Patti Digh, Jennifer Louden, and I are offering a one-day writing workshop in Portland, OR, on N ov 6. We want you to come. Or just win a prize. Or both!
The prize part:
We want to give you a chance to win goodies . We also want you to come to Portland and bring your writer friends so we hope you will share this contest page with everyone you know who writes — or keeps meaning to.
You do not have to attend our Portland one day once in a lifetime writing retreat to enter this contest!
You could win one of the following:
Attend the retreat free! No, we can’t also fly you and rent a limo and pay for your hotel room but we will hug you extra hard. Details on the retreat are below. Yes, you can give your winning golden ticket to someone else if you can’t make it. Yes, if you have already signed up we can refund all your hard earned monies.
You could win 30 minutes of writing coaching with Susan Piver, Patti Digh, and Jen Louden. 3 separate sessions! Scheduled directly with each of us. 3 writers with a bizillion book and articles and blog posts between them helping you — one-on-one.
Mailed to your home-sweet-home, signed copies of The Life Organizer by Jennifer Louden, The Wisdom of a Broken Heart by Susan Piver, and Four-Word Self-Help by Patti Digh. Your very own signed DiLopi collection.
I’m so excited to have the chance to teach with Jennifer Louden and Patti Digh! During the workshop, each of us will host a panel focusing on a particular aspect of the writing process. There will also be an “ask the writer” panel with all three of us, where we hope to offer helpful answers to questions about process, publishing, creativity, and whatever might come up.
I’m excited for you because we’ve planned an awesome day of teaching, dialogue, and hanging out. I’m convinced you’ll walk away more confident in your voice and inspired to use it.
I’m excited for me because they’re each wonderful writers, teachers, and all around excellent human beings and I look forward to working with them. Plus I’ve always taught alone and I’m really looking forward to collaborating. I love collaborating. Well, sometimes.
I’m excited for all of us because we’ll get to have the joy of camaraderie—which is often in short supply in this most solitary of artistic pursuits.
To support, inspire, provoke, and amuse you, we created a one-day workshop called Walking Into Fire: Sidestepping Fear, Writing Your Heart Out, and Letting Your Story Tell Itself. I think it’s pretty unique. If I weren’t in it, I’d want to take it.
Here is the schedule:
9:45-11:00 One Taste – Meditation, Creativity, and Joy: How Doing One of These Makes You Do All Three with Susan Piver
11:15-12:30 A Million Ways to Kiss Your Writing into Being with Jen Louden
1:30-2:45 Put Down Your Clever and Pick up Your Ordinary with Patti Digh
3:00-4:00 Writers: Take Your Mark or This is the Part Where We Write with Susan, Jen, and Patti
We will give you an hour of writing energy and prompts and fun that will blow you open to new material and give you clear jumping off places to keep writing. Stuck on a project – no more!
4:00 -5:00 Panel discussion w/ DiLoPi in which you lob your questions and we make up answers.
5:15-7:00 Book signing and cash bar cocktail party with the authors
If you have any questions or concerns, you must email me. You can also visit this page to get more details and to sign up. Sign up! You know you want to! Don’t give me any of that “but I’m not a writer” lip.
I promise you won’t regret it.
There is a way to write that solidifies story lines–and a way to write that liberates you from them.
I and Twitter pals Hiro Boga (@hiroboga), Mahala Mazerov (@luminousheart), and Jennifer Louden (@jenlouden) all wrote on the same topic today: The process of writing.
For a kaleidoscopic view of this issue (storytelling vs truth telling), check them out.
Hiro Boga: Tsunamis in the House of Wholeness
Jennifer Louden: How to Be a Writer Who Loves the Gap
Mahala Mazerov: When Stories Hurt
You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet. ~Franz Kafka
Right now, I’m in the beautiful Colorado Rockies, teaching a meditation retreat for writers. We spend most of the day writing, interspersed by periods of sitting meditation. In the first practice, our aim is to find our voice, say something, tell a story. In the latter, the encouragement is to let go of “story” completely and instead focus on the breath, which is always in the present moment.
