Writing a memoir can be intimidating

I talk to so many people who want to write a memoir, but feel intimidated or stymied by the process. Where to begin?  What to leave in, and what to leave out?  What if you’re not a “real” writer?  What if your story isn’t interesting to others?

During the many years I spent writing my memoir, An Incredible Talent for Existing, and working with freelance editors to bring it to publication, I learned more about writing and editing (and life) than I ever could have by reading a book or taking a class. And, as an essayist, children’s author, and columnist, I have helped hundreds of writers realize their dream of writing a memoir.   I especially love the mentoring process – giving others the encouragement and hope that they, too, can see their memoir in print.

“When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, without faith and without hope…suddenly the work will find itself.–” Isak Dinesen

I have had many years of experience coaching and mentoring memoir, novel, and children’s book authors, some of whom have gone on to highly successful careers. I am also the author of Dear Pamela, a writing advice column published by womensmemoirs.com.

I view an editor or coach as a close collaborator, a companion on your journey to write your story. I will not only help you shape and polish your narrative but, more fundamentally, I will provide support and insight in helping you to discover the story you want to tell, which is often the hardest part.

Writing a memoir is an act of exploration

I will work with you at any level you require, from identifying your story (what should go in, what should go out), to developmental editing (the overall structure of your book) or the editing of scenes, chapters, or pages. I can help you identify and shape emergent ideas, or look over completed drafts that would benefit from a fresh eye.

My coaching fees are $75.00 per hour for structural, developmental, or line editing, or simply to support you as you work through your story. I will respond with a one-page letter and detailed comments on your manuscript. If you are considering working with me, I will be glad to give you a twenty-minute phone call at no charge to see if we might be a good fit.

If you are interested in hiring me, choose the number of hours you would like to begin with, and then click on the Buy Now button, or you can contact me at pamelajaneATpamelajane.com

Number of hours

5 Tips on Hiring a Memoir Coach


If universities offered degrees in the art of finding and evaluating writing coaches, I would have earned a PhD by now. Maybe two. In the many years I’ve worked on writing my memoir, in-between publishing over twenty children’s books, I’ve hired several dozen writing coaches, from famous writers to obscure professors. I’ve worked with some outstanding coaches, such as Tristine Rainer (Your Life as Story), Karen Propp (In Sickness and in Health: A Love Story) and Eric Maisel (The Art of the Book Deal and Mastering Creative Anxiety). Hiring a writing coach can be expensive, although I was able to pay for much of my coaching with my own earnings. Still, I haven’t been on many vacations in recent years, my family-room furniture is really funky, and my fantasy of adding an addition to our house remains just that – a fantasy. But for me, working with all those coaches was worth it. As I’m writing this, I ask myself … Read on

Pamela Jane is the author of over thirty books from board books to memoir. She is also a writing coach, freelance writer, and public speaker. Learn more about her by booking a school visit, perusing her blog, or reading her memoir, An Incredible Talent for Existing: A Writer's Story.


“Pamela’s manuscript critique is a combination of inspired enthusiasm and an acute understanding of the fiction writer’s toolbox. Her reading is spot on regarding what in my draft needs fixing and ways to do that. She brings to her commentaries a wealth of experiences with children’s literature, a depth of insight and her unique writerly intuition. I really feel she cares about the success of my work and the importance of getting it right; moreover, she spends the time to make that happen. Finally, she is generous with guidance about the publishing market. A gem of an editor and a pleasure to work with in every way.”–Karen Propp, author

“Pamela Jane focused on what was good in my work, gave me super advice, then actually shared some of her own editor contacts with me. Suffice to say, Pamela knows what she’s doing. My fifteenth book was just published; two more coming out next year.”–Coleen Paratore, author, www.coleenparatore.com

“Thank you so much for your in depth critique. You have planted a delicious seed and given me lots to think about…[this] will help me to sharpen up the plot structure as well as pointing me in the direction of where I can expand. I can’t wait to get started on the re-write.”–Sylvia Olson, author

“Your writing deserves professional eyes on your manuscript. Your story warrants the best. You’ll be amazed how a suggestion here, a nudge thre, moving a sentence from the third page to the opening can help your prose sing”–Matilda Butler, founder of womensmemoirs

“Pamela provided helpful and insightful comments, encouragement and motivation for me to keep working on the manuscript. I appreciate her efforts and professional skills in helping me reach writing goals, and am awed at the insights and suggestions she made!–MJean Moultrie

“I especially appreciate your line by line critique. I have received many critiques stating that I’m not displaying enough emotion in what is a emotionally charged subject. Your critique helps me see this criticism clearly and shows me how to make the adjustments needed. … Thank you again for coming alongside me to help me see how to better share our story”–ME.M.

“Your edit is so helpful. I don’t know how to tell you how much I appreciate your advice. I read through [your comments] and knew right away you are right on point. … I appreciate so much your help with our book!”–MJ.C.

“I wanted to thank you for your insightful editing comments on the first page of my memoir along with the synopsis. … In terms of the memoir page, your comments actually solved a dilemma for me as I have toyed with the beginning for a while. I like the solution you offered and made the change you recommended in the order of the paragraphs and presto, problem solved! So thanks so much!”–MM.G-W

“I want to thank you for your brilliant comments on my manuscript. I know that I am, at times, too close to the story and can lose the perspective of the reader “–MC.L.