The Magic of Magnetic Island

66006419_2447984801931476_8048283999874842624_n

Oh yes, it really is that beautiful! I arrived home last night from a wonderful extended stay on Magnetic Island, just off the coast from Townsville in North Queensland. Wish you could have been there too! Traditional home of the Wulgurukaba People and a true piece of paradise.

We had so much fun on retreat. A fabulous group of writers, from absolute beginners to those with books under their belts. Now freshly-minted mermaids!img_3710.jpg

It all started with drinks on the verandah with tame blue-winged kookaburras eating out of our hands. Those beaks were a bit scary!

IMG_3699

Champagne still in hand, workshops started and writing dreams began to take shape.

img_3689.jpg

Then dinner up at the Amaroo restaurant with all the gang : )

IMG_3698

Mornings were filled with yoga and dance with our resident dancing queen Lalita Lakshmi!

Then we got stuck into the business at hand – writing! With two writing workshops covering all the basics and focusing in on character development to shape plot we were plenty busy enough. We got lots of writing done and had masses of information to absorb, so we needed our princess naps in the afternoon.

img_3712.jpg

Some  retreaters took advantage of the extended break and explored the beautiful island and had a walk and a swim.

IMG_3746

Dinner on Saturday night was at Bikini Tree Restaurant where my friends Jen and Dan had prepared a delicious and plentiful Indian feast.

65311424_326924078209941_336352400916873216_n-1-e1562125975132.jpg

Even though we were stuffed to the gills (as mermaids get very hungry!) we managed to rouse ourselves for my personal highlight of the retreat  — candle dancing on the beach! The photo is blurry but you get the general idea of the fun of it. Lalita led us all in a joyful and playful celebration of life. I’m definitely keeping Lalita and dancing as part of the retreats.

65133037_10157294957043633_7484535070867324928_n

Sunday and more yoga and dancing and deep relaxation, some goal setting and another favourite part of the retreats, collage! Some collages were fun, some surprising, and others full of wonderful wishes that I hope all come true.

After farewelling all the lovely retreaters, my friend Vahida and I stayed on at Magnetic for another week, working on our own projects. Then Vahida left too, and I worked on in paradise editing a book for a friend of mine who lives on the island. Took the manuscript to the beach and worked on the sand : ) Yes! It’s not a bad life.

So now I’m home and back in the saddle, ready for more.

Life Writing Workshop this weekend at the CYA Conference Everything is a Genre Day. For the weekend (or day) ticket you get as many fabulous workshops as you can handle.

The following weekend I’m presenting Building Your Career as a Writer, at the QLD Writers Centre. You can come along in person or participate online as the session is streamed. I call this workshop – Many Fingers Many Pies, because it’s all about how to make money writing or doing things related to writing. We all have bills to pay, but it’s very nice to pay them by doing what we love.

And on Saturday 20 July I’m at Sunnybank Hill Library for a FREE WORKSHOP on the basics of creative writing. Would love to see you there. Come along and say hi : )

While I was away I also received feedback on my feature film screenplay from a Los Angeles script editor, so I’ll be busily redrafting over the next few months. Cross fingers it makes it to the big screen.

Coming soon is the launch of Bjelke Blues, a book of stories about life in Queensland under Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, that I’ve been collecting and editing for AndAlso Books. Super excited about that. It’s heading to the printers very soon. As soon as I have the cover I’ll be showing it off. Launch is booked for Friday August 23. More on that later,

Next retreat is set for November 8 – 10 at Burleigh Heads. I’m designing it as dual purpose.

A planning and writing retreat to super boost people doing NANOWRIMO.

And for those women with a finished manuscript (or almost finished) already done, a feedback and redrafting weekend, with personalised feedback from me on the first 10 pages and your synopsis and also feedback from a small group of your peers. That way you get to talk about the book you’re working on with people who understand just how much work you’ve done and how precious your project is.

