Praise for Memoirs of the Soul:
A Writing Guide by Nan Merrick Phifer

“Highlighting the differences between autobiographical writing and memoir writing, Phifer urges amateur writers to write of the “inner life,” or times of “joy or crisis or profound contentment.” She offers a structured, well-organized process for writers to follow, which includes specific exercises, inspiring quotations, and examples of student work from her memoir-writing workshops. . . . This how-to is highly recommended for all public libraries.”
Library Journal

“Memoirs of the Soul goes beyond being a how-to book on memoir writing. It takes you on a journey into your own life that will reveal aspects of your experience you never knew existed. The author gives you all the nuts and bolts—writing prompts, warm-ups, creative exercises . . . but the true gift of the book is the way it introduces you to yourself.”
—Jane Tompkins, Ph.D.

Whether or not you are writing a memoir or fiction, the exercises in Memoirs of the Soul will challenge you to write with more depth, more sense of place, more feeling and will give your writing an emotional impact that it lacked before.”
Writers NW

“Her carefully phrased prompts, instructions, and examples ask writers to begin at the surface of their existence and to burrow deeper and deeper into their hearts and minds. With each chapter, she challenges would-be memoirists to take another step inward, to inch closer to their own souls. In many ways, Phifer’s book is like a deep-sea diving expedition—or an archeological dig—where the depth of the self is revealed layer by layer, league by league, chapter by chapter.”
—Professor W. Keith Duffy
Assistant Professor of Humanities and Writing at Penn State Capital College

“Many emerging memoirists have trouble getting to the core of their stories. Memoirs of the Soul will be forever on my recommended lists for them and for more advanced writers who simply need to be inspired.”
—Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Author and instructor, UCLA Extension Writers’ Program

“Memoirs of the Soul approaches the writing of a spiritual autobiography in an organic, nonlinear way. Rather than simply listing the external events that mark a life in chronological fashion (I was born, I went to school, I got married, went to work,), Memoirs encourages the writer to follow threads of desire, passion, grief, awe, love, and sorrow that make up the spiritual life.”
Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction

“Ordinary people now write their autobiographies as a matter of course, whether for publication or for their families, and Nan Phifer has written a splendid guide. Anyone wishing to delve into spiritual, creative or transformational matters will do well to purchase her book.”
—Linda Hutton
Hutton Publications

“I have no inner life”—“Yes, you do,” Phifer says, and she’s got the idea-generating strategies and writing prompts to prove it.”
The Oregonian

“This useful jewel of a book will enhance both personal growth and writing skills.”
—R. John Allcorn
National Review Network

“I was impressed with this book because it doesn’t just tell how to write a memoir. It helps its readers to explore themselves in such a way their writing gains more depth. It is full of exercises that can increase the vitality and impact of one’s personal writing, and can help one’s writing become more vivid and descriptive. Whether you are a new or an experienced writer, this book is a joy. It will leave you itching to write! ”
—Novice Alicia Kleiman, OSB
Shalom Prayer Center

“This book is exactly what I have been searching for. Thorough, easy to understand, simple steps that have opened up an avenue for writing the stories of my life to leave to my children and grandchildren. Such a find – feel like I don’t need any other writing help book. Thank you Nan Phifer.”

“It is a how-to guide on writing that is also an escort for the great voyage of the soul. It reminds me of the examen process of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Simple, profound, and pathway to living a life of wholeness and balance.”
—Nancy Gallagher
Tune In!

“When I first picked up Nan’s book and began flipping through the pages, my imme­diate reaction was, “I wish I’d had this book decades ago, when I first decided I wanted to be an author.” Here are the essentials, all that’s needed for the foundation upon which to build a memoir or autobiography. This is a nuts-and-bolts sort of book that, like a great tour guide, points a finger and says, ‘Look right there! Do you see that little wrin­kle on the waves?’ And there, moments later, the whale breaches and you are thrilled. “
—Hal Zina Bennett
Write From the Heart and Write Starts

“The heart of the book consists of twenty four short chapters, which provide step-by-step strategies to help you begin, persist, and complete the process of moving to the center of your “spiritual labyrinth” by undertaking the project of writing the memoir of your journey. . . . . Although I usually find “how to” books tedious at best, I found this book so animated and evocative, I am seriously thinking about embarking on the voyage.”
—G. Richard Wheatcroft
The Center for Progressive Christianity

