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Together We Write – Writing Memoir as a Community

When a friend suggested I join book inc’s Memoir Incubator, I was hesitant. Not because I didn’t want to write a memoir, but because I was afraid. Afraid I would fail … again.

You see, I had already attempted to write a memoir. I had put together a loose gathering of scenes, 70,000 words in total. But then, I quit. I stopped outlining, stopped fleshing out scenes, stopped writing. Why? Who knows? Fear, laziness, lack of time. All of the above.

So, should I join the Memoir Incubator? Or would I fail again at completing a manuscript? I chose not to dwell on it. I submitted my application.

I attended the book inc. Open House last December to get a better understanding of the incubator program. My fears dispersed a little when I learned how the writing program is structured and listened to the success stories of the previous Incubator students. In January, I received an email from my co-leaders, Shanda McManus and Jen Gaites, with the assignments for the first class. I can do this, I thought. In mid-January, we had our first Zoom meeting. The topic? Resistance––how it hinders our writing, but how all of us working together and sharing our writing journeys in the Memoir Incubator would help us overcome it. I was re-energized and recommitted to my writing.

Will I as a student in the Memoir Incubator succeed in writing my memoir by the end of 2022? Stay tuned to this column to find out. I sure hope so!

Elizabeth Jannuzzi, book inc’s program manager, is a mother and writer living in New Jersey. Her work has been featured in Pangyrus, Cagibi, and Entropy. She is currently enrolled in book inc’s Memoir Incubator where she is working on a memoir about recovery.