CHOP CHAT COOK – Videos with writing advice and chia pudding recipes!

hqdefault

As the world spins ever deeper into COVID 19 madness (have you got enough toilet paper?) and lockdowns, grab a cup of tea and some chia seeds and have a look at these videos.

Recently my friend, screenwriter and producer Joanne Tindale, invited me to be on her fab cooking and chat show – CHOP CHAT COOK

What fun!! We made chocolate chia pudding and a coconut blueberry chia pudding, as well as talking about lots of different aspects of the writing life. We had a great time making (and eating) the puddings and we cover lots of different hints and tips for people pursuing a career as a writer.

1.

Income Streams in the Gig Economy or Many Fingers Many Pies : )

As every creative artist trying to make a living knows – you can’t put all your eggs in one basket. In this episode I talk about all the different ways I generate an income from writing and writing related activities.

2.

The Healing Power of Story

Over the past few months I’ve been travelling to regional centres across my home state of Queensland running creative writing workshops for Forgotten Australians – people who suffered abuse in institutions and out of home care in their childhoods. I talk with Joanne about why and how this came about and my firm belief in the transformative power of getting your stories out of your head and onto the page – and changing them!

hqdefault

3.

Career Paths to Writing – or how to build your career as a writer.

In this episode we talk about how to build your writing CV and begin to establish yourself as a professional author. Including my 10 POINT PLAN for publishing success.

And just to put a smile on your face- while I’m on a Youtube binge – here’s KC and the Sunshine Band. Get Down Tonight! 

8745987
Come on, get up and dance – shake away the COVID 19 blues!

Stay healthy and strong and write your way through lockdown : )

Lots of love,

Edwina xxx

Last Chance to RELAX AND WRITE in the Mountains!

IMG_3507

Had enough of all the craziness? I know I sure have.

Escape all the madness and find yourself in this picture instead. Come along to my next retreat MARCH 27 – 29 2020 in Highfields. Relax with yoga, get writing with inspiring workshops, and have fun with a group of like-minded creative women.

The whole weekend, including fabulous vegetarian meals, morning and afternoon teas and suppers, rustic accomodation in a beautiful location, 4 creative writing workshops and 2 yoga classes, plus a fun bonfire night, for only $400.

Every activity is totally optional so if you’d rather sleep in than do yoga, or go for a walk than attend a workshop, that’s all perfectly fine. This is YOUR special weekend to reboot. Sleep the whole weekend away if that’s what you need most.

It’s important to me to keep the prices affordable. I know writers mostly aren’t flash with cash. The workshops, fun and people however are TOP CLASS 🙂

So what are you waiting for? Come along and Relax and Write in the Mountains.

Numbers are strictly capped at 15 participants so I have plenty of time to give everyone.

BOOK HERE or CONTACT ME for more info or any questions.

HURRY only 4 spots left!!

Treat yourself to some nurturing of your body, mind and spirit. Here’s what past retreaters have to say about the experience.

We’d love to see you!

Lots of love

Edwina xx

ANECDOTE vs STORY – What’s the Difference?

young-woman-writing-letter-at-desk

When I first started writing I got a few rejections saying my pieces were anecdotes and not stories. After I’d dried my tears, I began to wonder what the difference was?

What is it that makes a story a story, and an anecdote something you tell your friends but don’t get published?

MEANING.

An ANECDOTE is an incident from our lives that we tell our mates down at the pub or over a cup of tea. This tale may have many of the elements of a story – setting, characters and action – but usually that’s it.

For example –

When people notice the scar running from my forehead down along my left temple beside my eye, I tell them an anecdote about how, when I was fourteen, I was searching for organisms out on the rocks at Deadman’s Beach (true!) during my school biology camp on Stradbroke Island.

10

A huge wave came hurtling towards us and I braced myself by facing into the barnacle covered rocks, gripping on for dear life. The wave crashed over me and my classmates, and smashed my face into the rocks, dragging me as it fled back out to sea, grating my face against the barnacles. Adrenaline pumping, I scrambled to my feet and leapt  over the rocks, racing to shore where my poor teacher was greeted with a bloody mess like Sissy Spacek at the end of Carrie.

