Shush! Writing!!!


“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” 
~ Rumi

It’s too late to back away from this memoir now. I’ve started this final rewrite.

I’ve peeled apart my old drafts and stuck sticky notes all over them. I’ve crossed out whole sections, entire chapters. On some pages I’ve simply drawn a big red question mark with a Sharpie pen to indicate that I had only given you the facts, not the truth. They are the pages I despise the most because of what they are waiting for me to say.

I have boldy written a list of all the things I am TERRIFIED to share out loud. None of which were in any of the previous eight drafts.

I tacked it above my writing desk where it challenges me to keep writing whenever I falter and look for an easier path.

F*ck. I hate this.

(I’ve actually screamed that out loud on more than one occasion so far and I’m only mere pages into this new draft. It’s not that I hate the writing, or even the story. I hate that I am making myself so uncomfortable, so exposed, so… ugh, it makes me sick to write this truth and to let it stand there all alone on the page.)

Anyway, I have no more time to devote to the blog this morning. I must write.

I must.

I know you understand.

All my love, Nicole ❤ xx

PS. I still hate this…

Humble Thank-Yous


“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” ~ Elbert Hubbard

Hey, Lovelies.

I just wanted to thank you for the outpouring of support and love that you showed me yesterday when I updated you on why I’ve been so stuck with my memoir.

Not long after I posted my blog Facebook brought up a memory from six years ago for me to look at. It was a flock of Black Cockatoos that I had photographed as they flew over our farm. And most of you will know that Auntie always promised me her mob would show up as Black Cockatoos when they had a message for me or to keep an eye on me.

Later in the day they turned up in person, roosting in the hoop pines and calling loudly to me and to one another.

I took all of these things as strong signs that I need to bravely press on and just keep on writing til this story is done.

Thanks again. Your support means the world to me. It can get very lonely on this side of the screen, and your responses really helped remind me of WHY I am writing this book,

Biggest love and hugs, Nicole ❤ xx

PS – the short video below is for anyone who doesn’t know these beautiful birds and their haunting cries.

Book and Course Creation Boot Camp – NOW OPEN!

Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.
~ Albert Einstein

 

Do you want to write a book*, create a course, build an author or brand platform and generate content or blog posts? (*Non-fiction books will work well, you could even be working on a fiction project and author platform but this is NOT the course if you are looking for guidance to write the world’s next great literary novel!)

This Bootcamp is designed to get you out of stuckness or apathy and into action. 

Who doesn’t love a Bootcamp! Unlike courses that drag out, this one is delivered over two punchy weekends that will get you working, creating and completing so that you can have real results by the end of our time together.

The entire course will be recorded, so if you can’t make a live session you can catch up in your own time – but as much as possible we recommend working along with us over the allocated times so that you actually GET THE WORK DONE!

I’ll be working right alongside you as I create a book and course of my own, and I’ll be showing you the inside workings of my own processes, as well as sharing information I have paid other mentors tens of thousands of dollars to learn from the best!

You’ll also get worksheets, a done-for-you book template, and the opportunity to ask questions about your own specific project.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a clear idea yet. Part of the preparation process will help you to choose an idea and find the right title/name/subject matter too!

This course will suit you if you want to start or revitalise a blog and generate blog posts and articles, and build an author platform. It will also work for you if you want to write a book to promote your work or to sell as a solution for your target audience and their problems. We’ll also be looking at how to turn your ideas and content into online courses and other offers, such as coaching or sessions with you – or other things that support the growth of your business and/or brand.

Once you have your course or book outline and your blog themes and ideas, we will look at what is needed to market your work, to build your audience, and to improve the flow of traffic to your website or blog. I’ll help you with copywriting, social media support and the structure of your marketing tools.

The format of the bootcamp is that I will give you information via live or pre-recorded webinars and videos that have an accompanying workbook. Once you’ve watched the video you have homework to complete before the next video begins. If you keep up with the work by the end of this bootcamp you’ll have a clear outline and be on your way to having written your book, course, or blogs, and you’ll have a clear marketing strategy to reach your audience, build traffic and a database of names, and a process for getting sales and followers.

