The 90-Day Memoir® is a Live-on-Zoom workshop with Alan Watt that will take you from initial idea to the completion of your memoir's first draft in 90 days.
"What was impossible to accomplish in ten years becomes possible in 90 days."
TELL THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE
The 90-Day Memoir® is a concise, day-by-day investigation into a particular series of events that in some way shaped you. We all have the story that we tell ourselves, and although the facts may be indisputable, our interpretation of those facts is often based on long-held beliefs that we have had about ourselves or the world. This means that our idea of our story is never quite the whole story. It isn't incorrect, but only incomplete.
. . . so, how can you write your memoir if you don’t know the whole story?!
In The 90-Day Memoir® you're going to learn to trust your subconscious. Your subconscious is the seat of your genius. Genius isn't a noun, it's a verb — something we all have access to if given a safe environment and a seasoned guide to walk you through the process of marrying the wildness of your imagination to the rigor of structure.
Your subconscious is able to make connections and uncover meaning in areas that you might not have otherwise explored. The 90-Day Memoir® isn't interested in protecting your ego — it's after much larger game — it wants the truth. It understands, on a fundamental level, that when you gain perspective on the events of your life, you're liberated from the limiting beliefs that held you hostage.
Some of the most impactful memoirs depict challenging experiences as a means of tracking their protagonist's journey to some kind of deeper truth by reframing the meaning they made out of their struggle.
This truth is your birthright — and by claiming a coherent narrative for your life, you are always led to freedom, to an absence of shame, and to a deeper connection to yourself and the world.
We meet once a week in a LIVE Zoom call on Thursdays from 12:00 - 1:30 pm Pacific Time, for 14 weeks, followed immediately by a live Q&A to answer any questions that emerge.
The workshop is a combination of craft lessons and stream-of-consciousness writing exercises where writers read their work and I work with a number of writers one-on-one to illustrate the principles.
Note: You are not required to take the workshop live. Many writers have day jobs or commitments during class hours, therefore all of our sessions are recorded and are available for three weeks, respectively.
Every morning a daily letter lands in your inbox.
The letters were developed over the course of several years, and are a guide through the process of creating a compelling narrative.
Writers often comment on the synchronicity of the letters — on how they seem to meet you right where you are. While the letters focus on craft, they are also a response to the seemingly uncanny uniformity of experience shared by the many writers who have taken the 90-day journey before you.
The group forum is where you can connect each day with your classmates to share your experiences, hold yourselves accountable to a daily page count, and take part in daily discussion topics.
Over the course of 90 days we discover that we're not alone — the ups and downs that caused us to question whether or not we were really a writer, are, in fact, par for the course.
It's liberating to realize that our private struggles are universal, and that they often provide direct clues into the world of our characters.
During the first month of the workshop, in the outlining phase, I offer one-on-one story consultations where you can send me your three-page outline and I review it, make notes, and go over it with you in a private one-hour consult to explore the most dynamic and compelling way to tell your story before you begin your first draft. There is an additional cost for this service.
"Writing a memoir is a journey inside of yourself, coming to terms with the highs and lows and lessons every life teaches. It is that honest, raw, revelatory account that others will want to read and learn from. Al Watt's 90-Day Memoir® is a masterful guided tour to that interior world, structured perfectly. And, amazingly to me, it ends with a mostly completed rough draft in just three months. That’s something many of us have spent years trying to accomplish. The secret is Al’s empathy and teaching methods—asking his students to address the episodes they most want to resist. Few teachers can get their students to really think through the dark night of their soul and how that led to their eventual success and indeed transformation. Al insists he is not a therapist, and this writing course is not therapy. Well, for me, it was full of deep personal revelations, helping me make sense of my life and be able to write about it in ways that had always eluded me. In short, I simply don’t believe you can go wrong with this extraordinary teacher and his writing blueprint."
Bill Buzenberg, Journalist and Former Head of NPR News, Minnesota Public Radio, and The Center for Public Integrity
“This is the best class I’ve ever taken, and I’ve taken many in my time. I went from 'writing a memoir is impossible' to completing my first manuscript. Al has a genius method to unlock your subconscious and get you writing. I've been able to drop all of my fears and get it done, which is remarkable."
Sherold Barr, author of Reach for More
“I already had an MFA and I teach and direct a college creative writing program, but I really didn’t have an organic understanding of story. Al’s ability to merge intuition and structure is unique and invaluable. I was able to work through my outline-phobia because of the way he approached structure as a holistic approach, rather than a rigid box. Al encourages the writer to live within the questions of the story, not the answers.”