How can a practice that is all about story go hand-in-hand with one that is about dropping it?
On the face of it, these seem like opposites. However, they are so alike as to be almost identical. Here is why I say that: Continue
I’m involved as a partner in an internet publishing startup called Essential10! My job is Chief Creative Officer, which is the coolest title ever.
We’re looking for books!!
Here is our tagline:
Essential10® is a digital publishing company that redefines the author-reader relationship by making it easy to publish succinct, interactive books for busy people.
We will only publish for the iPhone store, the Kindle store, and as an Ebook.
What is an Essential10 Book?
An E10 book will contain 10 things anyone thinks everyone should know about something. You can be an expert in your field, an expert in your own mind, or both…
Each book will contain 10 essential points about the subject of your choice.
What Makes E10 (Quite) Different
A book can be as long or as short as an author likes. A recommended length is 2500-10000 words (15-30 pages), but if you need to express yourself in 500 or 50000 words, go for it.
The author sets whatever price he or she wants to charge for their book. We recommend between $0.99 and $4.99, but if you think you can get $199.99, go for it. Like if you’re General McChrystal and you want to write The Essential 10 Secrets to Creating Peace in Afghanistan and the World, you could probably charge a pretty penny even if it was only 10 sentences long.
The author can change the price of the book anytime he or she wants. So you can experiment with charging $9.99 and if it doesn’t work, got to $2.99 and see what happens.
The manuscript is always live, meaning the author can change the manuscript anytime he or she wants. (There will be a small charge for revising more than two times.) An E10 book can always be updated and made current.
The community will discuss, review, and rate the books. A good book is one that serves as a focal point for creating a community of interest –these will become our best sellers.
The playing field is equal and sales will be based on actual merit rather than marketing strategies or track record.
And here are the kickers:
The author gets 75% of each sale.
It only costs $49 to be published and within 3 days, your book will be available for sale on the iPhone, Kindle store, and as an eBook. If you charge $4.99 per book, you only need to sell 10 to recoup your investment.
Why You Might Write an E10 Book
You possess expertise that you’d like to share.
You want to write and publishing something because it is your dream to do so.
You want to demonstrate that your ideas can sell before trying to get a publishing deal.
You have a book coming out that you’d like to promote and your E10 book will introduce people to it.
You have a business you’d like to promote.
You’re a publisher and you want to repurpose your backlist.
You have pre-existing material you’d like to repurpose for a wider or different audience.
You don’t know why you want to do it, you just do.
What E10 Will Do For You
Format your book for the iPhone store and sell it via our iPhone app and/or
Create an iPhone app for your book (costs extra)
Format your book for the Kindle store on Amazon and make it available for sale
Create an eBook from your manuscript and make it available for sale on our site
Give you a personalized author page on our website to promote yourself, your book, and your other activities
What E10 Will Not Do For You
Tell you what to write.
Tell you how long your book needs to be or what you should charge for it.
Publish you, if what you write is pornographic or incites hate.
Examples of E10 Books
Essential10 Most Poisonous Snakes of Costa Rica
Essential10 Things Every College Graduate Should Understand About Money
Essential10 Points of Mindful Leadership
Essential10 Guide to Building a Desk
Essential10 Guide to Editing Photos from your Digital Camera
Essential10 Ways to Pick Your Nose in Public
Essential10 Hard Questions for Adults and Their Aging Parents
Essential10 Ways to Survive a Zombie Attack
These are real titles of books being written for publication. As you can see, books can be practical, emotional, obscure, and/or playful. You can write whatever you want. (Except porn or hate.)
How To Get Started
Read this PDF.
Email me with questions!
Our site will launch in a few weeks. Please sign up to be invited to the beta test.
I truly believe that Essential10 is off and running with groundbreaking innovations in the world of publishing by making it possible to immediately publish concise, topical (digital-0nly) books that can serve as a focal point for creating communities of interest and intense dialog (nose-picking notwithstanding). This is the direction publishing is heading and I believe that E10 is among the first to get there.
Hello to the creative artists out there.
Hello to those of you who wish to live authentically and deeply.
