Do you want to write powerful, authentic life stories?

NEW 6-Week LIVE online workshop launching October 2017


The Early Access Launch of a New LIVE Online Workshop for Ambitious Memoir Writers...

6 Weeks - Class Open Now

+ Flexible learning that works for you
+ Audio lectures, readings, and assignments posted ahead of time
+ Optional 1-hr private coaching session for deeper dive (special student rate)

Throughout the 6 weeks  we will explore the ways in which "unpacking" the deeper meanings of our stories helps to unlock our most powerful voice(s), and how voice and story can also provide clues about the structure and shape our memoirs might take.

Is this Workshop Right for You?

Though this workshop is aimed at serious beginners through more advanced writers, the question of who would benefit from its intensive, supportive environment is better answered otherwise.

BRAVE ON THE PAGE is a new version of a workshop I have been refining for a dozen years. Nearly all of my workshops have enrolled both beginning and experienced writers -- not to mention MFA grads, New York Times bestselling authors, even an alternative rock star or two.

Over that time I've come to see that students learn best in mixed-level environments, and, furthermore, those who seem to get the most out of my courses are students who are self-aware and open to change, who are excited to discover new connections in their own work.

My approach balances a rigorous review of craft, close readings of memoir greats, along with a careful and highly respectful review of student work.

Serious beginners will relish a crash course (literally) in the most important fundamentals of memoir writing. 

Meanwhile, more advanced students will  acquire new concepts they've likely missed along the way.

No matter your level of skill or experience, my primary goal is to create a safe and supportive atmosphere where you are encouraged to take creative risks in order to acquire new skills and insights.

Why an "Early Access" Launch?

Though I've been teaching the material in this course for over a dozen years, this is a new online course. So I am inviting a small cohort of students to help me co-create a wonderful experience. 

To that end, I will be checking in with you to make sure you are getting the feedback and information you need. And, if issues do come up, I will be able to "course correct" (pun intended) as we go along.

Additionally, 'early access' means I'll be going the extra mile to provide support and followup: I will be available during our live webinars and by email 24/7 (I ask for 24 hours to respond) anytime you have a question. 

It also means this class is a very limited opportunity. I’ll be accepting only 9 students.

On a final note, intensive writing courses with individualized feedback and a live instruction component often run $500-800+, and distance MFA-level classes cost even more. This is a special opportunity to get premium-level workshop at a fraction of the cost.

QUESTIONS? Please email me paul [at] pzak [dot] info.

WARNING! Paul Z is the kindest disciplinarian I've ever met, and he completely transformed my writing. Not only did he nudge me down new roads, but he also showed me how to leverage every word, how to make each twist and turn count, how to ask more from myself on the page. (Thanks for a wonderful workshop experience with you. You really are a special teacher)."  Tasmine Mocke, MFA New York University

I Will Help You

Learn the 5 Most Important Keys to crafting a great memoir

Dig deep and discover your most compelling voice(s)

Get clear about the deeper story you're trying to tell

Get accountable and stay connected thanks to other smart, engaged writers

Learn in an intimate, rigorous & highly supportive environment (9 students max)

BONUS: I will provide individual & detailed feedback on a completed draft (10-15 pages)


How It Works

Each week we will meet for 75 minutes. Meetings will be held via a great new videoconferencing tool called Crowdcast, which is similar to Skype or Zoom. (Links to each class will be sent out ahead of time and posted in the dashboard area of the workshop).

Live meetings will be based around workshopping your weekly assignments. Each week we'll pick 3 different students (randomly) to discuss. With 9 students max, you can expect to have 2 of your 6 weekly assignments reviewed by the whole group. 

Meetings will also be recorded and uploaded to the student dashboard within 24 hours of class.

Assignments of 3-5 pages (double-spaced) will be due by Monday at 12 midnight (Pacific), two days before our live meeting. Each will explore an important concept in memoir writing. 

Assignments also build on themselves, so that by Week 6 you should have a rough draft of a new autobiographical essay or memoir chapter.

As part of this pilot, I will give you detailed comments on a completed essay or memoir chapter draft (or another piece of your choice) up to 10-15 double-pages. 

If you're looking for additional feedback or support, I am also offering a 1 hour private coaching call at a special student-only rate of $99 (regularly $150).

QUESTIONS? Please email me paul [at] pzak [dot] info.

“Paul’s feedback and coaching on my memoir-based essay in 2016 helped me see how I needed to get deeper into my story and the ways in which I needed to reconsider the core elements of my story. This feedback was extremely valuable for both the big-picture views and the specific direction of how I could approach a revision. I feel so much better prepared to revise this essay now, after months of letting it languish in unfinished drafts.” —Sari Boren, Boston, MA.

What's Included

6 live workshops via Crowdcast (recorded and added to the student dashboard)

• 6 writing assignments

• 6 audio lectures on major topics in memoir

• Craft readings related to memoir topics

• Student discussion forum for assignments, lectures, readings, questions & more!

