Fearless Memoir

How to overcome fear, unworthiness, and self-doubt and finally write a memoir. By Brad Wetzler, award-winning author, editor, and book writing coach.

Take these 11 Steps and You Too Can Be a Published Author

  1. Journal about your book and expertise. 
    In other words, write like crazy about your book idea and your expertise. Ask yourself, what gifts of knowledge and wisdom do I have to share with the world? 
  2. Locate your tribe. 
    Research your audience. Who are your readers? Where are they? What do they need? How can you help them with the problems they face? Can you help them increase their income or live a more fulfilling life? 
  3. Launch a blog. Publish once per week.
    Create a website with a blog--and then write weekly blog posts directed at the future readers of your book. In your blog posts, aim to solve your readers' pain points. Lead with an anecdote that shows how you or one of your customers faced and overcame a problem. Pivot to explain how your readers can overcome similar problems in their own lives. End with a call to action, i.e. to read more on your website, schedule a free consult with you, or buy a product or service.
  4. ...
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How Travel Changes Us

In 2011, I spent three months on walkabout in Israel and Palestine. At the time I was struggling with life. I wanted to see if I could believe in a higher power again as I did in my youth. I walked miles and miles in Jesus’ footsteps. Soaking in the Jordan River, I realized that I couldn’t believe again. But I discovered something huge: that no messiah can heal us or fix us. Not pills. Not religious dogma.Not travel. I came home changed. I recommitted to a daily yoga practice that I’d abandoned. On the yoga mat during the next years, I found what I couldn’t find on the road. Myself. Looking back on that pilgrimage, I see that sometimes we have to go external in order to go internal. I mean, it was necessary for me to go on that trip. I didn’t find what I was hoping to find. But I found something different, surprising, and, ultimately, that trip inspired me to do the hard work I needed to do to find myself again after years of self-abandonment....

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Short Memoir: How Bhakti Yoga Brings Us Back to Our Hearts

Spiritual practices are an important way I stay connected to my deepest self. Yoga and meditation are my go-to practices. When I practice consistently, I do better at staying grounded in the present moment. And when I stay grounded in the NOW, I am slower to react to difficult situations and people, and I'm better able to respond to life's myriad challenges with patience and compassion to others and myself.  Spiritual practices are one way that I show up for myself with self-love.

Like yoga and journaling, I think of chanting as a loving knife, a knife that is able to cut through habit and resistance to the soft, beating heart within all our chests.

On a recent summer night, my friend and I drove to a retirement home to attend a kirtan led by Benjy and Heather Wertheimer. Kirtan means “to chant together,” and kirtans are a common practice in Bhakti yoga, the yoga of love and devotion. No matter what you believe, chanting with other humans feels good in the...

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Yoga and My Quest for True Self

A consistent yoga practice can be powerful. It’s like standing in front of a mirror and staring at your reflection. This can be frightening for anybody, but for a middle-aged man it is especially so.

First, you see things that surprise or shock you. Is my belly really that lumpy? Is my hair that gray? With time, these judgments soften some. But then it can be easy to swing too far in the opposite direction. “On second thought, I don’t look too bad for 52. My stomach may not be a six-pack, but look at those arms! They’re coming along! All those chaturangas I’ve been doing have yielded some nice deltoids. I don’t look half-bad. I can add some sit-ups, but otherwise, Brad, you’re looking good!”

But if you stand at the mirror longer still, your feel-good thoughts fade, too. If you’re lucky, you land, finally, in self-acceptance. You accept the good with the bad and the handsome with the ugly. But more likely, you will overshoot...

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Short Memoir: On Finding Your Author Voice

I want to tell you about a book that, each time I open it, makes me a better writer. You probably haven’t heard of it, or of the author, Ted Solotaroff. It’s not a best-seller like Bird by Bird or a popular favorite like Stephen King’s On Writing. In fact, I’ve never seen another copy of this essay collection other than the coffee-stained, dog-eared one I own. But this book—just one essay in it, actually—is my savior. It’s my savior during dark nights of the soul, when I lurch, when I desire to say something meaningful and truthful, when I wish to say it in MY own unique and original voice.