I was almost helicoptered back to Brisbane, but the local island doctor was used to shark bites and stitched my face back together again – sixty stitches in all. I wasn’t a pretty sight. Once I got back home my friend took some photos and we entered me in a Dolly Magazine Covergirl Competition. We thought we were pretty funny. Needless to say, I didn’t win 🙂

poster-a-womans-face_08

As you can see, this anecdote has plenty of action and drama and even a happy ending. But it’s not a story. WHY?

Because it only tells what happened. An anecdote doesn’t reflect on the events and dig deeper to find meaning.

STORIES on the other hand are how humans make sense of the world and what happens to us. They delve deep into the emotional heart of what that incident meant to us and how we were changed as a result. A story creates MEANING from the meaningless.

For example –

What if I told you this accident happened only a couple of months after the death of my young father? What if I told you that when the wave hit something inside me hoped that it would tear me away and take me to where my father was. What if I wrote about how, as the doctor stitched my face back together again, he sang the Death March. What if I wrote about how my best friend tenderly helped me wash the blood out of my hair that night as I sat in a cold bath. What if I told you that I lay awake for hours in my bunk, trying to convince myself that my father’s death had been a bad dream I’d had while knocked out, that he would be waiting for me on the other side of the ferry?

vintage-father-and-daughter

 

Then we’d have a story.  A story I haven’t written yet, but just might.

“Dig deeper,” I tell the memoirists I edit and teach. Don’t be afraid. Go deeper and find the true heart of your story. Turn that anecdote into something that touches people.

Have you got an anecdote or two you could dig deeper into to create meaning? Search hard enough and everything that happens has another layer of story reflecting human experience.

Want to learn more? Come along to my next retreat in the mountains with a special focus on memoir writing. Great for beginners too, and anyone needing to reboot their writing mojo!

That’s what we writers do, we write to make sense of the world.

vintage-woman-writing

Let me know how you go!

Lots of love

Edwina

EARLY BIRD PRICES CLOSE THIS WEEK!

IMG_3478

Just a quick reminder that early bird prices for my upcoming retreat in the mountains west of Brisbane close soon.

This special retreat for women is a great introduction if you’re a new writer wanting to test the waters. This retreat has a memoir/life writing focus but is also suitable for those writing fiction.

Come and Relax and Write in the Mountains. Renew your love of writing and life and make new writing buddies to share the adventure.

A whole weekend of writing, yoga, food and fun in a peaceful location.

Join our community of kind, creative women.

Stay in comfortable, rustic accomodation with plenty of space and quiet writing nooks and time to write.

Time for you at last!

RETREAT INCLUDES

4 Writing workshops

2 Yoga sessions

All meals and accomodation included.

ALL FOR ONLY $360! If you miss the cut off date-  $400.

Pay your $200 deposit now to secure your place.

Editorial feedback and massages also available at extra cost.

HURRY! BOOK NOW! Returning retreaters have nabbed lots of spots. Only 5 places still available. 

Numbers are capped to make sure everyone gets the attention they deserve.

Contact me for more details.

Hope you can come! We always have a wonderful time 🙂

Lots of love

Edwina

 

UPCOMING EVENTS: 2020 REGIONAL TOUR of QLD. YIPPEE!

DQSc0kKX4AAHBMi

I’m super excited to announce that through February and March (with more planned for later in the year) I’ll be travelling around my home state of Queensland running workshops for people who suffered abuse in institutional care, as part of my work at Lotus Place. This wonderful project is organised and funded by the Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce and Micah Projects. If you identify with having been abused in institutional care you are most welcome to attend. Please just ring Lotus Place first to get in touch and confirm your attendance. I’d love to help you get those stories out of your head and onto the page.

While I’m on tour I’ll also be holding some Bjelke Blues events – all free and open to everyone. So do come along and say hi.