Hello to anyone out there who is confused as hell about what this means.
I’m talking to all of you, including myself.
About a month ago, I was on the phone with a close friend who was utterly confused by his own life. He had started on his adult path with a clear connection to his creativity and purpose. But now, 15 years on, with a lucrative profession and a beautiful family, he had gotten himself to a place where everything looked good on the outside but felt bad on the inside. For years he had been asking himself if he should he quit his job, move to a different town, etc. He thought long. He thought hard. One day he thought this and the next day he thought that. But nothing changed. When we last spoke, he had reached the end of his rope. He said, “I need advice. I can’t keep going in circles like this. I’m just not happy but I don’t know why or what to do. I need someone I trust to tell me what to do.”
Fortunately, I knew exactly who to refer him to. Himself.
I’m not talking about the agitated, childhood-neurotic, moralistic, affirmation-saying self. That self just kept plaguing him with thought after thought after thought, laying out hopeful scenarios followed by fearful ones, debating with him in the voices of his mother, father, best friend, favorite writers, and various television stars. I’m talking about the self that exists just beyond the fringe of discursive, conventional mind, the self who sees clearly, possesses extraordinary insight, knows the truth, and can be called upon in every moment to guide with wisdom—if only we can remember to ask.
This self automatically steps forward when we relax and stop thinking that the problems we think we have can be solved by thinking some more about them.
This self automatically steps forward when we step out of the discursive stream and, rather than allowing it to carry us, watch it rush by. This is what happens when you meditate. It is also what happens when you write.
These realizations lead me to create a retreat that combines meditation and writing. During this program we slow down, unhook from our conventional lives, rest the mind in meditation, and then write to discover who we are, what we think, and what we need to express. It is meant for anyone who wants to reconnect with his or her authentic self. It also happens to be a fantastic way for those who write to take a deep dive into an existing project or start a new one—but no writing (or meditation) experience is necessary to take advantage of this program and receive its gifts.
So I suggested to my friend that he stop thinking and instead relax his mind. I suggested that he go on a meditation retreat and let the raging river of thought settle into a cool, clear stream where what is settled at the bottom is as evident as that which floats on the surface. This is how one makes space for wisdom to arise. I wish this for him, and I wish it for you.
Please email me if you think you might be interested in attending such a retreat, but think you can’t meditate, would never dare to call yourself a writer, or your life would fall apart if you walked out of it for 3 or 7 days. We could have a discussion.
September 18 – 25
Program Fee: $675
This price includes meals but does not include accommodations. To view scholarship and financial assistance resources, click here.
October 23 – 25, 2009
Meditation and Creativity
Red Feather Lakes, CO
Shambhala Mountain Center
Program fee: $315 – $595, including $155 tuition, depending on lodging. Price is all-inclusive.
October 23 – 29, 2009
Meditation and Creativity: An Extended Retreat with Susan Piver
Red Feather Lakes, CO
Shambhala Mountain Center
Program fee: $495 – $1,055, including $195 tuition, depending on lodging. Price is all-inclusive.
I had not written anything in a long time. The Writers’ Retreat gave me the space, time, and inward focus to let creativity happen naturally. I hadn’t realized how much I had to say. The meditation aspect of the retreat provided a peaceful structure where writing could be a pleasure once again instead of work.
Anne, Boston, Realtor
This course helped me integrate meditation skills such as serenity, focus, compassion, and insight into the areas of poetry and fiction. I am extremely grateful!
Brian, Ithaca, College Student
The growth I experienced in a few days was life changing.
Britta, NYC, Graphic Designer
I cannot recommend this writing and meditation retreat enough! Susan’s carefully considered practice schedule offers precisely the right balance of meditation and space in which to write. Her teaching style allows for full creative expression to unfold because she neither interferes with the writing process, nor does she abandon the writer to his or her own devices. The result is a profound deepening of the work of writing and the practice of meditation. I left with a much more sophisticated understanding of how these two practices are not only complimentary, but how meditation is crucial to the life of the writer. This is a very rare opportunity for anyone, indeed.
