What is the Write Your Life Story Workshop?
Our lives are full of experiences, adventures, and events that shaped who we are today. Unless we write about these events, they may be forgotten or never known by our families, children, and loved ones. In the Write Your Life Story, Two Pages at a Time, you explore carefully selected life themes.
In this workshop, we use Guided Autobiography, a semi-structured process developed by Professor Emeritus James E. “Jim” Birren, the founding dean of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and an aging research pioneer considered by many to be the father of modern gerontology.
This program is open to those who want to capture their life stories to leave behind for their families or do a life review for themselves. No writing experience is required, written work will not be edited or critiqued, and there is no pressure to publish finished stories.
In this unique program, you write from the heart on themes carefully selected for your class. The goal of the class is to encourage, support, and empower you to treasure and appreciate your life.
How does it work?
Led by a trained guided autobiography (GAB) instructor/guide, you spend a bit of time doing some stimulating exercises to spark creativity and self-learning. Then you talk about a commonly experienced life theme such as turning points in your life, your family influences, your health, and your work. There are several questions designed to trigger your memory about your experience of this theme.
In the typical weekly format, a carefully selected theme is introduced during class and for homework you write a two-page story about how you experienced something connected to the theme. When you return to the next class you read your story to the class after which each class member gives positive comments about your story.
During the one-day intensive version, you are introduced to the process and then guided in completing the writing and sharing of one theme.
I had a great time. The fact that it was a 6 hour intensive workshop may have seemed intimidating at first but it was nothing of the sort. Working closely with only a small group and our impressive instructor made it much easier to do the exercises and share our work. Everyone was very encouraging and supportive of each other and there was no pressure to write perfectly or to prove one’s ability as a writer.
The exercises leading up to the main assignment helped trigger memories and thoughts pertaining to the theme, which in turn made it easier to write on that theme when the time came to do so. The hours flew by and I left feeling encouraged, motivated, and excited to continue writing on my own, and even validated in my belief that my writing has merit. I would love to do it again and definitely encourage anyone who is interested to jump on this workshop. You won’t regret it.~Kristi G. Hicks, Writer
The workshop was designed to be a 10-week program, but is offered in a variety of formats and configurations. Workshops can be created as one-day intensives, 3-hour introductory workshops, or four to ten week programs. It depends on the goals of the hosting and sponsoring organization. Look for dates of the upcoming workshops in the right column under Where to Hear and See Flora in Person on the homepage of florabrown.com
The experience of working together in a small group, helped me capture
one of my personal life stories from the memories of that time. The writing process
reinforced the feelings of that choice during the time it happened. Then sharing
our stories as a group, around the table infused my personal experience and
memories with the affirmation and self-knowledge that I do make very good
decisions. The process gives me confidence for even the very hard choices
that I have personally had to make. Yet now I understand that each piece of
this knowing adds to my self trust. ~Louise Egan, Founder of Home Business Alliance
Five Thursdays, August 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
3:30 p.m.—5:30 p.m.
Get more details and register at
How much are workshops?
Introductory versions may be free to participants when sponsored by an organization.Participants pay their own fees at independent and private events.
Workshops may be held at senior centers, libraries, 55+ communities, continuing education centers, churches, private homes, and many other types of venues. If you or your organization would like to host or sponsor a workshop, contact Flora Brown at florabrown@gmail or by phone at 714-401-2261.
Who participates in this workshop?
- you know you have a story and it’s time to tell it
- you have put off writing your life story for a long time
- you want to write your story, but aren’t sure how to start
- you are at a transition in your life where you’re leaving behind
the old and unfamililar and heading to something new and uncertain
- you seek the company of other like-minded people to share your story-writing experience