While I’m in Cairns I’ll also be running a Life Writing Workshop in partnership with Cairns Tropical Writers and QWC is hosting a Memoir workshop in Esk. So if you live out woop-woop (as we like to say here) please come along and get writing!

BUNDABERG

THE HEALING POWER OF STORY WORKSHOP.

MONDAY FEBRUARY 3rd 10 am – 3:30 pm at Bundaberg Regional Library

This is a Lotus Place/ Micah Project – strictly only for participants who have experienced abuse in an institutional setting, out of home care included. It is free for participants and funded by the Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce and Micah Projects.

People wanting to come along should ring Lotus Place on 3347 8500 to check eligibility.

Bjelke Blues AUTHOR TALK

TUESDAY February 4th 10 – 11 am

Bundaberg Regional Library

ALL WELCOME! FREE! But book your spot here

TOWNSVILLE

Bjelke Blues AUTHOR TALK

SUNDAY February 9th 10:30 – 11:30 am

MARY WHO Bookstore. 414 Flinders St, Townsville QLD 4810

FREE but please phone MARY WHO to book  (07) 4771 3824

THE HEALING POWER OF STORY WORKSHOP.

MONDAY FEBRUARY 10th 10 am – 3:30 pm at Lotus Place NQ, 382 Sturt Street, Townsville Q 4810

This is a Lotus Place/ Micah Project – strictly only for participants who have experienced abuse in an institutional setting, out of home care included. It is free for participants and funded by the Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce and Micah Projects.

People wanting to come along, please contact Lotus Place NQ on 4724 2559 or email lotusnq@micahprojects.org.au to check eligibility.

CAIRNS

Bjelke Blues PANEL DISCUSSION

Wednesday February 12th 10am -11 am Cairns Central Library

Hosted by the Cairns Tropical Writers Festival. With local contributors Christine Howes, Chris Morris and Bill Wilkie, FREE BUT BOOK HERE

THE HEALING POWER OF STORY WORKSHOP.

THURSDAY FEBRUARY 13th. 10 am – 3:30 pm at Cairns Central Library

This is a Lotus Place/ Micah Project – strictly only for participants who have experienced abuse in an institutional setting, out of home care included. It is free for participants and funded by the Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce and Micah Projects.

People wanting to come along, please contact Lotus Place NQ on 4724 2559 or email lotusnq@micahprojects.org.au to check eligibility.

LIFE WRITING WORKSHOP

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 15th. 10 am – 12:30 pm at Stratford Library, Cairns

Come along and explore your creativity with this half day workshop guaranteed to get you writing!

$35 or $30 for QWC or Tropical Writers members.

See here for more info and to book 

ESK

MEMOIR WORKSHOP ESK:

February 22 2020-  9:30am – 12:30pm: Esk Library

FREE! Proudly brought to you by the QLD WRITERS CENTRE

SEE HERE TO BOOK   

Esk Library PHONE 07 5424 4080

BOOK YOUR SPOT NOW!

MACKAY

THE HEALING POWER OF STORY WORKSHOP.

MONDAY MARCH 9th: 10 am – 3:30 pm at Jubilee Community Centre, Gordon Street, Mackay  

This is a Lotus Place/ Micah Project – strictly only for participants who have experienced abuse in an institutional setting, out of home care included. It is free for participants and funded by the Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce and Micah Projects.

People wanting to come along, please contact Lotus Place NQ on 4724 2559 or email lotusnq@micahprojects.org.au to check eligibility.

ROCKHAMPTION

THE HEALING POWER OF STORY WORKSHOP.

WEDNESDAY MARCH 9th: 10 am – 3:30 pm at ??

DETAILS FOR THIS WORKSHOP ARE YET TO BE CONFIRMED  

This is a Lotus Place/ Micah Project – strictly only for participants who have experienced abuse in an institutional setting, out of home care included. It is free for participants and funded by the Truth, Healing and Reconciliation Taskforce and Micah Projects.