“Memoirs of the Soul encourages you to write about the times of wonder in your life: your strength, creativity, resilience and moments of transformation. Doing so will allow you to breathe new life into personal memories, stimulate spiritual growth and develop profound connections to the special places and people that have touched your heart.”
Family Chronicle

“Nan Phifer’s book has one major problem—the title. Though technically correct, it leads bookstores and libraries to place her book in their spiritual or inspirational sections. Once you open the covers of this book, you’ll realize it is a book for writers—all writers.”
The Senior Times

“Excellent guide if you have a personal story to tell. Author leads you through your life to discover aspects of experiences you have forgotten. Offers instruction, examples, writing exercises. Helpful also if you write other people’s life stories.”
Freelance Writer’s Report

“Memoirs of the Soul offers inspiration for self-reflection, whether one currently has the time to write or not. Phifer also offers suggestions on how this book can be used by one person, partners in writing, or in a group workshop setting.”
Spiritual Woman Newsletter

“In Phifer’s book, the promise is that one will discover the most important goals of one’s life, one’s strengths and commitment to reach these goals, and a new sense of integration. According to Phifer, writing about one’s spiritual life is a great adventure, one that facilitates open communication and an unsurpassed intimacy.”
The Positive Aging Newsletter

“Memoirs of the Soul by Nan Phifer is a must read for soul-searching through writing. As a librarian of twenty-five plus years, I perused, read, and reviewed hundreds of books on writing. Coming upon Nan’s book I was thrilled because it stood out. ”
—Leonard B. Felkey
Librarian and author

“[The] chapters, each with several writing prompts, encourage you to gradually go deeper into your psyche. The end result is a picture of not only the person you were, but also the person you have become.”
—Judith Helburn
Story Circle Network

“. . . So what makes this book different from all those other books out there? This author focuses on the writer getting to know themselves- as she says the “inner” you. There are thirty detailed chapters in this book which range from learning about the real you, which include all the feelings and emotions you have experienced, to who you can become.

“The author writes with clarity, is very detailed and you can hear the passion in her voice. In addition, she provides examples of others’ writing that is not only inspirational, but thought-provoking. Each chapter builds on the previous one and as you write you will find you have more than enough material to include.

“There are sections on proof-reading, rough drafts and having others read what you have written. Not only is this guide, “Memoirs of the Soul,” a tool for writing, it also is very therapeutic.”
–Carol Hoyer, PhD
Reader Views

“This book draws writers with soft encouragement and leads by respectful urging to the edge of remembrance. Then the prompts say, ‘Jump!’ and writers leap off a cliff into a vivid reliving of past experiences, which write themselves onto the page.”
—José McCarthy

“Memoirs by definition tend to be rote and rife with nothing but facts and places. This publication… helps you put a perspective on your life you may not have known existed. This book also provides the tools to begin writing your own memoir from a more ‘whole’ place.”
—Ann Downing
Sumi-e artist

Memoirs of the Soul: A Writing Guide by Nan Merrick Phifer (Ingot Press, 2010) provides a non-chronological guide to writing about one’s life in a way that makes it a record of one’s spiritual journey and makes the writing of it a spiritual experience. The author is interested not so much in an autobiographical record, but is interested in “the hours and minutes that are keen in our lives–the times when we are most alive, when experiences penetrate to the quick. In these moments we define ourselves; the ways we respond reveal our souls.” Each chapter contains warm-up writing prompts, longer writing prompts and examples and has suggestions for use in a group or with a writing partner. An excellent resource for individuals or groups who are willing to make a commitment to writing and reflecting on their lives.
–Nancy Gordon
Director of California Lutheran Homes Center for Spirituality and Aging

“The lessons are often deep, and you may find out a lot more about yourself than what you set out to do.”
—Kathleen Spring
Director, Writing Retreats for the Mind & Spirit

“How to write our stories from the depths of the soul is the subject of this book. The book works like a guide, systematically and logically presenting the steps of organizing one’s thoughts and setting them to paper.”
The Flame

“Nan Phifer, a gifted writer and teacher, provides a myriad of well-organized progressive steps and visual tools . . . Memoirs of the Soul is a must for those wishing to see and appreciate their unique and divine contribution. ”
—Sarah Miller
Unity of the Valley Bookstore
Eugene, Oregon