I bought my copy of A Few Good Voices in My Head at a used bookstore in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood during my graduate school years. I don’t recall the shop’s name, but walking its aisles was a Saturday afternoon ritual, especially during the dead of a brutal Chicago winter when the snow flies...

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Short Memoir: A Middle-Age Man Grows Up to Be a Yoga Teacher

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In February 2017, a few weeks after my 51st birthday and on the twisting road to becoming a middle-aged yoga instructor, I skulked through the orange-themed lobby at a Boulder, Colorado, CorePower Yoga studio. Past the racks of Lululemon yoga pants and T-shirts that read...
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Short Memoir: How Yoga Brings Us Closer to Ourselves and a Higher Power

For years, I've sought a connection with the divine. The problem has been that, as much as I desire to believe in something greater than myself, I have a rational side to my mind that requires empirical proof. I was a journalist for years, after all. I excelled at fact-finding and writing from a logical, fact-based perspective. So, as soon as I decide I can believe in a Higher Power, I deconstruct my faith, and I find myself afflicted by doubt again. It's never-ending, torturous even. 

Building on altar was a watershed moment in my spiritual life. It was sweet if chaotic arrangement of statuettes, prayer flags, framed photographs picturing Indian gurus, incense holders, candles, and the precious collar that belonged to my deceased dog Blue.  As I stepped away from it and viewed it from a distance, I saw it as a signal to myself that I had entered a new phase in my spiritual life. By representing my inner life with statues on my...

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Short Memoir: How Dogs Show Us How to Love Unconditionally

When I used to travel a lot as a magazine writer, I tried to work fast so that I could explore more of the countries I visited. I gravitated toward holy sites. Temples, churches, ashrams, ancient ruins, active charnel grounds. I wasn’t a believer, so I wasn’t even sure what “holy” meant. But those sites, with their dim light, pungent incense, burning candles gave me a holy feeling, as if I was connected to something greater than myself. And then, several years ago, while on walkabout in Israel and Palestine, aka The Holy Land, I learned something important. The holy feelings that I’d been seeking weren’t coming from the places I visited. They were within. And these feelings? Well, they were the tip of the iceberg.

I still love to travel. I’m excited to be going back to India this fall. But these days, my vessel of discovery is yoga. I practice because I want to wake up. Way more than a physical activity, yoga shows us life as it really...

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How to Write an Irresistible Book Proposal

Do you seek to publish your nonfiction book with a traditional publisher? Then you’ll want to write a compelling book proposal.

To help you get started, I’m offering you this free guide to writing your book proposal.

I am an experienced book-proposal coach. I help people write powerful, irresistible book proposals. If you’d like my expert guidance through this process, please email me at [email protected] to set up your free 30-minute phone consult.  I offer several book-proposal coaching packages on my website: bradwetzler.com/book-proposal-coaching

I hope you find this guide useful.

Understand The Parts of a Proposal

Most proposals range from 35 to 50 pages and have three parts: The OverviewThe Outline, and a Sample Chapter.

The Overview

Your overview must prove that you have a marketable, practical idea and that you are the right person to write about it and promote it. Provide as much ammunition about you and your book as you...

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Short Memoir: How Yoga Shows Us What Faith Means

I wake to a cold winter morning. I crawl out of bed and peer through the frosted window into dark. The weatherman was correct: a thick coat of white covers the ground. It's deep. No walk this morning, I think. I make coffee and sit upright on a sheepskin rug at the center of my living room. I sip. I strike a match and light a thick white candle resting on a dresser in front of me. The room glows yellow. I hold a stick of sandalwood incense to the candle's flame until it glows yellow too. Then I blow out the flame and place the smoldering incense into the small blue vase that once held my mother's ashes. I watch the column of smoke rise, curl, and then dissipate, filling the room with a smoky fragrance.


"Hey, Google, play ‘Puja’ by Krishna Das," I say to a small speaker resting on my dresser.

"Braaaaaah-ma. Viiiiiiish-nu. Shiiiiii-va," the speaker groans the Hindu names for God. I sit up straight and hum with the spare melody. The room's soft glow, distinct...

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