Laraine Herring, Author of Gathering Lights, Winner of the Barbara Deming Award for Women
Hi, I'm Al. They call me the Writer Whisperer.
I'm the L.A. Times bestselling author of the novels, Diamond Dogs and Days Are Gone, and the recipient of the American Library Association's Alex Award, a Book Sense Pick, a New York Time's New and Noteworthy book pick, and winner of France's Prix Printemps for best foreign novel of the year. Along with the national bestseller, The 90-Day Novel®, (Amazon's #1 book on writing for five months) the lab has published five other books on writing. I teach a process of marrying the wildness of your imagination to the rigor of structure, and my students span the range from first-time writers to best-selling authors and filmmakers who've won numerous accolades for their work including the Pulitzer Prize.
I’m also the writer/director of the independent feature, Eddie, Kill the President (formerly Interior Night), which won four best feature awards at U.S. film festivals as well as The Boston Film Festival's Filmmaker Visionary Award. Oh, I also had a small part on Seinfeld back in the 90s when I had a thick lustrous head of chestnut hair. It's the Chinese gum episode. I'm the movie theater vendor who sells Kramer the vile hotdog.
Fourteen 90-minute workshops
Live Q&A following each session
90 daily letters
Daily writing prompts
Group forum with daily discussion topics
One-on-one story consultation
Personal accountability groups
Suggested Donation - $1,500 | Minimum Donation - $750 until Jan. 25th
“Al Watt is a story guru. Plain and simple. His writing prompts encourage you to dig deep and allow your subconscious to show up on the page. I'm always amazed at what I produce in Al’s class and also how connected to my story he makes me feel. If you are willing to let go of plot, Al will help you find the heartbeat of your story. And then, he’ll drill story structure into your head! I’ve taken a lot of writing classes, but working with Al provided the roadmap to complete my debut novel - the one I’d been thinking about writing for years, and now, finally, the first draft of a memoir, a story I never thought I could tell."
Marcie Maxfield, author of Em’s Awful Good Fortune
“The workshop was without a doubt the key to getting my travel memoir about living with the poor in Vietnam out of a rut. Al is brilliant and has an uncanny ability to draw out of your issues and angles you didn’t know you had in you. It was also fascinating to hear the work of other writers and then learn from Al’s comments to them. I finished my book and had offers from two publishing houses.”
Karin Esterhammer, author of So Happiness to Meet You, Prospect Park Books, Winner of the Nautilus Book Awards Silver Medal
“I have two Masters Degrees, one from an Ivy League University, and I must say The 90-Day Memoir® is one of the most thought-provoking courses/workshops I have ever taken.”
“Al Watt is extraordinary. Having had many powerful teachers, creative and otherwise, in my journey, I’m thankful to have had my share of amazing, often world-class instruction. Al is in a league all his own. His well-homed and well-earned mastery of the craft of writing, his awareness of the human condition, and his own very apparent evolution as a person, among many other qualities, coincide to create an experience like no other. If you have the opportunity to study with Al, don’t miss it. I give both Al Watt and his workshops my highest recommendation.”
Robert Gant, Actor, Queer as Folk
"A line of heat and propulsion carries readers through the best memoirs. Al Watt, somewhat miraculously, has located all the levers and portals into that flow. With deep wisdom and compassion, he guides writers to the way it courses through their stories. A master technician, he’s also part-mystic, part-soothsayer. Take his class, write your memoir and be transformed. What a ride!"
Ann Marsh, award-winning investigative journalist
“Al's memoir class is part structure journey, part shamanic tracking of self and part healing ceremony.”
Linda Kay Stevens
“Alan is the best writing instructor on the planet. He shines a light and steps out of the way. He honors the creative process and he respects the writer's soul. He is insightful and caring and generous. I feel lucky to have crossed paths with such an inspiring person."
"I had been unsuccessfully trying to tell my story for six years when I registered for Al's class. Not only did I find a way forward, I was able to complete my first draft! I felt safe to share my story with others, to take a risk and be vulnerable. Everyone was very accepting, kind, and caring. It was a wonderful writing experience."
"A friend told me about Alan's online memoir writing course and she spoke so enthusiastically about it that I signed up--not really knowing what to expect. First of all, I must say, Alan makes this substantive course very affordable to everyone. That was a great beginning and says a lot about the kind of person Alan is. I've been a writer all my adult working life in a variety of different professions, but I had never considered writing a memoir. Alan is an exceptional teacher/mentor. I think that is true, first of all, because he knows his subject so well, but beyond that he is an intuitive, compassionate person who allows everyone to feel safe, accepted and "heard." He creates a learning environment that is encouraging and motivating. It has been a transformative experience, not just as a writer, but on a very personal level, and that is because of Alan's ability to work within the complexities of a very diverse group of people and make each and every one feel unconditionally accepted and encouraged throughout the writing process."
