As promised, I want to share my impressions of the writer’s retreat put together by Julie Tallard Johnson. I thought I would post this last weekend, but frankly, I needed to digest a bit.
I have no idea what I was expecting this to be. I went into it with as open a mind as possible, just knowing that I felt nudged to go and do this. Since I try really hard to listen when I get nudged, I went! The day was intense, draining, inspirational and flew by incredibly fast. That happens to me a lot when I write. I hit this “zone” and I would forget to eat if someone wasn’t there to remind me. I am still integrating a lot of what I learned in that one day, and I believe I will be continuing to do so for a while yet.
Julie definitely has a practiced hand at this type of workshop, and it shows in the details. From the start of the day, she had food at hand to feed our bodies and she shared tips, tricks and inspiration for our writer’s soul. Her focus for the day was on the creation of a book. For whatever reason, I hadn’t realized that when I signed up – but it was no problem. I think that anyone who writes has at least one (or 20) books brewing in their mind at any given moment. I focused on the one I would like most to see the light of day and the results were amazing.
Her tips and writer’s prompts worked for me, that’s for sure! I wrote more on my dream novel in that one day than I had produced in the three years I have been stewing over it. I also now have a much clearer image of the story and what needs to shine through. That alone would be gift enough to be worth every penny of the very reasonable fee she charged for the day. Yet, I got so much more. She helped me see that my poor novel suffers from two major issues: I am not giving it enough consistent attention (100 words a day is better than not writing anything at all) and I am my novel’s worst enemy. Literally, I can’t get out of my own way half the time. Given the chance, the story will shine through and burst on the word, but it needs me to let it happen.
Julie shows such an ease to her method of coaching potential authors, it seems like she is a natural-born teacher. That she loves doing this is very evident and I truly believe that is a good part of what makes her so good at it. If you have ever thought of writing a book (fiction or non), or if you want to explore the writer’s life as a spiritual path, I recommend you go to one of her sessions. At the very least, you will walk away with multiple ideas for how to connect to your story and bypass the writer’s blocks that are an inevitable part of the writer’s path.
I found out that Julie also offers a course that will have 8 lucky authors meet once a month for a year, fleshing out the book of their choice. I can not tell you how I wish I was one of those 8 for the session starting the first Wednesday in April. They will not only pair up with a writing partner and get feedback that way, but Julie will be a constructive critic for several pages a month of their work. With a year of that kind of focus and assistance, I am betting that most people could get very close to finishing a book-in-progress. Good luck to any of you that made it into that circle!
Her most intensive group is actually an initiation into the path of the writer. She has been offering this for years, and previous courses have been the source material for her book: Wheel of Initiation: Practices for Releasing Your Inner Light. This group will meet weekly – yes, WEEKLY. Over the course of the year, it will delve into the topics covered in the book and explore the life of the writer as a spiritual path.
I would add one more comment about her retreat. Her classes are so affordable, I don’t know if people might undervalue the opportunity. We are not talking here about a wannabe that is teaching what she can’t do. Julie Tallard Johnson has published 9 books, and has a 10th almost finished. She is an experienced author who is willing to share the knowledge she has gained about writing with others. It is her giveaway, her way of sharing the joy.
If you would like to explore more about Julie, check out her page at http://www.julietallardjohnson.com/.