stories that are my life. I am “seeing” its capacity to make sense of my journey. A journey from dark to light, from cold to warm, from fear to gratitude and a whole lot of other ‘froms.’ Now it’s my turn on stage to express myself in so many ways. And I’m loving it.”

John B., Shelburne Falls, MA

“The Briar Rose Bed and Breakfast was exceptional! Their unsurpassed level of service contributed to a great experience. What happy, joyous outings! The dinners were beautifully prepared and the trip to Nederland magical! The exercises enhanced my writing!”

Linda Y., Pasadena, CA