"In 90 days, I grew as a writer—not just learning about structure, but in content. Al’s thorough understanding of story in each act gave new meaning to my writing, allowing me to create a compelling narrative."
"Al Watt’s marvelous courses have helped me in every aspect of writing. When you’re thoroughly confused by plot advice and character how-to’s, drop it all and run fast to lawriterslab.com. From in-person to telecourses, you’ll find something to clear the way to your novel, screenplay, play, memoir . . . whatever is your path, you’ll have a guide.”
Guinotte Wise, Winner of the H. Palmer Hall Award; Nominated for several Pushcart Prizes
"It's the rare teacher who successfully does what they teach at a high level, while simultaneously inspiring others to do their best work. Al's encouragement, guidance, and insights into my manuscript were pivotal, compelling a deeper and truer exploration. He invited me to face all those things in myself that I would have preferred to keep secret. He never let me off the hook, but his notes always rang true as he gently challenged my ego to step out of the way. The result is a book I am proud of, and that I couldn't have imagined existing without his insight and skill."
Arthur Dielhan, author of Get Out of Your Head, It's a Mess in There
There are no prerequisites to join. You will find New York Times bestselling authors writing shoulder to shoulder with first-time writers. I’m teaching a process of getting the story from your imagination to the page. Start where you are.
We offer 100% refund in the first 7 days of the workshop if you need to drop out for any reason. There can be no postponements for future workshops.
Yes, there is homework. Outlining and writing a first draft is a big undertaking. I recommend that you devote two hours a day to the workshop. If you have a busy schedule, that may not be possible, in which case, you may want to temper your expectations, but that should not discourage you from jumping into the class. It is more important that you approach this workshop as a daily or near-daily practice, even if you can only devote a little time each day, than it is to cram all of your work in on weekends.
When we commit to this process, the results are often beyond our imagination … we just don’t know what they will be. This workshop is going to guide you through your protagonist’s journey, and you will likely be transformed as a result. The only thing I can promise is that if you show up and put in the time, you will have a first draft in 90 days.
I offer up to two full scholarships each semester for military veterans and for stories of cultural diversity. To apply, please submit a brief bio and a synopsis of up to 300 words describing your story to email@example.com. Selected recipients will be notified 10 days prior to the start of the workshop.
All workshops are recorded and available for up to three weeks, so you can watch them as often as you wish during that time.
While the objective of the workshop is to complete a first draft in 90 days, the goal of the workshop is to deepen your relationship to your creative spirit, and we cannot do this without creating an environment where each writer feels respected and honored, and where their story is valid. I try to be encouraging, positive, passionate, deep, thoughtful, intuitive, and extremely curious about the story you’re attempting to express. I won’t impose my ideas onto your work, but rather, through inquiry, guide you to the heart of what you’re attempting to express. This process will almost inevitably bring up doubts and fears, but that is an inevitable part of the journey. The workshop will guide you through the emotional ups and downs through the daily letters and support in the group forum and from myself as your instructor.
I try to offer this workshop twice a year. If you can’t make this one, check for future dates here.
Workshops take place on Mondays from 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. (Pacific Time). I’m always on the Zoom call at 11:45 a.m. to welcome writers and answer questions before class. I also do a Q&A immediately following each workshop.
The 90-Day Memoir class size is not limited. In writing your first draft, you do not read your work-in-progress to the class, however, you are encouraged to read your writing exercises so I can work with you one-on-one to illustrate the principles to everyone. Also, while you are encouraged to share your work, it is not required. Once you have completed your first draft, you are invited to take The 90-Day Rewrite workshop, which is limited to 16 writers and you read your work each week.
If one or more of the following apply, you belong here:
You don’t need to have a story idea to begin the workshop. The writing exercises will help you to discover a story. We don’t begin writing the first draft until the 5th class.
The lab celebrates your joy, curiosity, and uniqueness — this a space where we welcome diversity and inclusivity, where all stories are supported and encouraged. There is no place for bigotry or discriminating against someone due to their ethnicity, political belief, race, religion, sex or gender, sexual orientation, language, culture, disability, or on any other ground. We ask for all writers attending workshops in the lab to respect one another. Every 90-day workshop includes up to two full scholarships for stories of diversity and/or characters who have been marginalized in some way.
Yes! In our monthly newsletter, we have a section called Lab News where we promote our writers book launches, readings, etc.
Creativity is your birthright. Your sole purpose is to build a body of work.