People wanting to come along, please contact Lotus Place NQ on 4724 2559 or email lotusnq@micahprojects.org.au to check eligibility.

ADDITIONAL HEALING POWER OF STORY WORKSHOPS ARE PLANNED FOR LATER IN THE YEAR in BRISBANE, TOOWOOMBA, GYMPIE AND on the GOLD COAST.

BOONAH

BUILDING YOUR CAREER AS A WRITER WORKSHOP

SUNDAY 3 MAY 9am – 12:30 as part of the Boonah Writers Festival

Register for the Boonah Writer’s festivalto join the fun weekend of writing and hobnobbing with writers 🙂

And so on… I’ll keep you posted!

5 WAYS TO BUILD NARRATIVE DRIVE IN MEMOIR

tower-of-books-1

John Gardner once said, “Structure is the primary concern of the writer.” The more I write and edit other people’s writing, the more I agree with him. It’s not the story itself but how the writer chooses to arrange story elements that keeps the reader turning pages.32533._SY475_

This is easier when writing fiction than when dealing with the real-life constraints of memoir, but here are a few ideas to help you keep your memoir readers up at night in a page turning frenzy.

Before we start there are a couple of issues you need to consider. First of all

  1. What are you writing?

If you’re intention is to record your entire life history then you’re writing an autobiography, not a memoir. What’s the difference? A memoir is a focused selection of life events around a particular theme or time in your life.

  1. Who is your audience?

Are you writing just for family and friends, or people who shared these experiences with you? If so, then you can really write whatever you like and they’ll still read it.

http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.50484

However, if you believe your story has a wider appeal, that you have a story of interest to the general reading public then you’re going to have to work a whole lot harder at building narrative drive to hook them in and keep them reading right till the end. If you’re not a famous sports star or a glamorous movie queen, then selling your memoir to a publisher is going to be tricky. You need to make sure you have a compelling narrative that grabs them right from the start. But how?

Reading by Lamplight by James Whistler

Reading by Lamplight by James Whistler

5 WAYS TO BUILD NARRATIVE DRIVE IN MEMOIR

  1. Write down all your key plot points.

An easy way of thinking about this is to call them Heart Clutching Moments as Elizabeth Sims does in her Writers Digest Article

Think of the moments in your memoir that have most emotional impact – the parts where your hand goes to your heart. Key emotional turning points – remember to include some happy moments as well as those of drama or trauma. Write down a list of as many of these as you can think of.  Put big circles around the most important and a star next to the most emotional, most moving, heartbreaking moment. That is your climax.fullsizeoutput_5b2

  1. Find your central quest or question?

Delve deep into what your story is really about. Ask yourself, “What is this story about?” Then again, “What is this story really about?” Ask yourself those two questions seven times. Famous non-fiction writing teacher Robin Hemley developed this method for finding the heart of your story.heart with eye

Once you have your answer then formulate a question or quest. In memoir it might be something like this “Will Mary ever find the daughter she gave up for adoption in 1965?” or “Will innocent Bob survive his time in jail?” Or “Will Sarah find a cure for her mysterious illness and be well again?”

You get the idea. What is your central question?

  1. Find your Hope and Fear around this question.

In order to keep the reader highly engaged in your story, every scene and chapter needs to move them between hoping that YES – your central quest/ion will have a happy ending (that’s your hope) and NO! – the very worst will happen (that’s your fear).

654-08231766

For example

HOPE: Mary will find her adopted daughter who will want to see her and they will lovingly reunite.

FEAR: Mary won’t ever be able to find her daughter no matter how hard she tries or how close she gets. OR Mary will find her daughter who won’t want to have anything to do with her.

HOPE: Bob will study and be freed from his wrongful imprisonment and go on to be a lawyer advocating for those still in jail.

FEAR: Bob will be brutalised in jail. All his appeals will fail, and he will die, sad and alone, in the electric chair.

Oh dear – poor Bob!

electric chair

 

What is your Hope and Fear?