If you’d like more information about the Burleigh Retreat, would like to secure your spot, or just sign up for newsletters to keep you up to date with the retreats or to receive my hints, tips and opportunities GET IN TOUCH.

Hope to see some of you soon at one of the workshops.

Happy Writing till then!

IMG_3818

Lots of love,

Edwina xx

 

RELAX AND WRITE IN PARADISE!

Things-to-Do-Magnetic-Island

Escape the winter blues! Come and join us at the next Relax and Write Retreat on MAGNETIC ISLAND! Yes!! JUNE 21 – 23 2019

Just off the coast of Townsville in tropical far north Queensland we’re practically guaranteed sunshine and warmth and turquoise waters, just like these.

I’ve stayed on Magnetic Island – or Maggie as the locals call her – a few times over the past few years. It’s a magical place with giant boulders, pine trees, coral reef to explore and glorious unspoilt beaches.

72b85c8c5d7ebad54d34ba4b2e0fe733

That’s not me in the picture by the way : )

We’ll be staying in air-conditioned comfort at Amaroo on Mandalay – a whole lot comfier than the dorms we’ve been used to! Air-conditioned twin share or a room to yourself, balconies and kitchenettes, beautiful tropical gardens and even a magnesium swimming pool and a bar!

Not that you’ll need your kitchenettes much, as all meals except lunches are catered for, including a fabulous Saturday night Indian feast by the beach.

Most exciting of all, my fabulous Creative Dance teacher, the lovely Lalita Lakshmi, is joining us for the morning yoga and movement classes and a special dance session on the beach on Saturday night!LALITA PHOTO la swirly

Four writing workshops are included, covering all the basics of creative writing, whether you want to write fiction, memoir, poetry or for the screen or stage. So be ready to get stuck into your stories. Let me help you get them out of your head and onto the page.

IMG_3520

Brian at Amaroo has offered retreaters fantastic rates on extra nights, so extend your stay and relax into writing after all the workshops.

Enjoy the sun and the beaches and the company of all the wonderful new friends you’ll make on retreat.

IMG_3478

Treat yourself to this weekend away in the sun to write and swim and rediscover your creativity and sense of joy.

All this fun and learning for only $550 pp twin share or $660 for a room of your own!

Or if you pay before May 31st 2019

Just click here to pay $520 twin share (just email me to let me know who your’e sharing with)

Or $630 for a room of your own.

Find more information at the Facebook event page.

Or get in touch with me for all the details and to book.

Don’t miss out! Places ares strictly limited to only 15 participants and they’re filling up fast.

We always have a wonderful time. Hope to see you there!

lots of love,

Edwina xx

amaroo5

Put yourself in this picture! : D

PROCRASTINATION, PERFECTIONISM AND A HARSH INNER CRITIC: The Enemies of Writing and How to Defeat Them!

Woman scrubbingDo you put off writing until after the whole house is cleaned, including sorting out those kitchen cupboards and scrubbing the bathroom tiles with a toothbrush? Do you start writing but then never get very far past the first paragraph because you can’t get it quite right and that first sentence is so sucky? Do you feel too inadequate to even start writing, even though you’ve secretly wanted to all your life? Or do you finally write something, but then tear it to shreds and bin it before it’s even had a chance to breathe?

Don’t worry, you’re certainly not alone. Every writer faces these demons – the holy trinity of FEAR. That’s really what these deadly (well to your writing anyway) sins boil down to – plain old boring fear.

 Procrastination

Add_Ons_Magnets-50_460x

Procrastination is a protective device. If you put something off long enough, you’ll never have to write it, or you’ll have being rushed as an excuse for when you decide that it’s utter crap and that you’re as talentless as you thought. If that sounds like you, then your procrastination is really harsh inner critic lurking in the background just waiting for you to finish the housework and probably complaining about how you’re doing it too – look there’s a spot you missed!

But hang on a minute, what if it’s not crap? What if actually for a first draft it’s pretty damned good? What if writing it was the most fun you’ve had in ages? Certainly a whole lot more fun than cleaning the bathroom.

