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September 19, 2019
Ooof. It's been a while since I blogged, yeah? I've had a fantastic summer. I took a bike trip with my bestie, traveled to France to co-lead a writing retreat, took my kids and nieces to Luxembourg (EU not MN :)) to connect with our ancestral land, led another retreat in Lake Tahoe, and now...now I'm on sabbatical. I'm looking at eight months of writing and reading. It's thrilling and terrifying, having all this time.
I'm not complaining, mind you. It's just that as the Queen of Busy, my self-care skills have dwindled over the years. I've always stayed in motion as a reaction to childhood trauma. It's a common response. Those of us who felt unsafe as kids often grow up to be adults who appear super-successful on the outside. It looks like ambition, and some of it is, but some of it's also the fear that the wolves will catch us if we slow down.
Well, the wolves are here as I type, sleeping at my feet, and I'm fine. Better than fine. I get a do-over, in a house where I am safe, with family and friends I can trust. I attribute finding this peace to finally writing through a chunk of the darkness of my childhood in Unspeakable Things, out January 1. I cover this healing process in Rewrite Your Life, but I've gone even deeper with it in my upcoming novel, getting more personal, tackling the really scary stuff.
I'm not going to whitewash it: going deep was emotionally expensive. It cost me a relationship with my mom, dad, and sister, and I've been in a state of grief for the last two years as a result. I wouldn't have chosen that route except that living on the surface--pretending all was fine--was costing me more than I could pay. It's been two long years, but I'm finally waking up from the grief and finding joy in the most unexpected places. I'm also, for the first time in my life, really getting to know myself. Yikes and whee.
Now that my faculties are returning, I want to pay it forward as a thanks to all those who've supported me through this crazy couple years. The start is developing a new workshop. Here's the official description:
Crack the Sea
Turn Your Secrets into Fiction and Set Yourself Free
"Many of us carry family secrets and personal shame, believing either that we’re the only ones or that the cost of telling our story is too high. We become locked in this frozen sea, trapped by the truths we don’t speak. Fiction provides an out. It allows us to release our secrets without anyone knowing.
Not only is the process healing and the source of powerful fiction, it improves the world: once we break free of the frozen sea, cracks start feathering out, making it easier for others to do the same. Join bestselling author, teacher, and TEDx presenter Jess Lourey to learn how to turn your own experiences into healing fiction. This is a hands-on workshop, so come with something to write with and on."
I'll be leading this workshop at Modernwell in Minneapolis on Thursday, January 9, at 7:00 pm. Then, on January 10, I'll be launching Unspeakable Things at Once Upon a Crime at 7:00 pm. There will be cake, wine, and '80s-themed prizes because we all need more play. I hope you'll join me at one or both! More information to come.
p.s. If you ever want signed copies of any of my books, shoot an email to Once Upon a Crime at email@example.com and let them know which books. I'll sign them, and they'll ship them to you.
March 29, 2019
Hello, folks! If you haven't heard, I'm leading two writing retreats for women this year, a writing retreat in France this June and a writing retreat in Lake Tahoe this August, with the Lake Tahoe retreat offering a seminar on how to publish your book. I realize a writing retreat is an investment in time and money, so my co-leader Allison and I wrote this article that discusses why we think writing retreats are THE BEST.
Top Five Reasons to Go on a Writing Retreat
You’ve always wanted to be a writer. You have a head or notebook full of ideas, you read stories or watch movies and feel inspired, maybe you’ve even started your own article, short story, novel, or memoir. But then you get stopped somewhere short of your dream. You tell yourself you don’t have the skill or the time, and that maybe someday…
Or possibly you’ve never seriously considered being an author, but you know you want more creativity in your life, more balance. You want to see the world and join a community of like-minded women interested in laughter, personal growth, and good food. Plus, you suspect you’ve got some stories to tell but aren’t quite sure if anyone else would be interested in them…
If either of these resonates with you, here’s why signing up for a writer’s retreat might be just what the Fates ordered:
You’ll refine your writing craft – Any good writing retreat will meet each participant where they’re at as a writer and take them to the next level. Whether you’re a beginner or have several publications under your belt, there is much to learn about writing, and we can’t learn it all at once. At any one point, we are at different places with refining our story, whether conceptualizing it, writing it, editing it or polishing it. In short, we all have stuff to learn about writing.
You’ll explore the world on an intelligent vacation – A writing retreat is a fabulous way to visit a new location that’s been chosen for its inspirational setting. A well-curated writing retreat guides you to connect with your surroundings on a deep level, to draw nourishment and creativity from them, and to take that sense of exploration and peace home with you. Plus, you’ll get to stay in glorious villas that you may not otherwise be able to.
You’ll make serious progress on your writing project – Writing a book requires dedicated mental space and a container of time. A writing retreat will give you a structured place to write so that your project will advance and all those exciting storylines will be created. Also, not only will the writing retreats leader(s) give you great feedback on your storyline, the other participants will be hearing about your writing project and offer you assistance as well.
You’ll have new writing buddies to champion you – Face it: writing can be a lonely business. However, at a writing retreat, most of the participants will be on the same wavelength as you, interested in making serious progress on their project. You’ll share a lot with these new friends, praising or complaining about the lodging, food and writing instruction, discussing the innermost secrets of your characters, working through plot snarls. This intense bonding means that many of you will stay in contact for years.
A writing retreat is an investment, one that will pay you dividends for the rest of your life. We still have a few spots available in our writing retreat in France this June as well as our writing retreat in California this August! The California writing retreat offers a special session on how to publish your book. Register today to hold your seat.