  1. What is your HOOK?

s-l400

Your hook is what sets up your question and the connected hope and fear right at the start of your memoir. Look at your list of Heart Clutching Moments and find one which will be best to draw your reader into your story. It doesn’t have to be what chronologically happened first. The power of writing is that you get to play around with the order of events to create most suspense and impact. It doesn’t have to be the whole event, just a snippet of it. Then once you’ve set up your question and what is at stake you can go back and fill in the background.

For example

Mary gives birth to a precious baby girl and gets to hold her, but only for a few minutes. Then she is spirited away and a weeping Mary signs away her rights as mother.

Bob is eating his last meal on death row, the priest beside him giving comfort. He starts down the long hallway in chains.

  1. Arrange your key plot points

415DVmwzY2L._AC_SY400_

Look at that HCM list and arrange them after your hook. You can list them chronologically but make sure there is movement between your hope and fear in each one. Build to your most impactful moment as your climax. And make sure that you have some kind of satisfying conclusion – even if it’s sad.

For example

Mary gives birth etc

Mary at the graveside of her husband who she never told about her secret child – now she is free to look for her.

Mary tells her son about her search. Son says, “She won’t want to see you.”

Mary finds old papers and begins search.

Mary finds orphanage but records were lost.

Mary finds alternate clues – her daughter has been searching for her

Mary gets sick – she may die before she finds her daughter – search intensifies.

Mary finds an address – in the same state!

Mary’s son kicks up stink – why are you doing this? It’s too stressful! You’re sick!

Mary makes a tentative phone call – gets her daughter’s husband

Mary’s illness worsens.

Mary’s daughter arrives on her doorstep and they reunite tearfully and joyfully.

Mary’s son reacts badly.

Mary’s daughter is a doctor and heals Mary and all family is happy and harmonious!

images

Now real life isn’t usually so orderly, nor does it have neat closed off endings, but for the purpose of your memoir you’re going to have to find a satisfying point to stop where the main quest or question has been resolved.

These exercises can be done after you’ve already completed a draft or even better, before you start the big job of writing it. If you can write to a structure that is already moving between hope and fear, then your job is halfway done.

Of course all of this is applicable to fiction writing as well – just easier to do because you can invent events and keep that movement between hope and fear with a flick of your pen.

GOOD LUCK!

writing on retreat!

If you’d like to learn more about memoir writing or just make a start on telling some of your life stories, then my next retreat in Highfields west of Brisbane is now open for enrolments. Come and join a like-minded group of women and get writing! See here for all the details.

What is your memoir’s central question? What is the hope and fear? Need help working it out? Ask away!

Lots of love

Edwina xx

 

Relax and Write in the Mountains 2020!

I-3DMqhQ

I’m thrilled to announce a special introductory and memoir writing retreat at Camp Koojarewon in Highfields north of Toowoomba.

Is your creative spirit crying out for a little TLC? Always wanted to write but don’t know where to start? Need to reboot your writing mojo and be inspired to tackle that project you’ve been thinking about forever? Come along and regain your love of writing and life at the next Relax and Write Retreat

From 2pm FRIDAY 27 MARCH – 2 pm 29 MARCH 2020

IMG_3507

Join like-minded women in a fun and supportive environment discovering just how much some deep relaxation can ignite your imagination and get you writing again. Relax and unwind with gentle morning yoga sessions and get writing with innovative workshops to help move those stories out of your head and onto the page.

 

“I feel transformed, as a writer and as a human being.”

Bianca Millroy – participant NANOWRIMO retreat 2019

 The program includes two yoga sessions, four inspiring writing workshops covering the basics, plus advice on editing and submitting your work. Two nights basic dorm accommodation plus delicious vegetarian meals, morning and afternoon teas and a special dance night are included.

“The fully-catered retreat environment was comfortable and stress-free. Edwina and her team create an atmosphere that encourages, motivates and inspires.”

