You’ve always wanted to write about that summer in India, or that year in Paris, or wherever you may have roamed.
But when you finally sit down to write, you just don’t know how to get started. How are you supposed to put all those events, feelings, discoveries and epiphanies into a satisfying story?
You might be asking yourself:
–Will anyone be interested in my story?
–What’s a good hook to get my reader interested?
–Am I supposed to do any research about the place I went to?
–How do I put all those experiences into one story? Or should i write many stories?And if so, how would I know how to break them up?
–Do I need a gimmick to make my story interesting?
–I want to write about my travels my blog. Real, personal stories, not just travel tips. But how do I make my stories interesting, so that readers are dying to read all the way through each post?
–Will anyone publish my travel memoir story? How can I get published in an online magazine or journal? 

The Travel to Memoir: Transform Your Journey Into Story program will answer all of these questions and more through my step-by-step training. I’ll guide you through finding the story in your travel experience, and telling it powerfully.

By the end of this 4 week program, you’ll have created a travel memoir story you love so much that you’d be proud to post it on your blog, submit it for publication, or use it as a chapter in your travel memoir book.


Hi, I’m Jillian

me-in-ubud-copyThe origin for this program started back when I was 29 and moved into my mom’s one-bedroom condo outside of Phoenix Arizona.

After two years teaching writing at private universities in Abu Dhabi and then Dubai, I was nearly broke and without a job. All I had was a crazy plan: to write my travel memoir. I already had a title, Abu Dhabi Days, Dubai Nights. How hard could the rest be?

It was going to be glorious, I told myself, and definitely worth giving up my Assistant Professor of English job and exciting lifestyle in Dubai.

There I was, on my first day of writing…

I was about to embark on the journey of shaping my experiences over the last two years into a coherent, moving story. I yawned; I checked my emails; I started researching literary agents and dreaming of my book published to acclaim.

All throughout my time in Abu Dhabi and Dubai I had dreamed of this chance, so generously granted me by my mother, and I had just squandered a day, and then another, and another.

I worried that I wasn’t prepared enough, because I had several debilitating questions about how to proceed: how much research did I need to do? What did my potential audience know and want to know about that part of the world? How do I balance my personal voice with a more objective description of cities where I lived? Did I need to have a ‘gimmick’ in order to be noticed?

I wandered through the aisles of my local library, searching for the answers in travel memoir books.

Just flipping through the pages, it was clear to me that those stories were so well told, with such humility and authority, that those authors had never wondered if they were telling a story worth reading. Of course they were.

Those books were inevitable, while mine was definitely not.

I had no particular breakthrough moment when everything became clear. I wish I did. I really do. I would love to share it with you.

But I did learn, eventually, the steps to writing each of my chapters, to weaving in facts and research, to maintaining a strong personal and engaging voice throughout, and creating an overall arc for my story. And to write that story was its own reward.

And I dme-and-my-book-againid get the book published, which was, of course, the point, and also beyond the point.

As my friend in Dubai put it when he read the published book:

I wish that all humans could just pop out a disk from their brains that could describe their lives as beautifully as you have.

That’s all I had wanted to do, and that’s what I want to help you to do as well.

That’s my superpower: I help people create meaning of their life journeys. I believe that our journeys bring out our most powerful stories, and sharing them with the world is a gift.

I hold an MFA in creative nonfiction writing, and my nonfiction has been published in Brevity, The Manifest-Station, The Lifted Brow and Eclectica Magazine, among many others. I’ve taught creative writing and travel memoir writing for the past ten years in the United States, the United Arab Emirates, and Australia.


When you join the Travel to Memoir program, we’ll roll up our sleeves and apply each of the 3 core steps to get you from travel experience to memoir story you love.

Step 1. Create Your Invitation to the Reader

The first step we’ll create together during the first week of our program is your Invitation to the Reader.

We all worry about coming up with a compelling opening to hook the reader onto our story. And we should: one of the biggest reasons powerful stories don’t get written is because writers don’t know how to start.

Equally important, your opening is the make or 3-step-process-for-travel-to-memoir-3-copybreak moment for your reader. It doesn’t matter how compelling the rest of your story is, a reader of your blog or an editor considering your story for publication is going to click away or decline your submission based on the opening paragraph alone.

I have a two-part formula to ensure that your readers and potential editors will be desperate to find out what happens next.

We’ll look at many examples, and choose the kind of invitation you want to give to your reader: the Question or the Evocation.

Step 2. Make Meaning of Your Quest

The next step is Making Meaning of Your Quest.

Whether you knew it or not, your journey was a quest. Every story is.

Whether large or small, readers will find your quest compelling if you can convey its meaning.

In this step, I’ll help you identify your quest and break down the steps to writing about it. I’ll show you many examples of how other authors have illustrated their quests for you to follow as models.

By the end of this step, I’ll make sure you’ve portrayed your quest as compelling and meaningful.

You also make your quest meaningful by writing about the Stakes of Your Journey.

It doesn’t matter if these stakes are high or low, what matters is how you convey the details of the juicy middle of your story. How much should you include and what should you leave out?

How can you weave in pertinent backstory alongside informing your reader about the new place you’ve journeyed to?

These important questions will be answered in this next step.

I’ll show you targeted examples and how to use them to recall the important, evocative details of your story. Because this is the most complicated step, we’ll work on it for two weeks of the program.

We’ll break this step down into smaller ones so that you steer clear of a ‘murky middle’ and instead produce something crystal clear.

Step 3. Evoke Change

And the final step during the 4th and last week of our program is Evoking Change.

No matter how big or how small, travel changes us. By the time we get to this step, the ending to your story will seem inevitable.


Each step will bring you closer to completing one of your travel memoir stories, and call to mind other stories that you want tell. I’ll be going through these steps right alongside you, writing my own travel memoir, and share my results with you during each training.

Once you’ve gone through these steps, you’ll have written a travel memoir story, blog post or chapter from your travel memoir book that you love.

Take this process with you to write more and more stories about your journeys, near and far.

Our journey starts on January 23, 2017.


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Testimonials

shannon-circleJillian is a super writing teacher! She helped me fall in love with the travel memoir writing genre, which actually launched my career as a travel writer. Since taking her online course, I have been writing travel pieces for both The Huffington Post and Pink Pangea. I’m now also working on my second book, which is a travel memoir that chronicles my volunteer trips around the world. If you are looking for excellent feedback from a gifted writer, Jillian is a top-notch teacher and super resource! ~ M. Shannon Hernandez, Founder of The Writing Whisperer

judy-circle
I’ve never understood the saying “Those who can do; those who can’t teach”. As Jillian is the perfect example that saying isn’t true. She is a fantastic published writer and an equally fantastic teacher. It is the especially kind person who shares her talent with others.
 ~ Judy Frisell

 


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