Bonus (free)

• Detailed manuscript review of an essay or memoir chapter draft (10-15 pages)

• 24/7 Email Access with Instructor (24-hr turnaround)

If you aren’t completely satisfied with this course I guarantee your money back within 30 days, as long as you’ve participated in (or viewed) all the meetings, and completed all the assignments. 


Week 1 - What Is Memoir?

  • Key 1 - What Is Memoir? (Audio Lecture - mp3) FREE PREVIEW
  • Key 1 - What Is Memoir (PDF version of audio lecture) FREE PREVIEW
  • Reading Assignment 1: "The Love of My Life" by Cheryl Strayed (Please read before 1st Meeting) FREE PREVIEW
  • Discussion Questions: Love of My Life by Cheryl Strayed FREE PREVIEW
  • Writing Assignment 1 - Lost and Found FREE PREVIEW
  • Key #2 - Voice (Audio Lecture - mp3)

Week 2 - It's Alive! How to Create a Compelling Voice on the Page

  • Key #2 - Voice (PDF of Audio Lecture)
  • Reading Assignment 2: Voice - A Sampling of Narrators by J.D. Salinger, E.B. White, Scott Russell Sanders, and David Sedaris
  • Writing Assignment #2: Voice FREE PREVIEW
  • OPTIONAL VIDEO: How Vulnerability Helps You to Shape Your Voice On the Page

Week 3: Inner Journeys (or, how to pull your reader in)

  • Reading Assignment 3: "The Situation & The Story" by Vivian Gornick - Excerpt FREE PREVIEW
  • Cheat Sheet: Key Concepts in The Situation & The Story FREE PREVIEW
  • Writing Assignment #3 FREE PREVIEW

Week 4: Making A Scene (how to craft a memorable scene)

  • Reading Assignment Week 4: Scenes (Bill Roorbach excerpt - WRITING LIFE STORIES) FREE PREVIEW
  • Cheat Sheet - Making a Scene (adapted from Bill Roorbach) FREE PREVIEW
  • Writing Assignment #4 FREE PREVIEW

Week 5: Explode Your Form (or How to keep readers engaged with innovative story structures)

  • Reading Assignment Week 5 - The White Album (Joan Didion) FREE PREVIEW
  • Reading Assignment Week 5 - Art & Artifact in CNF FREE PREVIEW
  • Writing Assignment #5 FREE PREVIEW

Week 6: Your Truth, Other People's Secret & Other Memoir Dilemmas

  • Reading Assignment Week 6: "The Truth of Memoir" - Article by Kerry Cohen FREE PREVIEW

Optional/Further Readings

  • "Under The Influence" by Scott Russell Saunders - Great Voice Essay (Week 2) FREE PREVIEW
  • "Mirrorings" by Lucy Grealy (essay) - Example of Autobiographical Essay with Very Strong Underlying Inner Journey (Week 3)
  • The Suicide Index, by Joan Wickersham (excerpt) - Example of Scene-Based Experimental Memoir (Weeks 4 & 5) FREE PREVIEW
  • Safekeeping, by Abigail Thomas (excerpt) - Another Great Example of an Experimental Form (Week 5) FREE PREVIEW
  • Optional Reading: "Memoir and Humiliation," NYT article by Susan Shapiro FREE PREVIEW

About The Instructor

Paul Zakrzewski

Paul Zakrzewski

As so often happens, we end up teaching that very thing we most have to learn ourselves. I had been writing professionally for years, but when I started teaching back in 2005, I still struggled with the fear and lack of permission that many ambitious writers do. 

Because of that, I quickly developed a unique approach that resonated strongly with my students. I'd help them to get very clear about the most important fundamentals of memoir craft at the same time that I encouraged them to dig deep, to risk being vulnerable, to put their most interesting selves on the page. 

Since then I've gone on to teach and coach writers at all levels to overcome self-limiting beliefs, and to publish authentic life stories through the application of insight and craft.

Now let me help you! 

P.S.: Looking for the official bio? Try here.

P.P.S.: Questions? Drop me an email!

What Students Are Saying

Paul knows how to inspire his students to dig deep and write close to the bone. He asks the kinds of questions that help me see aspects of my writing I had never noticed before. He creates a safe space for writers to go deep.
Raven Wolfe author of ATTEMPTING FLIGHT
Paul has a wonderful ability to see into a writer’s dilemma and offer just the right advice for moving through it. Most important, he offers it in the right way, clearly but with a light touch.”
Susan Piver NYT Bestselling Author
As a professor of language and literacy teachers, I can say with no reservations that you work wonders in the writing classroom. You are a truly gifted teacher.
Charlie Grove, PhD, MSW taught at West Chester University

Your Investment

$299.00 Brave On the Page Workshop Sign Up Now!
$398.00 Brave On The Page AND 1-Hr Private Coaching ($99 Special) Sign Up Now!