Gay Liddington – participant NANOWRIMO retreat 2019

74525054_2825161627518186_7597014491913519104_n

Maria, Kathy and Jude – triple retreaters!

Connect with other creative women in a beautiful, peaceful location, be inspired by practical, informative workshops, stretch and relax with yoga and release your inner-goddess dancing under the stars. No more putting your dreams on hold. Treat yourself to this special weekend nurturing your writing spirit. You deserve it!

RETREAT PROGRAM All activities are optional

69745041_2823259734375042_4616213785835732992_o

FRIDAY 27 MARCH 2020

ARRIVAL from 3 pm

5 pm – Meet and Greet

6:00 –  DINNER

6:45 – 8:30 WORKSHOP 1– Your Stories

bnbLIqhg

SATURDAY 28 MARCH

7:15am – 8:30 – Gentle morning yoga and breathing

8:30 – BREAKFAST

10:00am – 12:30 pm – WORKSHOP 2 – Writing from start to finish – developing a plot and a plan

12.30 pm – LUNCH

1 – 4:00 – FREETIME and FEEDBACK SESSIONS

4 – 6:00 pm – WORKSHOP 3 – Character and Dialogue

6:00 pm – DINNER

7:00– 8:30 pm – DANCING and chatting around the bonfire

IMG_3537

SUNDAY 29 MARCH

7:15 – 8:30am – Gentle morning yoga and breathing

8:30 – BREAKFAST

10:00 – 12:30 – WORKSHOP 4 – Where and how to submit work, goal setting, questions and collage

12:30 – LUNCH

1:30- 2pm DEPARTURES

IMG_3545

Editorial feedback sessions with Edwina available on request $50 extra for those needing advice on a project.

FEEDBACK DETAILS – email Edwina your first 10 pages plus your synopsis at least 2 weeks prior to retreat for full edit/advice plus 20 minutes meeting time. Massages will also be available at extra cost.

COST for the weekend of writing, fun and feasting, including accommodation, all meals, 2 yoga sessions, 4 creative writing workshops and a dance night. Transport not included.

 $400 all inclusive!

EARLY BIRD $360 -Pay $200 deposit before 30 January 2020

PAY YOUR DEPOSIT HERE

then Drop Me a Line to let me know you’ve done so and I’ll secure a spot for you.

OR contact me to pay by Direct Deposit: preferred : )

Contact me any time for more info or with questions. edwinashaw@icloud.com

A very few single rooms are available for those with special needs at slightly extra cost. Contact Edwina.

Remember – as Heidi said “I knew the mountains would make her well!”

Heidi

 

Reviews for Relax and Write NANOWRIMO

74615501_2824304107603938_7912599961450053632_n
Reviews for Relax and Write NANOWRIMO at Burleigh Heads just in!
BIANCA MILLROY IMG_5185
Bianca’s Review of Relax and Write Retreat Burleigh, November 2019
Do you have a passion for writing? …Do you need to do more of it?
Do you enjoy relaxing? …Need to do a bit more of that too?
Well, what are you waiting for!!?? A RELAX AND WRITE Retreat exists and it is waiting for YOU!
Take my word for it (actually, I’m a writer so a few words to be precise), you won’t regret it.
Join the fabulous Edwina Shaw and a group of the loveliest, most down to earth women you will ever meet, and do exactly that: relax and write. As a writer in my twenties, I would also encourage other writers, young and young at heart, to come along to these affordable and worthwhile weekend escapes. After attending this superb retreat just a few weeks ago in Burleigh Heads, I can honestly say I feel transformed, as a writer and as a human being.
Ed puts her absolute heart and soul into these retreats and, as a published author and yoga teacher, she definitely knows her stuff! You will learn practical and relevant writing techniques, tips and tricks in her generous workshops as well as benefit from the tranquil surroundings and grounding relaxation and yoga practice (and some dancing and massages thrown in for fun!) The retreats are all-inclusive so you just need to arrive…everything is taken care of. And you will certainly be taken care of too!
Thank you Ed! xx
Bianca Millroy is has recently completed her Masters in Creative Writing, with a full historical magic realist novel ready to find a good home. Find out more about her and her wonderful writing at Bianca Millroy

 

Gay Liddington

RETREAT REVIEW by Gay Middlington

Inspired by the idea of a women’s, Relax and Write Retreat, I attended the November 2019 Burleigh Heads gathering led by Edwina Shaw. The lure of writing, yoga, dancing and the optional extra massage, provided the opportunity to immerse myself in a creative, nurturing environment.