Crystal, NYC, Novelist
Susan Piver is very wise, intuitive, and insightful and has had great impact, with a very light touch.
Gil, St. Johnsbury, VT, Corporate Consultant
Susan is a caring, compassionate person whose presence, insights, and instructions made for a valuable week exploring meditation practice and writing.
Heather R, Albany, Travel Writer
I can’t imagine any way to improve this program because it was more than I could have asked for.
Kathy, Cleveland, Librarian
Emotionally moving, spiritually a gift, cathartic beyond my wildest imagination.
Miriam, Cambridge, Waitress
I’m teaching a Writers’ Retreat at the beautiful Shambhala Mountain Center in CO, Oct 23-29. Come for the weekend only (Oct 23-25) or the whole thing! It is very conducive to writing. No cell phone reception, no email! Just peace, quiet, and words. This program is built for you if you’ve ever said any (or all) of the following:
I know exactly what I want to write, I just haven’t written it down yet.
I have no idea what I want to write, but I just know (hope, fear) that I am a writer.
I’ve been working on this story/chapter/article for a long time and I’m completely stuck about where it’s all going.
Every time I sit down to write, I can’t think of what to say. But I know the story is in there.
I’ve been stuck in the middle of this book/chapter/article for __ days/months/years/lifetimes and I can’t seem to get it finished.
I have a deadline approaching and I haven’t even written one word! Or I did, but I hate it.
Every time I sit down to write ________ distracts me.
I don’t have time to write!!
This 6-minute video explains what the program is like:
The Shambhala Lodge: has about 30 rooms, some private, some semi-private, some dorm rooms
Private room, private bath interior
Sacred Studies Hall: Where some programs are held
Inside a program room.
I recently did a phone interview with The Writing Spirit. Since I’m just back from teaching a week-long meditation retreat for writers, I thought I’d post it, since these themes are very much on my mind.
JULIE: I see that you’re about to lead a new meditation retreat for writers in a week. Are you looking forward to it?
SUSAN: I’m looking forward to it very much. I have tremendous love for this combination, meditation and writing. They seem to go together extremely well.
JULIE: I agree. And that’s what I’d like to talk to you about today.
So, Susan, what type of meditation practice do you teach?
SUSAN: I teach a practice called Shamatha, which is a Sanskrit word that means calm abiding or tranquilly abiding. It dates from the time of the Buddha, about 2500 years ago, and is a basic breath awareness meditation; meaning, instead of allowing your thoughts to absorb your attention, you place your attention on your breath instead.
JULIE: Susan, how does meditation relate to mindfulness?
SUSAN: Well, meditation, I guess could be thought of as the cultivation of mindfulness. Because mindfulness, it’s come to be associated with many things, but I think all it is, is attention to the present moment, being in the present moment. Meditation is practicing being in the present moment so that when you’re off the cushion, you can more readily employ mindfulness as you wish.
But it’s not something in our very speedy world that we can just suddenly do. Okay, now I’m mindful, or I need to be more mindful. Well, yeah, we all need to be more mindful, but it’s not a matter of will. It’s a matter of practice and experience and a cultivation of mindfulness. And that’s what meditation does.
JULIE: Is there any aspect of surrender in that? Surrender to the moment? Or is it more cultivation?
SUSAN: Well, I don’t know. What do you mean by surrender?
JULIE: When talking about the willfulness and focusing on thought and not being in the moment. To me, being in the moment is a relaxing, is surrendering. So, I’m just wondering how that relates to your view of mindfulness and being in the moment?
SUSAN: I think you used the key word, which is relaxing…which is, I guess, the same thing as opening. I suppose surrender could mean the same thing. But at the same time, if you’re focused surrendering, you’re not paying attention. You know what I mean?
If you’re engaged in surrendering, you’re not so much engaged in what’s happening. And sometimes it feels great to be engaged in what’s happening, but sometimes it doesn’t feel very good. And you wish you didn’t have to. But, nonetheless, the ability to relax enough to relate with your world is critical. Perhaps you could call it surrendering or relaxing or allowing. I think we probably mean the same things by these words.
Here is the full transcript. Warning: it’s long….