The Elemental Journey of Purposeful Memoir

A Writer’s Companion

by Jennifer Browdy

2017 Nautilus Silver Award Winner for creative process

Publication Year: 2017

Warm and informal, this month-by-month guide to writing memoir is like having an experienced writing coach at your elbow. With a year’s worth of thought-provoking, carefully structured writing prompts and essays on craft, Jennifer offers guidance and companionship for the aspiring memoirist, encouraging you to dig deep into the storehouse of your memories to share the wisdom that only life experience can bring.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Embarking on the Elemental Journey of Purposeful Memoir 1

Your Month-by-Month Writer’s Companion 17

January: Dreaming Deep 19

February: Looking for Love 27

March: Sap Rising 35

April: Fueling the Creative Fires 43

May: The Warmth of Childhood 51

June: Cultivating a Life 59

July: Learning and Unlearning 69

August: Reaching for the Light 77

September: In the Gardens of Memory 85

October: Write Where You Are 93

November: Veils Between Worlds 101

December: Taking Stock of the Journey 109

Conclusion: Be Your Note: Continuing on the Elemental Journey of Purposeful Memoir 117

Suggestions for Further Reading 129

Acknowledgments 133

Praise for Jennifer’s memoir:

“Jennifer’s passion for ‘women who write’ is evident in her ongoing commitment to those of us who do. In a soft voice she fearlessly leads, directs, and most of all…deeply cares. We wrote from our hearts and she opened hers, steering us here, guiding us there and always… leading us right back to ourselves.” —N.P., Dallas, TX


“Jennifer provided a warm and accepting safe haven for us to share the tender parts of ourselves through writing exercises presented with an expert and delicate hand. The format kept us moving, thinking, laughing, writing, and the time flew! At the end of this weekend, I felt both inspired and encouraged that, maybe, just maybe, I really can write!” —A.S., Lenox, MA

Jennifer Browdy | About the Author


Jennifer Browdy is a writer, teacher, community organizer and public speaker with a passion for social and environmental justice.

She earned her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at New York University and has taught world literature, gender studies, media studies, and environmental and social justice advocacy through writing and digital media strategies for more than 20 years at the college level.

Long committed to women’s human rights and social justice, she directed a major annual conference in observance of International Women’s Day for more than a decade, and works constantly and collaboratively to nourish and celebrate the voices and visions of women and girls.

Jennifer has published widely and spoken on the politics and poetics of social and environmental justice at many college campuses and conferences. In the coming years, she is looking forward to leading other women down the elemental path of purposeful memoir, working to strengthen the voices and visions of women of all ages, so we can step into our potential as the creative leaders the world needs now.

For more information on Jennifer’s lectures, workshops, developmental editing and author coaching, visit

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