A year ago today I started one of the craziest, most fulfilling adventures of my life when I began coaching writers. This came out of an incredible summer of soul searching and meditation, much needed after several years of a punishing publishing schedule. My good friend, Leslie, is the one who jumpstarted all this soul work during a glorious week at the Cape and my other dear friend, Erin, a coach in her own right, encouraged me to take the passion I had for helping writers in both their work and process to the next level. My husband, who randomly reads ancient Greek (long story), came up with the name after I described how I wanted to draw writers closer to their creative spirits: Pneuma Creative. I’d never heard the word before, but when he explained what it meant, I felt an instant surge of YES. So, really, Pneuma was a collaborative effort, where the people in my life helped me find the path I was being called to be on.
I had several wonderful writers who agreed to be my guinea pigs as I felt my way through what I would eventually come to call the Creative Season, the foundation of my coaching. They were marvelously game at trying things out, gave much-appreciated feedback, and showed up with vulnerability, desire, creativity, and will. Thank you so much Jasmine, Cammie, Frankie, Maria, Joe, and Sarah for being the best education a baby coach could ask for. Since those first sessions, I’ve taken on several more clients, each one bringing their own unique selves to each call, each worksheet, each exercise. It’s been amazing to watch them all blossom in their own ways, to get excited with them about the future, to help them let go of past artistic hurts, and to be deep in the present creative mess of it all. This is hard, hard work we do, but it has untold dividends for both my clients and I.
I’ve also had the opportunity to help writers develop their novels and edit manuscripts, which is always such a thrill. If I wasn’t a writer or coach, I would absolutely love to be an editor. What’s so great is that I can bring the holistic aspect of coaching to the editorial process, so it’s not just line notes and letters, but a real dialogue about the process of writing that particular book and how the writer can best support herself through that birthing.
Perhaps one of the best things to come out of this, though, is the Pneuma Facebook Group. With over 150 members, the group has become a second family to me, a small but mighty group of word warriors who share their joys, sorrows, questions, and process each day. It’s been fun searching for inspiring quotes of the day, doing the nightly writing roll call, and knowing that this solitary act of writing is actually something we can do in community. Thank you to all the lovely women who have become such a big part of my life. And, please, for all writers identifying as female: join us! We don’t bite, I promise.
As this year comes to a close, I’m excited by what groundwork has been laid and all that is to come. We’re having our first annual retreat at the end of October at Highlights in PA, which I’ll be co-leading with the ever fabulous Ingrid Sundberg. I can’t wait to talk craft, process, the writer’s life, and to lead daily meditation and workshops in a gorgeous autumn setting. Okay, I’m also really excited about WINE with my fellow lady writers.
I’m also thrilled to begin teaching online classes through Pneuma about craft, including one I’ve been dying to do for years on revision – my very favorite part of the writing process (I’m a masochist, you see). I’m also nearly finished with my certification for meditation teaching, and I’ll be offering retreats and workshops and one-on-one help with that, as well. This practice has become so central to who I am as a person and artist, that it’s now the main focus of my blog, which I’ve renamed Mindfulness for Writers. I can’t wait to get into all this great stuff I’ve been mulling over this past year, and throughout a lifetime of spiritual searching. If you’re curious, you can check out my recent post on how meditation supports creativity. You can also sign up for my twice-monthly newsletter with exclusive meditation and mindfulness tips for writers and riffs on the writer’s life and craft. (If you’re entering the raffle, do that first because it’ll ask you to join the email list).
If you’re interested in Pneuma, please check out the website or contact me. I take on very few clients, as I’m a full-time writer, but I’d be thrilled to start the conversation with you. In the meantime, make sure you enter the giveaway for a Passion Planner I’ve set up in celebration of Pneuma’s birthday to help get you the structure you need for your writing life. (Note: I don’t work for Passion Planner, I just really love it and find it to be a hugely valuable tool for my clients).
THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me on this journey and my amazing clients and Facebook groupies for being a constant source of inspiration. Here’s to many more years of making art!