Perfectionism

gypsy-rose-lee-1941-women-at-typewriter

Perfectionism won’t ever let you finish anything. Because if it’s not perfect, and how actually can anything be, then it’s not any good at all. That first sentence demands to be rewritten a hundred times, so you never get any further into your story. Even if you do get all the way through, perfectionism won’t ever let you submit it anywhere because it’s never quite right. Never quite good enough.

Guess what? Perfectionism is just another protection device – protecting you from the criticism of others while you beat yourself up with your own, much harsher, criticism. It’s another face of that horrid inner critic trying to stop you making a fool of yourself.

Well thanks, but no thanks. Because nothing is ever really perfect. Ask any writer, any artist. There’s always something you can fix or change, even with published work. At some point though, you just have to let it go. Step back and send it out into the world.

9780091947446

“Feel the fear and do it anyway,” as Susan Jeffers famously said in her book of the same name.

Fear used to serve us well. When we lived in caves, fear told us to stay away from that cave where the beast lived and not to eat that berry that made Aunty so sick. But these days most of our fears have become internalised and turn into anxiety. It’s not really our friend any more.

 

Fear has many faces. Most horribly it is the face of our harsh inner critic.

 

Your Inner Critic and how to tame it.

clarabowbox

Like fire, inner critics are wonderful servants but terrible masters. To write successfully, critics must be tamed and trained and forced to play nicely with our delicate creator selves in order to make our writing the best it can be. The craft of writing demands a domesticated critic to edit our messy first drafts, but that’s later. First, we have to get that messy first draft written.

Inner critics can be fatal to writing. First drafts need freedom – when we create we’re playing and mucking around, making stuff up. We don’t need a nasty critic hanging over our shoulder whispering abuse. I like to send mine from the room!

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, Mary Philbin, Lon Chaney, 1925

It helps to know the face of your enemy.

rabid_squirrel_postcard-r5105695b7151488c9754e7b5013d2197_vgbaq_8byvr_307One writer described her critic as rabid squirrels in camouflage gear. Another described his as a giant, grumpy, old geezer. It could be a mean older sister, or a stern father who thinks doing anything creative is a waste of time. Mine looks like my third-grade teacher. A nun in a habit. With a ruler. She always liked to pull me down a peg or two.

Here’s a writing exercise to help identify and defeat your critic.

 

WRITE: Your Inner Critic

Set your timer for ten minutes and write about your inner critic.

Was it your mum who was always finding fault, or was it that awful teacher in high school who tore your short story to pieces in front of the class?smoking nuns

Whether your critic is based on a real person or is a monster from nightmares, a dragon with gnashing teeth dripping with blood, get it down on paper. If there is a specific incident you remember, or a particularly bad attack from your critic, then write that down too. Get into the meaty details. Take more time if you need to. If you’d like to, draw a picture. What you do with this picture is up to you. You can burn it, or shred it, or put a big red cross through it, but perhaps if it’s your mum maybe just stick a bit of plaster over her mouth!

Once you have this clear picture in mind you can begin to train your critic. You can train them to leave the room. Trick the squirrels with some peanuts and tempt them into another room while you get a first draft done. Tell the old fart you’ll let him have his turn in a while, after you’ve written your five hundred words for the day. Take the ruler out of the nun’s hand and send her to confession for the few hours you have available for writing. If they know they’ll be allowed back later, they will, most likely, go happily. If they start skulking back, however, then gently remind them that this time is yours, they’ll be welcome in a while.

In my workshops, retreats and even at the creative writing classes I teach at university, I always start with a guided relaxation to help participants send that critic from the room. I’ve found the results to be outstanding.

Try it for yourself!

RELAX: Meditation for removing your inner critic

meditating

Sit and breathe deeply, bringing your attention inwards, then slowly relax your whole body. Once you’re relaxed, visualise your critic and imagine sending them from the room. I like to send them to the nearest body of water and drop them in there. Don’t worry they always find their way back in time for the next draft!