The course runs over the following dates (all times are Brisbane, Australia):

1. Saturday 1 September – one hour at 10am to get you started on your preparation work. This is where I’ll show you how to figure out what you can write about, teach or create. The call will be recorded if you can’t make it, and so you can watch it back at your leisure as many times as you want. We’ll also be doing a repeat of this live prep call on Sunday 16th September at 11am if you didn’t make the first call and have questions (or if you are someone who leaves your prep til the last minute!)
2. Friday 21 September – 7.30pm – 60 minutes of preparation to write your book or course outline (or blog themes) and a Q and A session.
3. Saturday 22 September – You’ll be creating your outlines using self-paced instructional videos throughout the day – work through these at your leisure. We’ll kick off with a live webinar to explain the activities for the day at 8am.
4. Sunday 23 September – we’ll have three live webinars at 10am, 12pm and 4pm. Today we’ll be focusing on crafting your offer, and why you need more than one offer. This means I’ll be showing you how to sell without selling or being pushy. If you are writing blogs we’ll also be talking about how to monetise them and why you need to!
5. Saturday October 13 – We’ll have three live webinars today at 9am, 12pm and 4pm. These will be focusing on building your marketing skills and helping you to develop a marketing strategy for your book, course, blogs or other offers. Today we’ll look at finding your voice, social media, SEO, and Traffic Generation.
6. Sunday October 14 – We’ll have three live webinars again today. Our focus for the last day of bootcamp is building out your offers, using hashtags, simple emails, posts and challenges to generate excitement, and when to use PR to build your buzz and get you additional exposure.

Once you purchase your ticket you’ll be emailed a link to join the course.

Click HERE to explore the course!

I’ll see you there. Much love and excitement, Nicole ❤ xx

Up Late, Writing

“Listen.
I will lose myself
if it means I can find you.” 
Alaska Gold

 

I didn’t mean to do it.

I meant to open up one folder, to check one fact, on one page, and to add one small note that was in danger of being forgotten if I didn’t immediately write it down.

I’m meant to be finishing the edits on the last three chapters of my memoir right now. I’m meant to be getting ready for my August retreat. I’m meant to be finishing the content for my new website. I’m meant to be catching up on sleep.

So it was only going to be one thing captured on paper. Not even proper writing. Just the recording of a small idea…

I sat down a little before 9pm to write that simple thing before I went to bed. A simple thing about a dragon and a sister who loved her missing brother very much and could not give up on him.

At 2am I looked up again and half the night had flown.

The fire had burned to cold ashes while I had been traversing volcanoes, diving with mermaids, flying through the night sky on the back of a winged beast, and engaging in acts of espionage and treachery.

My skin was goosefleshed and my feet were icy bricks.

My cheeks were streaked with tears, and there were three new chapters on the screen in front of me.

I didn’t mean to do it. But I am glad I did!

This writer’s life is such a glorious adventure.

Much love to you, Nicole ❤  xx

Sometimes You Need Right Timing

“Sometimes my successes come quickly and at other times they are terribly slow to arrive. It is not my place to determine the speed at which they arrive or if they arrive at all. My place is to keep forging ahead no matter what.” 
Craig D. Lounsbrough

If you follow my blog you’ll know that I’ve been working on my memoir for a while now. I started it after many of you asked me to keep telling the story of my time in the Kimberley and of my Aboriginal Aunties.

I’m up to my eighth draft now, and I’m fairly sure this will be my final one. This week while I’m mostly in bed recovering from the flu I am making these last few changes. I’d been hoping to be working on it at a writers retreat this week, but I didn’t make the final cut. I would have been too sick to go anyway. Funny, that.

I’ve tried to get this thing out into the world a few times now, and it has never flown. Each time, after the rejection, I have let it sit for a while and then have reworked it. Each time it has changed quite dramatically.

I’d decided that no matter what happened with this latest opportunity that I would complete the draft and then send it on. When I began this latest edit a few days ago I was sure I knew what my story was about, what the themes were and what needed to be changed. And then I had a discussion with my sister. As we talked about family and history I suddenly understood that this draft was missing a major message – something one of those wise Aboriginal women had shared with me which had changed everything I thought about myself. I saw that if it could change everything for me it would do the same for many of you. Some truths are universal like that.