Like-minded women engaged in writing workshops, feedback groups and an individual session with Edwina, all of which I found valuable. And, while a program was offered, participants were also given the option of free-flowing. The fully-catered retreat environment was comfortable and stress-free.

Edwina and her team create an atmosphere that encourages, motivates and inspires. I was reluctant to extract myself from the retreat bubble but resolved to become a ‘repeat retreater’.

Gay Liddington writes feature articles for the Hinterland Times and is busily at work on her forthcoming memoir.

It was a great pleasure having both these fabulous women on retreat. I feel so lucky that every retreat attracts just the right people who all support each other, connect and make firm writing friendships.

Don’t be shy! You deserve a weekend away from the busyness of ordinary life to focus on your writing too. Our next retreat is in Highfields among the trees and hills north of Toowoomba March 27 – 29. With other retreats planned for June and December.

Come along and rediscover your love of writing and life!

See all the info about upcoming retreats HERE.

Or just drop me a line and I’ll fill you in and help you pick which one would suit you best.

Thanks again to all the wonderful women who made this retreat so special. And particularly to Gay and Bianca for taking the time to write such lovely reviews.

IMG_8197

Lots of love

Edwina xx

RETREAT REPLETE!

74570740_2823280584372957_4906032651346903040_o

Me, Lalita and the lovely Bianca!

Just back from the latest wonderful Relax and Write Retreat at Burleigh Heads with a fabulous group of women, from first time explorers trying out their writing legs to experienced authors with published books under their belts.

75474145_2822891897745159_1440408052552433664_o.jpg

As always, I was inspired by how quickly new friendships formed and how everyone worked together to help each other with their projects.

74525054_2825161627518186_7597014491913519104_n

Maria, Kathy and Jude – triple retreaters!

The weekend was action packed with workshops, feedback sessions, yoga and dance.

This time though retreaters had a whole lot more free time to explore the beautiful beaches and rainforest surroundings. I even managed to sneak in a swim myself. YAY! The water was warm even very early in the morning. And so clean. Ah.

I loved having dance instructor extraordinaire, Lalita Lakshmi, from Spiced Tingle Dance along to lead us through some really fun dance sessions. Thank you Lalita. Yoga to calm us down and stretch out, and dancing to rev us back up again. With blissful body-work treatments from Monique DeGoey from  Reconnect Holistic Body Work leaving people floating. Thank you Monique.

This retreat, workshops were focused on structuring for success and publishing pathways for those with major projects underway. It also included individual feedback sessions which I really loved. It was fascinating to learn more about the stories I’d been privileged to read and edit, and discover the inspiration and hard work behind them.

I enjoyed giving feedback on a wide range of projects from heart-wrenching memoirs, to thrillers, to sci-fi, to YA mermaids. I loved reading and discussing them with their authors and hopefully I was able to provide some useful ideas to help the projects shine and move towards publication.

Thank you to the magnificent Maria Parenti-Baldey (a triple retreater – I had 3 triple retreaters along this time) who filmed my gentle guided mediation to boost confidence and creativity which is now up on YouTube. Use it whenever your critical voice is getting too loud, you’re feeling blocked, or even if you’re nervous going somewhere you’ve never been before. Please do feel free to share it around.

The retreats always seem to come to an end too quickly – and this time it really did! We ran out of time to do our customary collages – so I hope all my new mermaids are having fun getting stuck into it at home. Here’s what Kim came up with.