I’m working on a recording of the guided meditation I use in workshops. If you’d like to be kept in the loop and be one of the first to use it then click HERE.

Once you’ve sent your critic away, then I like to set a timer. 10 minutes, half an hour. It helps give me that sense of urgency procrastinators thrive on (procrastinator – who me?). Then WRITE! Write like a fury. Write like you’ve only got 10 minutes until the world ends and you’ve just got to get your story down. Spelling and punctuation don’t matter. Just go where your brain flow takes you. Follow tangents, explore weird things that pop up. Let the story show you where it wants to go.

Nothing matters in that first draft except being in the flow and trusting your own creativity. Remember – Writing is fun! Creating is playing. Take all the pressure off and enjoy yourself mucking around with words and making up stories.

 Let go and let the words flow!

woman writing

Let me know how you go. Did these techniques work for you? What other tricks do you know forgetting those first drafts done? Are you a procrastinator or a perfectionist – or both. What does your inner critic look like?

If you’d like to experience just how freeing doing a guided relaxation and meditation can be for liberating your creativity and getting you writing, then please contact me HERE for information about my upcoming RETREATS.

Or sign on HERE to get regular updates and hints and tips for your writing.

GOOD LUCK taming those critics.

Happy writing!

woman typing

Lots of love,

Edwina xx

TEN GREAT CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS FOR WRITERS plus DATES FOR RELAX AND WRITE 4!

Need some ideas for the writers in your life? Here’s my top picks and some news about the next Relax and Write retreat too.

RELAX AND WRITE

christmas_deer

Here’s my pick for great gifts for the writer in your life – or as a special treat for yourself if you’re the one scribbling away like a fury.
1. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.artists way

I recommend this book to just about everyone I meet. It was the book that got me finally acting towards my long-held dream of being a writer. It’s practical, uplifting and guaranteed to get you writing or painting or dancing – or whatever creative pursuit brings you joy.

2. A room with a door that closes – or at the very least a screen to close off a corner of another room. That’s what I have, and it works just fine. Writers need a space of their own and plenty of privacy – we often do quite crazy things when we’re writing, and it can scare other people!
3. Bird by Bird by Anne…

View original post 623 more words

Merry Christmas!

Snowman-writer_004

The end of another year! Here’s hoping Santa brings you all you’ve wished for, plus just a little bit extra.

It’s been a big busy year for me with lots of teaching, both writing and yoga, a wonderful adventure to Cape York researching my Castaway project, the fabulous fun of our first ever Relax and Write Retreat in September, and then the pouring in of good things – like the KSP residency next year, the news that good old Thrill Seekers is being given a new lease of life with a brand new imprint in 2018, and best of all, the support of Screen QLD for the development of my “Dear Madman” screenplay.

I’ve been busily writing and learning from my mentor, the incredible Stephen Lance whose new film The Second will be released next year. It’s an exciting new beginning for me.

You’re never too old to start something new!

Wishing you all a healthy, happy new year full of grand adventures, creative inspiration, bum glue, and most of all lots of love and financial support for all your endeavours.

-christmas-writing-merry-christmas Need more REJOICING in your life? Join us at the next retreat. For information on the upcoming Relax and Write Retreat please click HERE

RELAX AND WRITE RETREAT 2018

sunset evans head

YAY! Dates are now set for the next Relax and Write Retreat!
Friday March 16 – Monday 19th 2018
Feeling like you deserve a special treat this Christmas?
This retreat may be just the ticket.
Three nights away in a beautiful beachside location with like-minded women, relaxing with gentle yoga and inspiring your inner writer with fun writing workshops.
It will still be lovely and warm in March so bring your swimmers and sunblock. We’ll be staying at the beautifully basic Camp Koinonia in Evans Head, Northern NSW

relax writers outside

So, whether you’re a writer in need of relaxation and a good stretch, or a yoga practitioner yearning to write, this is the retreat for you.
Here’s what participants from the 2017 retreat had to say…
“Edwina and Helena have an easy style of putting people at ease and making each individual feel welcome and they were flexible in altering the program to meet the needs of the participants.”
“It was a great break away, affordable and I left feeling refreshed and with a significant amount of writing done.”
“I came away with a lot of information about entering into the field of professional writing as well as a wealth of ideas and starting points for fiction and memoir writing.”