If this draft had not been delayed I would never have reached that critical realisation.

So I’m trusting in right timing. I’m trusting that every rejection and hold-up was needed to shape the story it will become. I’m trusting that very soon it will be time for this story to be born into the world.

Has that ever happened to you? That the timing was all wrong until suddenly it was right. Looking back you knew that every disappointment was okay because now you were exactly where you needed to be.

I’m so looking forward to sharing my story with you. Wish me luck as I labour through these last changes!

Much love to you, Nicole  xx

This Blog Post Is Very Short

“There are days when I lose track of time, of place, of everything else, because I’ve been transported to another universe.” ~ Susan Isaacs

 

I sat down to write my blog post, and then, just for a moment, I opened up the document where I am editing my memoir instead.

Three hours later I looked up and realised that I had been completely lost in my story. No time left for blogging!

Sorry about that.

It’s delicious though, isn’t it, to lose track of time like that doing something that you love?

What can you lose yourself in today?

I promise to have a more worthy offering for you tomorrow.

Much love, a slightly distracted Nicole  xx

Chop Wood, Carry Water, then Surf the Net!

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“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” ~ Zen Buddhism quote

“When hungry, eat your rice; when tired close your eyes. Fools may laugh at me, but wise men will know what I mean.” ~ Zen Buddhism quote

 

It has been a frustrating week.

Due to a faulty landline I’ve had no phone or internet connection at the farm, unless I hiked up the hill behind the house with my iPhone.

At first I was angry. It’s a situation that has been dragging on for almost three years, with our landline slowly deteriorating until every phone call became a lesson in frustration due to static and poor line quality. (And our internet runs off this line too!) The telco kept sending technicians, and the phone would work a little better for a while, and then decline again. Until finally it broke altogether.

This week while they worked on our line I wondered what I would do. No amount of wishing was going to give me an ability to be online.

So in the end I drew on the wisdom of my favourite Zen quotes.

I rested.

I did laundry and actually folded it and put it away.

I planted things and tended my garden.

I tidied.

I wrote. So many words.

We did yard jobs. We chopped wood, and carried water to the plants where the hose doesn’t reach.

2016-05-06 15.58.14

Life became so much simpler when I stopped struggling against the things I couldn’t change and chose to be in the moment instead.

It was peaceful.

There was also something freeing about being so much less available, once I let go of the stress of no longer being in control.

But now the line is fixed. I am reconnected with the world. My internet is fast and my phone line is clear. So exciting!!!

And we have enough wood cut and stacked to see us through the winter.

2016-05-06 15.58.472016-05-06 15.59.14

 

 

A Life Examined – On Memoir Writing

Image by Anna from flickr via Wikipedia

Image by Anna from flickr via Wikipedia

“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”
~ Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

“From the ages of 8-18, me and my family moved around a lot. Mostly we would just stretch, but occasionally one of us would actually get up to go to the fridge.”
~ Jarod Kintz

 

This past weekend, unexpectedly, I was holed up in bed recovering from a nasty infection. I’d planned a million things for my weekend, but ended up doing nothing much except thinking and reading.

I’m revising my memoir right now. It’s my One Big Thing for 2016 – to have it completed and submitted to an agent or publishing house.

I remember when I began this wretched tome. How hard can it be, I said to myself. Writing about yourself has to be easier than writing fiction. You already have the story line and all you need to do is put words on the page.

I thought I could knock it over in three months.

Be warned, my friends. That is delusional thinking. This is my third year of effort, on the back of a lifetime of diaries and scribblings and, more recently, blog posts. I have come to discover that memoir means agony. It means the constant overturning of stones under which you’d preferred not to look. It means stripping your own skin – at turns with a blunt butter knife or a cheese grater. It means scrubbing back the tidy stories we tell ourselves in order to come to a deeper truth.

