Harnessing the Transformative Power of a Writer’s Retreat

Deutsch: Retreat
Deutsch: Retreat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you read or listen to many coaches for authors, you might notice them saying the same thing.

The first purpose of inspirational writing is to change yourself.

You may or may not agree with that idea, but you probably have noticed that often when we teach something to someone else, we are the ones who learn the most.  Personally, I have always found any kind of writing to be transformational.  Even writing computer user guides can teach you something about writing.

The process of organizing our thoughts or simply writing them, at the very least lets us know what our thoughts are.  Sometimes when we’re lucky, our writing creates beauty and wisdom and inspiration for others.

Most of all, writing is a form of self-expression.  What else could we be put upon this earth to do, if it is not to share our best self?  If writing calls to you, why not see where yours will take you this summer in an even more concentrated way and take part in a writer’s retreat?

You may already be planning on attending a writer’s retreat or creating your own.  Whether your retreat is 15 minutes or the whole summer, give yourself the chance to learn, grow and explore your unique self that you’re expressing.

In the next few posts, I’m going to offer some ideas on how to increase the expression of your self in a self-driven writer’s retreat. You deserve something that goes beyond your typical routine with writing and you can do that on your own.  However, if you want to include other writers, that’s great too!

Had you planned on giving yourself the gift of a writer’s retreat this season or this year?

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Do you have a Mastermind group for your Writing and Life?

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’ve heard me talk about how much I like Jen Louden and her various coaching programs.  I don’t get any affiliate marketing from that, I just like what she does.

Well, she’s offering a new course on creating Mastermind groups, and wanted to let you know about.  In case you’re not familiar with mastermind groups, Growandimprove.com defines a mastermind group as a small group that you meet with for the purpose of reinforcing growth and success while offering support to one another; a group that has been identified and set aside to concentrate specifically on growth and manifesting success in the following areas; finances, spirituality, relationships, …

Do any of you use mastermind groups for moving forward with your life, writing, etc.?

I’ve been part of group coaching programs several times in my life and found them very helpful, but haven’t really embraced the Mastermind idea.  I’ve always counted on friends for the purpose of life support, career ideas, etc.

Jen Louden’s latest class is making me consider that it might be time to create or join a Mastermind group for my life and writing goals.

If you have time, check out this video:

Here are a few notes (in Evernote of course) I took from the interview in case you don’t have the time now.

#1 point – you can’t succeed alone.  You need a group.

You’re in a group to serve, as much as be served.  Learn by serving other people.
  • People you respect in your soul group
  • People you love
  • Support books that you love
  • Share ideas but detached with how people accept it
  • Be generous
  • Be vulnerable
  • How can I save you time, money
  • How to make money the fastest
  • Tell you what you’re good at
  • Point out your personal twitches or continuing patterns, etc or I smell a wombat — I’m not supporting your loser habit
  • Leave feeling more like yourself but have more actionables
  • Face forward
  • Respect everyone else’s time
  • Power of being witnessed – see loving nods

Friends can provide some of this but it seems like many of us need more than that kind of support. You might not call your support group, a MasterMind.  I don’t particularly like that name.  But maybe it’s time to consider creating a group of your own, possibly with Jen Louden’s class.

Love to hear about your experience with Mastermind groups!

Energy Booster for Writers

writing (Photo credit: found_drama)

This is the final post in my current series of blogs about taking the brakes off of your personal energy and innate goodness.

Today, I am sharing ideas about why it matters for writers to understand our personal energy, and to be aware of the type of energy that we’re putting into our writing.

Nowadays, most of us are bombarded with information and writing that is packed with different kinds of energy.

Some communications are uplifting, funny and inspiring.  Others are angry, demeaning, fearful.  Of course, many pieces of writing are boring because the energy of emotion is not present in them at all!

Your writing has an energy to it that often reflects the kind of day that you’re having.  This doesn’t mean you should only write when your energy is “good”. Sometimes, the “negative” energy is just what a story needs to create drama and interest.  So, it’s not necessary that your energy becomes all sunshine and roses.  However, it’s helpful to track your energy over the course of time to notice how the type of energy you are experiencing and creating affects your writing.

south to north view of chicagoland area
south to north view of chicagoland area (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Energy Boosters for Writers worksheet is something I’m putting together for my 7 Elixirs class for Writers that I’ll going to be offering this fall in the Chicago area.  It’s based on the writing coaching work that I’ve done in the last few years.

I’ve noticed that finishing projects often requires that we manage our energy for the toughest part of writing which is when we are refining our work.  This is the time when we throw out good and sometimes great ideas for the sake of a story or grant application or marketing brochure or memoir.

This worksheet may not make complete sense, because it’s out of context to the rest of the course that I’ll be giving.  Yet, I’m sharing it anyway because it’s rather self-explanatory, and shows you a different way of managing your time and energy in conjunction with your writing.

Energy Booster for Writers Worksheet

Hope you’ve enjoyed this series of blogs!  Tomorrow, we’ll be back to some literary musings.

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How Do Your Characters Handle Pain?

Today about five minutes before my cardio workout at the gym was to end, I started feeling a pain in my left foot. My first inclination was to push through the pain.  I was feeling so proud of myself for being disciplined enough to add more exercise to my life.  I knew it was just a normal blister, nothing special.   Yet, dealing with this little pain got me to thinking about the idea of necessary and unnecessary pain in our lives and creative writing.

Let’s face it, pain is part of life.

Our creative writing generally needs to reflect this truth, or our stories ending up feeling flat or unreal. There are many times in life that we literally have to push through physical pain, and it helps a story when characters experience the normal pains of life.

It’s also helpful to examine the unnecessary pain in our stories.  This is often the kind of pain that leads to the biggest tragedies and sometimes the biggest humor.  From Macbeth’s unnecessary ambition to Lucy and Ethel on TV shoving chocolates in their mouth in the candy factor, the choices of our characters in avoiding pain, especially mental pain, can help us to define our stories.

One of the benefits of a novel is the way in which a longer story can engage with both necessary and unnecessary pain.  Yet, a great short story or poem can also deal with this very important subject.

Here are a few questions to get you thinking about the expression of pain in your writing:

  1. Are your characters in pain because it is the natural or wise thing to embrace pain?
  2. Is there is a place in your story where the characters are pushing through or creating pain unnecessarily?
  3. Do you eliminate pain too quickly in your stories?
  4. Is there too much pain in your novel that also makes it unrealistic?
  5. Are your characters addicted to pain?
  6. Are there any characters that are destined for pain?
  7. How do you typically “resolve” pain in your stories?

Tomorrow, we’ll look at understanding how your characters deals with pain, can help you to structure your stories and writing more effectively in general.