When last did you tell your story?
-Native American question when someone is ill
Have you always wanted to write?
Do you long to put words on a page and bring a story you’ve been holding in the cradle of your heart to life on the page?
Do you love the way words wrap their arms around a thought or feeling, and hold it steady?
So many of us long to create this way. So few of us ever actually do.
We’re too busy looking after others. We don’t have the time. We don’t know how to start. Who’d be interested in anything we have to say anyway? Our lives are nothing special, we’re just ordinary. What if we have no talent? Who do we think we are, wanting to write?We’re afraid it will be terrible, that people will laugh, that we’ll be humiliated, that it will never get finished, or published or read by anyone…what were we thinking?
So another year goes by when we don’t invest in ourselves or our dreams.
But still… there’s that little whisper inside us that keeps annoying us, reminding us, ‘I’m still here… don’t forget about me…’
I know just how you feel. I’ve walked that path too.
Now when someone says ‘I’m not a writer,’ I know that like me all those years ago, they just haven’t taken the risk that could turn that around.
So how about it? What if you just ignored those voices inside you, trying to keep you small, stifled, comfortable, and ‘in your place’?
What if you decided to honour that part of yourself? What if you put yourself first and invested in your dreams? (Even if you think they’re ‘silly’ – they are still YOUR dreams).
Those who wait are waiters.
Those who write, are writers.
I turn waiters into writers.
Because there is nothing more beautiful than witnessing someone find her voice, her passion and the language to share it.
Why not come with me to Fiji in April 2017 for an experience that will transform all you believe about what you are capable of achieving with your writing?
You will leave with words on the page, a map of the next steps to take, a deep connection to why you’re writing and a bonfire in your heart that’s been waiting for you to light it.
*inside your head* … But Joanne, I’ve never actually written before…
Fabulous, I’ll show you where and how to start. All you need is the desire to write. I can’t give you that. The craft of writing, well, that’s what I know and that’s what I’ll share.
What if, I … suck at it? What if I’m really really bad at writing? Will you tell me?
I don’t really know what it means to be ‘bad at writing,’ in the same way that it’s hard to be ‘bad at life.’ I can show you how to take your thoughts and feelings and work them onto the page so that they become a story that you might like to share with others. I can teach you what makes a piece of writing ‘work’ and what weakens a piece of writing. Sound good?
I will never ever tell you that your writing sucks. I might say, ‘that’s a cliché, let’s find a fresher way to express that,’ or ‘your tenses are muddled here, let’s even them out,’ or ‘I didn’t really understand what you meant here, can we unpack it so that it’s clear to the reader.’
Does that mean I have to read my writing out aloud? In front of others?
No-one ‘has to’, but here’s the deal – by the end of the week, I guarantee, you’ll want to. Why? Because the space is a non-judgemental, loving, supportive environment and if it doesn’t feel this way to you, please let me know. I strictly set the boundaries on how feedback is given. It’s not just a free-for-all. I treat everyone’s writing as sacred and the act of sharing our writing should free us, not censor us.
I’ve tried writing before, but I didn’t finish it because I thought it was rubbish, or I felt like there was no point.
Oh, I know that feeling well. There are so many aspects to writing I wish I’d had a grip on much earlier on in my writing career. I’ve had to learn through my mistakes. Now I feel like I deeply understand this process – and am on intimate terms with the fears, insecurities, resistance and obstacles that imperil its path. There’s no need for you to struggle like I did. Writing is hard enough – we can all do with the support and assistance of others who have walked that road. A few shortcuts never hurt, right?
And besides, if you think you might write rubbish….
But I don’t really know what I want to write about…
That’s perfectly okay. Like dreams, our stories emerge when we rest into them and allow them to come through us. My retreats are designed to help you dream up your stories, and ask all the questions you need to ask so that you can write with confidence and clarity.
Okay, so what actually happens on a writer’s retreat?
For five days, you will have the TIME, FOCUS and SUPPORT you need to work on your writing, whether it is still just an idea, a work-in-progress or a draft. My focus will be to create and hold a safe space for you while you do.
You get five morning power workshops with me as your guide – that’s 10 000 hours of my writing experience in twenty hours of your time (I save you years of hassle, research and trial-and-error learning).
You escape from your life for five perfect days, where it is all about you and only you – no guilt, no cooking, no distractions that pull you away from your writing.
You have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to commit to the writing process – which, as you know, in turn inspires the universe to open up new possibilities for you.
You get a workbook of materials it has taken me ten years of teaching and reading to accumulate (it’s the distillation of hundreds of books I’ve read on the writing process).
Gawd that sounds like so much work. When do we get to chill out?
You have most afternoons free to write, walk, snorkel, swim, sleep or lie in a hammock. Entirely up to you. Do whatever you need to support yourself and your writing (which sometimes means leaving it alone for a while).
We also meet for cocktails before the lighting of the torches in the early evening. And, you have a complimentary spa session at Wananavu which you can take up anytime.
What can I expect at the end of the five days?
Your writing will undergo an exponential transformation (you might too).
Why do you run these retreats? What do you get out of it?
At a certain point, when you’ve ‘been there, done that’ and have achieved your own goals, you want to share what you know with others. I’ve written and published more than enough books – for now. And then a few years ago, one of my dearest friends Emma, died tragically. For years, I couldn’t write. Grief got in the way. The only way I knew I could be of service or value, was to teach others how to write.
So I began to take women on writing retreats. I also discovered that watching people claim their stories and being witness to their transformations made me so happy. It gave my life meaning.
Whatever we do not share or give away, is lost. As humans, I often think we make the mistake of thinking we are here for ourselves. We are here as ourselves, but we are here for each other.
So, let me look after you for six days.
I know just what writers need: we need to be left alone, but not to feel alone (we can get very lonely).
We need inspiration without distraction (we are easily side-tracked).
We need other people to worry about our meals (food is a form of procrastination), and we need spaces that invite us to think and feel deeply (writers are moody and introspective).
We need support and a hand at our back; someone who believes in us and our ability and a map of how to get to where we’re going and a guide who’s traveled the path before and knows how to get there…
My job is to:
- bring you to the perfect space in which all these conditions can be met;
- get you past your own self-doubt and into solid self-belief;
- help you find your unique writing voice;
- teach you to hone your craft – learn the insider writing tricks and techniques to write compelling prose;
- make sure you know what steps you have to take to get your writing project done;
- hold you in a safe space but encourage you to take risks;
- share everything I know about the writing process and the publishing industry;
- stay present with you – wherever you and your story are;
- give you honest, supportive and constructive feedback on your writing…
until… you trust me… you trust yourself … and you trust the process.
Are you ready to walk this path with me?
(I’m so hoping you’ll say YES).
Who should apply?
This is a women’s only retreat. It just seems to work better that way. I give each writer my full attention and focus and am looking to help writers:
* with heart (your story matters to you in a way that feels urgent and passionate);
* who are ready to focus and commit to get their project done;
* who are willing and able to invest emotionally and financially in their writing journey;
* who have a story they’re longing to get out of them.
There are limited places. The application process is simple and involves answering a few questions.
If you’d like to take up my offer of a complimentary 30 minute Discovery Session by Skype or zoom (valued at $375) to discuss your writing project, please email me to set it up firstname.lastname@example.org
There is absolutely no obligation for you to take a spot after a Discovery Session – I have been helped by many generous people in my life and it’s my pleasure to pay it forward.
If you are ready to find the words to inspire, nourish and grow your spirit, I’d love to help you find your wings.