One-Moment Memoirs 

Self-paced class (open enrollment)

(Looking for the #onemomentmemoirs I post on Instagram?) 

If I could give you one thing to help you tell the stories of your life, it would be the unique step-by-step process that I share in this class.

One-Moment Memoirs (OMM) is a series of writing exercises designed to help you discover and write the stories of your life. This hands-on workshop will help you take a relaxed, yet focused, approach to telling life's big and small stories in bite-sized pieces. 

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OMM Workshop:

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What is a One-Moment Memoir?

It's that moment when you're washing dishes, and you see your own hand holding a little metal bouquet of silverware, and for a second you think it's your mother's hand. 

It's that moment when you hear the loud summer buzz of cicadas, and a line of poetry floats into your mind, begging you to capture it for later.

It's that moment when the watermelon you're washing in the kitchen sink whispers "carpe diem" to you.

It's that moment before the kiss, before the phone rings, before the car crash

It's that moment when you fall asleep on the floor with your lover during a rainshower and years later you wonder if you dreamt the whole thing: the rain, the nap, the lover – all of it. 

It's that moment when the sun slants just so, or the clock ticks too loudly, or you hear church bells ringing on the wind.

One-moment memoirs are those moments big and small, those moments that matter, those moments that you want to live inside of, or make sense of, or share with others. 

"This was so much fun! The writing prompts in OMM helped me to come up with new angles on stories I've been wanting to tell but haven't quite known where to begin. I'm excited and inspired to go write now, for sure. " (Liz Lamoreux)

Our lives are made of moments.

Even the huge, earth-shattering events are composed of individual moments. And sometimes a seemingly small, quiet moment sticks with us for our whole life because it was infused with something deeper, something more.

Sometimes we understand and can articulate that meaning, and sometimes we can only see its importance in our peripheral vision.

Writing deeply into one moment can help us to find the meaning within it – and to convey that meaning to others. 

This is the kind of writing I love to do. This is why I write essays and blog posts and flash nonfiction. This is why I write the stories of my life, one day at a time, one moment at a time, sometimes one breath at a time.

And this is why I created One-Moment Memoirs, to help you write the stories of your life, moment by moment. 

 "I am not a writer, but I do have a story. Jenna uses simple prompts that speak to the ordinary person who wants to warm up their story journey. I always seem to be tense when I first sit down to write, but using the prompts and Jenna's encouragement, I could feel myself opening, and the words began to flow. That is what I love about Jenna and how she shares her knowledge. OMM is a happy way to get back to your story." (Kelly Barton, artist)

Capturing the significance and intricacies of our life in words, and committing that to the page can be a daunting task, I know. It can feel overwhelming to decide what to reveal and what to conceal, which details to include and which to leave out. It can be hard to convey the depth and breadth of our life stories so that our experiences connect with our readers. 

I want my writing to resonate with others. I want people to read my stories and feel a spark, a recognition, a sense of surprise or a sense of "me too." I want to make art from the matter of my life. I want my words to reach into your heart, your mind, the center of your being.

And I want you to do the same with your wordsyour stories

Is this grandiose? No. Or yes. I don't know, and I don't really care. If you love art and music and books and films.... If you create art or music or books or films... Then you know what I'm talking about. We engage with with art because it reaches us or wakes us up or soothes us or simply makes us feel alive and well. And I think we create art of all kinds for the same reasons: to wake up, to soothe, to feel alive and well. As artists and writers, we want those things for ourselves, and we want them for the people who engage with our work. 

So I'm asking you: What stories do you have to tell? About the family that you love. About the places that you've been. About the things that you've lost. About the secrets that you keep. About the experiences that make you laugh, make you cry, make you say "hmm...." What are the stories of your life? You can write them, moment by moment. And it will be fun and messy and enlightening and good. It's going to be so good. Will you join us? 

About The Workshop

Some experiences beg us to write about them, but we often feel overwhelmed when trying to capture the whole story at once. Life is comprised of moments: Big, showy ones, and small, quiet ones—many of them infused with deeper meaning, what Virginia Woolf called "moments of being."

Sometimes we can easily articulate a moment's meaning, but often we can only make sense of it peripherally. In a well-crafted short essay or blog post, the moment and the meaning must be distilled to their purest essence. It's a tall order for a short form. 

But this workshop isn't only about writing short pieces. It's also about writing the moments that make up longer pieces. The beauty of these writing exercises and techniques is that you will be able to use them again and again for any length of creative nonfiction (stories from your life). 

In this hands-on, self-paced class, you'll be guided through an easy step-by-step writing exercise that is designed to help you discover your life's "writable moments" so that you can start writing immediately.

This unique process is fun, accessible, and amazingly effective. One-Moment Memoirs (OMM) empowers you to find your stories and to start writing them with ease. 

"All my life, I've wanted to write, but I was either too confused about where to start or too frustrated after just a few paragraphs. The process you teach in OMM has enabled me to move past the confusion and the frustration. For the first time in my life, I feel like I can tell my story. This process is amazing! Thank you so much for this!" (James S.)

You'll be able to use these writing exercises again and again for writing short pieces or as the building blocks for longer work. This fun and easy process is perfect for writing in a variety of creative nonfiction genres: 

  • Personal essays
  • Memoirs
  • Flash nonfiction
  • Blog posts
  • The stories of our life (for your eyes only, or for others)

>OMM Workshop: $97

 >OMM Workshop + Feedback: $145
Add a round of professional editorial feedback to your registration for just $50 (normally $75). I will read your one-moment memoir (up to 750 words), plus the notes you wrote during the OMM writing exercises (if you want to share them), and provide you with detailed, written feedback. My approach to editorial feedback is to be constructive yet kind. I treat you and your work with respect. When you're done reading my feedback, you should have clear ideas of what to work on next -- and you should feel good about doing the work! 

OMM Workshop:

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NOTE: The email address associated with your PayPal information is the one we'll use to contact you. If you prefer to use a different address, please tell us in the "notes to seller" during check-out. After you register, you will receive a confirmation email. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please contact me: jennifer{at}thewordcellar{dot}com. 


 OMM is for you if... need a new way "in" to your stories. want to write but are afraid/lost/overwhelmed. love to write but want to try something new. want to make sense of your life in words. want to share your life stories with others. want to find a way to write with more ease and more joy.  

If I could give you one thing to help you tell the stories of your life, it would be the unique step-by-step process that I share in this class.

OMM is appropriate for all levels of writers, from beginners to more experienced writers. This workshop will benefit writers who are new to short-form nonfiction, as well as those looking for additional tools to use in writing short essays, flash nonfiction pieces, and blog posts. At the end of this workshop, participants will have the beginning of a one-moment memoir, a list of story ideas to serve as "jumping-in" points for additional essays, as well as practical tips and resources for further study and practice.

About  Facilitator

I'm Jenna McGuiggan, owner of The Word Cellar. I've worked as a professional freelance writer, editor, and creative coach since 2003. I've been teaching online writing classes since 2010. During that time, I've worked with more than 400 students, plus dozens of people in one-on-one coaching sessions and through my editorial feedback services.

I received my MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and I hold a BA in English. In addition to teaching online, I have also taught and spoken in-person at the BlogHer Conference, the the Soul Sisters Conference, and the Be Present Retreats. (Learn more about my credentials here.)

My essays and articles have been published in a wide variety of print and online publications. (Learn more about my writing here.)

As a workshop facilitator and instructor, I think of myself less as a teacher and more as a sharer: one who shares. I've learned a lot about writing and living the writing life through my experience and education. I want to share that with you.

I believe in art for art's sake, in the necessity of beauty, in the power of words, and in the karma of kindness.