Guess what?

So many people walk around this earth with no idea
how to communicate their gifts to the world.

But you, dear writer, have already found your language.
Now it’s simply time to trust YOUR voice.

With love and total belief in you,
Marni Freedman

Welcome to The Feisty Writer!

Ummm, what is it exactly…

A New Blog for Feisty Writers Everywhere

What does it mean to be a feisty writer? Is it for me?

Well…

  • Are you ready to take your career into your own hands?
  • Are you looking for ways to improve your craft without being bored out of your mind?
  • Are you looking for new techniques that will actually get you to the page?
  • Are you seeking a writer-tested-and-approved method to complete your novel, memoir, screenplay, or play?
  • Are you a severe procrastinator with a fierce inner critic?

 

Guess what?

We are your tribe.

The Drop-In Technique

A stack of rocks in a cairn

About the Drop-In Technique: A Guided Meditation To Access Your Life Experience 

For years of teaching memoir classes, we needed a way for writers to bring their true life experiences to the page as if the reader was a fly on the wall—in the moment with them. Yet, at the same time, if it was a difficult life experience, we wanted the writer to access memories without feeling overwhelmed.
We tried many techniques and finally found success with a guided meditation that helps the writer visualize their life as a timeline they can drop into at any moment, yet feel a sense of protection from the raw emotions the writer may have experienced during the time they first lived through the experience.

,
It’s been a powerful tool I have used for years. Usually, I read the meditation out loud and then allow for time for free writing in class. No tool has been met with more excitement and success and many had asked if I would record it. However, making a recording never felt right until I met Kimberly. She is a writer, healer, and yoga instructor and has a natural gift when it comes to guided meditations. Kimberly took the drop-in technique, added in music and made it her own. Please give yourself the gift of taking some time out to drop into a guided meditation. I would love to hear your thoughts about your experience. Enjoy!

Drop-In Technique for Memoir Writers

Warmly,

Marni

A photo of Kimberly Joy

Kimberly Joy writes to share messages that uplift and inspire. Her pieces encourage and provide new ways of perceiving the world and life’s experiences. Her background as a Physical Therapist, Restorative Yoga Teacher, and Guided Meditation Specialist gives her a deep understanding of the mind-body connection. She loves to share this wisdom in hopes of assisting others on their journeys of health, healing, and inner peace. You can find more of her writing at MessagesfromJoy.org

Music Credit: Christopher Lloyd Clarke

Photo Credit: Kimberly Joy and Bekir Dönmez on Unsplash

Feed Your Soul

I’ve had a number of well-meaning friends come up to me recently and ask me about my writing. When’s the next book coming out, they ask. Are you writing? How far along are you?

I give them the same answer I always give when asked about my writing: I’m working on a couple of projects right now, and I’ll let you know as soon as the books are finished.

The assumption by many non-writers (and some authors themselves) is that once an author produces a book, or two (or four, in my case), the writer will continue to produce books at the same pace. While this concept might be true for many writers, not all of us follow the same path. For some authors (myself included), writing is a soul-filling (and sometimes soul-draining) process, but it’s not the only creative occupation that fulfills us.

I’ve dedicated over ten years of my life to writing books. I also, at the same time, helped raise two kids, worked two jobs, and supported my family and friends when they needed me. The writing was a lot of work, and it required a lot of time away from my husband and children. I didn’t mind the sacrifice then because, at that time in my life, the writing fed my soul in an important way.

But since the release of my last book in 2016, my family situation has changed. My children graduated from college and are now living and working on their own. And my husband and I have found ourselves at the age where we need to make decisions about retirement, our long-term life and healthcare goals, and how we’re going to do some of the travel that we’ve always had on our bucket lists.

I’ve also discovered in recent years that I yearned to explore some new ways to feed my soul. In the past three years, I’ve learned to bake my own bread, spent time exploring glass painting, and my husband Dan and I have created a successful monarch butterfly sanctuary in our yard (Follow me on Twitter to hear more about this). I’ve reconnected with old friends and family members, and Dan and I have started to do some serious travel to other countries.

I’m also still working part-time, teaching college business classes and doing some work for publicity clients.