Also announcing our MORE DASH THAN CASH positions. Would you love to do a retreat like this but don’t have the available funds right now? We know what that’s like (and we need some helpers!) so we’ve created a couple of sponsored positions.
Apply for one of our supported spots where for a few hours assistance with kitchen and other duties you can join us at a greatly reduced cost.

For more information and to book please contact Helena:
helenapastor2@gmail.com or
phone 0447 334 665

relax and write yoga

So, come along and join our merry band of scribes and mermaids. Relax, write and enjoy yourself in a beautiful coastal setting with experienced workshop facilitators and published authors Helena Pastor and Edwina Shaw – see their bios HERE.
Unwind with yoga and free your creative voice with lots of fun writing activities and workshops. All only a minute’s walk from a glorious beach surrounded by national park where you can swim, walk, laze in the sun or meditate to your heart’s content.
Pick up from Coolangatta or Ballina airports is available if you’re coming from afar.
PROGRAM for March 2018
Friday
2 pm onwards – checking in
5:30 – meet and greet, drinks and nibbles
6:30 – Deep relaxation and introductory writing exercises
7:30 – Dinner
Saturday
7:30 – 9 am – Gentle morning yoga and breathing exercises with Edwina
10:30 – 12:30 – Writing Your Way into a Story – Helena
FREE TIME FOR LUNCH AND BEACH ACTIVITIES
3:30 – 5:30 – Using yoga and drama techniques for developing your characters – Edwina
7pm – dinner
Open Mic Night. If you would like to, please bring along a song or other musical item, a poem, a short performance piece or whatever else you would like to share 
Sunday
7:30 – 9 am – Yoga with Edwina
10:30 – 12:30 – Structuring for Suspense – Edwina
Excursion to Chinaman’s Beach for picnic lunch and freewriting
4pm – 6 pm – Writing Dialogue – Helena
7 pm – dinner
Monday
7:30 – 9 am – Yoga with Edwina
10:30 – 12:30 – Pitching your work – from bios to synopses to grant applications – E and H
Feedback and farewells.
For more information and to book please contact Helena:
helenapastor2@gmail.com or
phone 0447 334 665

Helena and Edwina photoCome along and join the fun. We’d love to have you with us.
Get in fast. Places are strictly limited to no more than 15 places.

TREAT YOURSELF!

 

logo relax and writeIt’s glorious weather here in Brisbane this week. Just right for the beach!

Are you in need of some rest and relaxation? In need of a whole body/ mind/ spirit makeover? Exhausted from serving the needs of others all day every day like most women?

meditating on beach

Treat yourself to a retreat by the sea to rejuvenate your body, nurture your creativity and inspire your heart. Come and join me, Helena, and the ten wonderful women who’ve already joined up, for a weekend of deep relaxation, gentle yoga and fun writing classes.

I guarantee you’ll thank yourself over and over again.

We’re busily planning and organising the finer details – like desserts. I hope everyone likes chocolate self-saucing pudding and ice-cream 🙂

Here’s a picture of me in my happiest of happy places, under a tree on a beautiful beach – writing. You too could look this happy (and silly and covered in sunscreen!)

Edwina beach writing

Car-pooling, single rooms and pick-ups from nearby airports are all possible. Only a couple of weeks till we’re off, so get in now while we still have a few vacancies.

Come along. You deserve it! We’d love to have you with us.

More information is in my previous post. Or contact Helena at helenapastor2@gmail.com for all the details and booking forms.