A writer told me he didn’t want to use the Hero’s Journey to structure his story because he was worried it would mean his story was the same plot as everyone else.
A carbon copy. A duplicate.

The funny thing is, the literary memoir examples I use in the masterclass here (where I explain the memoir writing framework I teach to write and revise a memoir in months inside The Art of Memoir) are all completely different stories, written from completely different perspectives, and if you can see how Crocodile Dundee and MAID by Stephanie Land and A LETTER FROM PARIS by me are similar, please let me know!

Another told me The Hero’s Journey is too masculine, and that to think of herself as the ‘hero’ was too full of force and pushiness, and she doesn’t think of her life – or her environment – as something she forces and controls, or should want to.

But what I want to say is this: by understanding your story – and your life – as something that you are co-creating with every decision you make about the narrative you tell about it…

Seeing events and people and markers of the journey as symbolic, whether it’s a duck that lands on your car or the shocking out-of-nowhere wound that set you off on the path to challenge and growth that incites your story… is actually a way to see that every day, in every choice you make about your personal story… you learn that you’re in constant COMMUNION with your environment.

 

And understanding not just the Hero’s Journey, but how Jungian archetypes and storytelling patterns and symbols – give you touch-points and markers for the journey. So you can say “ah! I see how and where this fits, now. And there’s a way out. There’s relief just up ahead – because after the Supreme Ordeal always comes reward… and in the depths of struggle there is ALWAYS an ally…”

Each stage and each symbol and each archetype is not about rugged individualism, something to be fought with and overcome and killed (!), but accepted as part of the whole dynamic that is our world and ourselves.

It’s a journey back to wholeness, when you can see that everything around you is a mirror to your stage of evolution.

One of my favourite writing quotes is from the late Anais Nin:

“We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”

And this is the perspective with which I guide you through the narrative framework that really just underpins your unique experience of being a human on planet earth in this lifetime.

I’m not teaching you these structural frameworks so you will write a carbon copy book to mimic WILD or any other memoir bestseller. Your story is your own.

I’m showing you the markers that you can use as frames on your ‘house’. How you fill it and who and what you fill it with, and what you do inside your house, are completely up to you. These story structure pieces are just the material that will give you a firm footing, a way to ensure the story ‘holds up’ at the end. To ensure the story ‘works’ and give you that secure footing as you write, too.

 

The process you go through to write – and revise – a personal narrative – in a compelling way – is more about self-development than craft, if I’m completely honest.

You learn who you are at a core level, more than anything else.

The book you finish writing is just one tangible outcome of that.

The testimonials I receive are always about relief, liberation, and so much personal growth.

The books are finished, yes, of course, but the journey to write them was so much better than these previous ideas of struggle and suffering and battling through a draft.One student told me that when she finished the programme (and her memoir, too, which is now published), “I think everyone should write their memoir.”

This makes me so happy, because there’s so many people think writing memoir is about wallowing in your misery, which I totally don’t agree with (or believe is healthy). And using this framework means you DON’T wallow.

The Art of Memoir shows you that YOU are the ultimate driving force, the narrator of your life, YOU hold the pen, the camera, the lens.

YOU get to decide, you get to choose, you get to make the meaning and you ultimately get to choose the end result.

And if you want to write a publication standard work of literature, too? I balance all the self-growth out with some really crucial (and rarely shared) information about the widely misunderstood literary genre.

 

Because I had that transformation, from drafting my memoir using this method, and I want to share it with you, too.

The Art of Memoir is all you need to lead yourself through the process.

The physical outcome is a complete, revised, polished draft, but the invisible benefits of that outcome are the real value in the journey.
Because it’s all about the journey, for me. If you can’t make the journey full of love and growth and adventure and learning and fun, what’s the point?

Learn more about my framework in this limited-time masterclass replay, which is actually from lesson one inside the full Art of Memoir programme.

Louisa