Does all of this non-writing activity mean I’ll never write again? Of course not – I have a memoir outlined and have begun the sequel to one of my earlier novels, Favorite Daughter. But is writing the primary activity filling my soul right now? No. And that doesn’t mean the end of my writing career; it just means that I will write again when my soul calls for it.

I know there are some career writers out there who scoff at the notion that writing is only for those who do it every day without fail for years on end. But for many of us, writing is only one of many ways that we find creative expression. It fills a special part of our lives, but it may not be the only occupation that does that. And that’s okay with me, and my soul, for now.

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Writing about Mental Health – What to Do When What You Find Out Freaks You Out

by Madonna Treadway

Studying the Research on Grief and Loss

A few years ago, while doing research for my book 6 Healing Questions, A Gentle Path to Facing Childhood Loss of a Parent, I began studying the leading thinkers on grief and loss. I was hoping to find a clearly defined path from grief to healing. I wanted to better understand the process, and I wanted to know what the experts considered the “right way” to travel that path through grief. Furthermore, I thought that maybe I could then do grief and loss right, or at least do it better. In the most traumatic of ways, I had lost both of my parents before the age of eight. I knew that I had experienced a lot of healing, and I thought, with research, I would be able to communicate just how that healing had taken place. What I found out, however, wasn’t clear; in fact, it was highly confusing and downright overwhelming.

Is There a Roadmap to Grieving?

First, there simply wasn’t a concrete consensus about how one travels along a healing journey. Some researchers saw the grieving process as a series of steps. Some saw it as series of tasks or seasons. Still others argued over the very definition of ongoing bereavement. In the end, I found lots of varying approaches, but no clear guidelines or path. This was surprising and confusing, as I expected the experts to agree.

Then I began delving into information about the different types of grief. Again, there was no clear agreement on the definitions of the different types of grief. And when I threw in what I learned about the mental health codes in the DSM-V that therapists use to diagnose bereavement, I got even more lost.

A Hidden Danger

Even after all the confusion, there was another hidden danger, and I was about to get officially freaked out. As I diligently did my research, I learned that if you have experienced the violent death of a loved one (this includes homicide and suicide), you may be more prone to delayed grief and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you experienced this as a child, PTSD is even more likely, as your grieving process was probably interrupted because of your age. This may create seriously negative consequences in your life and behavior. Serious. Negative. Consequences.

Like what, you may ask.

Like an addiction, severe food-related medical disorders, serious mental health issues, and higher rates of depression and even incarceration, to mention a few. As I continued to read, I began to feel my chest tighten. It was beyond upsetting.

Freaking Out

Without my permission, my brain began recounting my early experience of my father’s sudden death. My heart beat faster and faster. My mind reeled. And my body felt—well, it was a cross between feeling frozen and feeling terrified. A panic attack seemed imminent. Was I going to develop a serious mental health issue? Would depression or anxiety overtake me?

I told myself to put down the research and focus on my breath, one breath at a time.

That night, I found myself shocked by my reaction. It was as if some part of me was fearful for my younger self. I was terribly afraid of what could have happened to me. This fear seemed illogical, and I felt odd even admitting this. I was clearly still a bit freaked out.

So I did more breathing. Then . . .

Time for a Break

I reminded myself that I was okay. And I decided that I needed to put down the research and take a break.

I backed off. I stopped writing for several weeks. I absorbed what I discovered and spent some time on self-care. Long walks and warm baths interspersed with my normal busy life. I spent time meditating and visualizing my child self on a safe path. My little dog Auggie gave me lots of sweet snuggles. My shock faded. I began writing again with valuable information about my topic and myself.

As I processed what I had learned, I also looked at the evidence of my current life.

I had not developed any of the serious disorders mentioned. I knew I had experienced delayed grief and trauma, yet I eventually processed it in healthy ways like therapy and dream work. I had done so much therapeutic work on myself that I felt I was finally ready to share what I had learned with others through a book.

What’s Next?

My advice? Do the research, but don’t take it as gospel. Turns out my truth was my truth, and that was all that mattered. And if you ever find yourself knee deep in overwhelm, take a well-earned break. Put the writing down. Enough with the research. Get out into nature. Remind yourself of the life you are living now and all that is beautiful and possible. And I highly suggest having a really cuddly dog on hand.

Photo by Cyndi Pérezita on Unsplash

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