74174100_2367653463495044_910728333145145344_o

Kim’s collage

Thank you so much to the lovely folk at CYC Burleigh especially our handsome host Joel who spoilt us rotten with hot chocolates and real coffee. Think he just scored himself a whole new set of aunties.

Every time I come home after camp I’ve made a whole lot of fabulous new friends who share my love of writing. A wonderful tribe of women writers.

RW3 group shot goodie

UPCOMING RETREATS

I’ve got three retreats planned for next year.

IMG_3507

  1. Relax and Write in the Mountains – March 27- 29 2020 at Camp Koojarewon among the trees in Highfields, just north of Toowoomba.

This retreat is best for writers of memoir and/or those who are new to writing. Workshops include lots of writing prompts and exercises, including the basics of how to build a story step by step, plus some general writing tips. HURRY! Places for this one are already filling fast as several retreaters from Burleigh have already got their hands up.

66006419_2447984801931476_8048283999874842624_n

  1. Relax and Write in Paradise – June 19-21 2020 at Amaroo Resort on beautiful Magnetic Island.

Escape the winter blues and really spoil yourself with this retreat for more experienced writers- though beginners are welcome too. Workshops focus on character and plot development, with lots of writing exercises. I especially welcome writers from the region. Because the rest of us have to travel so far, I highly recommend bring a friend or two and staying on at Amaroo (they offer bargain rates for retreaters) or in a holiday rental for another week to work on your writing projects. I just love Magnetic Island. It’s magical.

74571588_2825173820850300_1991376211154042880_o

  1. Relax and Write NANOWRIMO – dates and venue yet to be finalised. NOVEMBER 2020.

This camp is best for more experienced writers with a first draft of a full-length project either completed or underway. Individual feedback sessions are available and workshops are heavily craft focused, theory based and practical exploring publishing options.

You can book into any of the retreats for 2020 right now by dropping me a line and paying the $200 deposit. Please specify which retreat you’re interested in. Participant numbers are strictly limited to 15 so I can give everyone the attention they deserve.

Contact me with your retreat preference and I’ll send you my details to pay by direct deposit – preferred.

Or PAY YOUR DEPOSIT HERE and email me with your retreat preference.

Come along and join our group of happy campers! Treat yourself to a 2020 retreat this Christmas. Better yet – get someone else to give you a wonderful present you’ll really enjoy.

fullsizeoutput_328

Put yourself in this picture.

 

Please do get in touch if you’re struggling financially and we’ll work something out so you can come too. Helena and I first started these retreats because we couldn’t afford to go to any of the fancy ones we saw advertised, so the accommodation isn’t posh, but the workshops and people are first class! (We like to think so anyway)

A big thank you to all my lovely mermaids, wood nymphs and happy campers for making these retreats a true joy to facilitate.

Lots of love

Edwina xxx

EARLY BIRD PRICES END SOON!

fullsizeoutput_328

Like to put yourself in this picture? Come along and join the fun and the next Relax and Write Retreat! November 8 – 10 in beautiful Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast.

This is a special NANOWRIMO Retreat for those women with manuscripts on the go in need of feedback, or for those writing up a storm for the first time during National Novel Writing Month.

You don’t have to be writing fiction. Memoir, narrative non-fiction, and screenplay writers will all benefit from the three special workshops designed with more experienced writers in mind.

IMG_3520

It’s not all learning and writing though. We always have heaps of fun with yoga and dancing sessions both mornings and a special Saturday night dance fiesta on the beach!

65133037_10157294957043633_7484535070867324928_n

Connect with like minded women, relax and unwind with yoga and have fun dancing. For more information see here  or CONTACT ME with any questions

Over half the spots are already filled so don’t miss out. Early Bird Prices finish on September 15.

Secure your spot with a deposit and pay the rest when you can before the retreat.

Don’t you deserve some time out to focus on your writing? You sure do!

IMG_3478

Treat yourself to this weekend of writing and fun. Reboot your love of writing and life and meet other women writers.

I’d love to see you there.

Lots of love

Edwina xx