This is my fifth draft, and finally I feel that I am getting somewhere.  I believe I am writing now with a voice closer to my own (rather than a story voice – in the way that some people have a phone voice), and distilling experiences into clean and beautiful elixirs or poisons, depending on the circumstances.

Sounds awful doesn’t it?

And yet…

Through the process of writing this memoir I have come to see my life more clearly and to know myself more deeply. I have crashed through limited thinking and found grace and compassion for myself and others. I have excised meanness and victim-thinking and blame from my pages and from my mind. I’ve healed old hurts. I’ve found me. I’ve learned to love me, flaws and all. I’ve learned to love others in ways I’d given up on as impossible.

I hope, one day soon, to be able to share my story with you. More importantly, I hope to encourage any of you seeking to use part of your own life for writing and self-examination. Memoir is soul work. Our own story, examined, is a great teacher. Through sharing our stories we connect, one to another.

Image from pinterest

Image from pinterest

 

Home In My Own Bed!

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“I live in my own little world. But it’s ok, they know me here.”
~ Lauren Myracle

 

There is something so sweet and good about sleeping in your own bed after a long time away.

It’s a little crowded just now though. Harry and Bert refuse to leave my side. Not that I’m complaining. 🙂

The two weeks of rest is going well. I have napped and ready many books. I have sipped cups of tea from bed, and coloured picture books as a mindful meditation. Or just for fun.

My mind, free to roam, has surprised me with little extra treats and ideas for my end of year retreat, and for all kinds of other wonderful offerings. I love being able to be in a space of dreaming and creativity – and for me that process seems to work best when I am in my pyjamas. (Hooray for no more breezy hospital gowns!)

I’m doing really well, and the trick now is to keep resting and not overdoing it. (This is always the hard part for me. Do you find resting hard too?) Mind you, it’s challenging to overdo things when you are pinned to the bed by two loyal dogs, and you have a husband and a personal assistant who lovingly growl if I even look like doing anything workish.

Today I’m working on my pirates and fairies story, mapping out adventures and filling in some details about important things for this world I’m creating in my head. Of course that will be interspersed between more naps and cups of tea and cuddles with my boys. Probably my most important story development will happen in my dreams!

Please know that I’m sending you all lots of love. Of course you’re included in my healing meditations each morning and night. Thank you too, for all the healing, love and well wishes you’ve sent me. It has helped heaps!

Hugs and love and all that good stuff, Nicole <3 xoxo

What Else Can You See?

Image courtesy of Chris Dryden

Image courtesy of Chris Dryden – who is the awesome star of this shot, and also, my friend!

“To acquire knowledge, one must study;
but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.”
~ Marilyn Vos Savant

 

A wise and talented memoirist and creative writing teacher, Beth Kephart, has her students do an exercise where they go out into the world and take ten photographs.

The students know they are going to come back into the classroom and write about those photos. I bet they are already thinking about the clever things they will say as they snap off their shots.

But then she has them do something unexpected. She asks them to disregard the main object in focus, and instead look into the background. What’s there, she asks. What are you missing? What are you not seeing? How does that inform your subject? How does that influence your story?

In editing my own memoir, I took Beth’s advice. As I read through my finished draft I saw how Lyme disease was threaded strongly though the background, even though my focus is on my psychic awakening. I knew I needed to bring a little more attention and detail to this background thread. I also saw my insecurities, twinkling there like stars. The same insecurities I deal with twenty-five years after the fact. Hmmmm….

We can learn much from those background details. It can completely change our story.

I love my friend Chris Dryden’s photo of him jumping over a car on his skateboard, back in the day. It is such a strong image. But when you look into the background two things stand out. Chris is doing something amazing, and the guy in the blue shirt has totally missed it. The Charleston x-ray clinic stands watch too. The perfect destination for any skatie who doesn’t quite make that tricky jump. I laughed and laughed when I finally noticed that.

What’s going on for you right now? What details in the background of your life deserve some attention? How might they change your unfolding story? What things do you want to bring from fuzzy into focused?

It’s a useful exercise for life, as much as for writing.

Much love, Nicole xx

PS – If you are writing memoir I highly recommend Beth Kephart’s book Handling the Truth – on the writing of memoir