Ease Lessons for Writers

Monna McDiarmid

In your writing life, no matter how hard you work or how well you plan, things won't always unfold the way you'd hoped. In Ease Lessons for Writers, we explore what gets in the way of our writing, why that happens, and why it matters. Together we learn how to make our writing easier and more joyful.  I'm your host, Monna McDiarmid, a writer and coach based in Japan and Nova Scotia. Website: monnamcdiarmid.com/ | Newsletter: monnamcdiarmid.com/subscribe/ | Instagram: @monnamcdiarmidwrites/ | Patreon: @MonnaMcDiarmid

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Episodes

36. Caroline Donahue (Season 3, Episode 3/3)
Sep 28 2022
36. Caroline Donahue (Season 3, Episode 3/3)
TODAY'S GUEST: CAROLINE DONAHUEAs a book-loving Writing and Book Coach, Caroline doesn't believe there is any force more powerful in this world than writing. With a Masters in Psychology and Expressive Arts, and a subsequent career in the book world that began with working in a bookshop, progressing through editing and producing a thrice annual auction catalogue, to proofreading for a prominent ad agency, she has apprenticed herself to writing for over ten years. In 2016, she launched The Secret Library Podcast and has since interviewed over 100 writers, editors, agents, and publishers to get to the bottom of what it takes to write a book. She is currently writing her own novel and co-editing the anthology, I Wrote it Anyway.Homework Invitations for Conversation 3:1. Conceive of a simple and elegant ritual (purple velvet gown optional) to begin your writing sessions.2. Read Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman.3. Talk with a writer (or two) about the idea of making MORE of your living as a writer through the books themselves.Where to find Caroline:Website: https://www.carolinedonahue.com/Podcast: https://www.secretlibrarypodcast.com/*****ABOUT EASE LESSONS:Music: “Meekness” by Kai Engel, used under Creative Commons Attribution licenseEditor: Damien PitterHost: Monna McDiarmid (pronounced Mona McDermid) | Writer, Coach and CounselorWebsite: MonnaMcDiarmid.comNewsletter: The Sunday ReaderPatreon:  where I share monthly excerpts from my writing memoir in progressInstagram: @monnamcdiarmid
35. Caroline Donahue (Season 3, Episode 2/3)
Sep 20 2022
35. Caroline Donahue (Season 3, Episode 2/3)
TODAY'S GUEST: CAROLINE DONAHUEAs a book-loving Writing and Book Coach, Caroline doesn't believe there is any force more powerful in this world than writing. With a Masters in Psychology and Expressive Arts, and a subsequent career in the book world that began with working in a bookshop, progressing through editing and producing a thrice annual auction catalogue, to proofreading for a prominent ad agency, she has apprenticed herself to writing for over ten years. In 2016, she launched The Secret Library Podcast and has since interviewed over 100 writers, editors, agents, and publishers to get to the bottom of what it takes to write a book. She is currently writing her own novel and co-editing the anthology, I Wrote it Anyway.Homework Invitations for Conversation 3:1. Conceive of a simple and elegant ritual (purple velvet gown optional) to begin your writing sessions.2. Read Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman.3. Talk with a writer (or two) about the idea of making MORE of your living as a writer through the books themselves.Where to find Caroline:Website: https://www.carolinedonahue.com/Podcast: https://www.secretlibrarypodcast.com/*****ABOUT EASE LESSONS:Music: “Meekness” by Kai Engel, used under Creative Commons Attribution licenseEditor: Damien PitterHost: Monna McDiarmid (pronounced Mona McDermid) | Writer, Coach and CounselorWebsite: MonnaMcDiarmid.comNewsletter: The Sunday ReaderPatreon:  where I share monthly excerpts from my writing memoir in progressInstagram: @monnamcdiarmid
34. Caroline Donahue (Season 3, Episode 1/3)
Sep 14 2022
34. Caroline Donahue (Season 3, Episode 1/3)
TODAY'S GUEST: CAROLINE DONAHUEAs a book-loving Writing and Book Coach, Caroline doesn't believe there is any force more powerful in this world than writing. With a Masters in Psychology and Expressive Arts, and a subsequent career in the book world that began with working in a bookshop, progressing through editing and producing a thrice annual auction catalogue, to proofreading for a prominent ad agency, she has apprenticed herself to writing for over ten years. In 2016, she launched The Secret Library Podcast and has since interviewed over 100 writers, editors, agents, and publishers to get to the bottom of what it takes to write a book. She is currently writing her own novel and co-editing the anthology, I Wrote it Anyway.HOMEWORK INVITATIONS :1. Field Notes on experiments with time and time boxesConduct a set of gentle experiments about your writing times. Write at different times of the day. Try writing before you check your calendar for the day and between appointments. Make notes on writing experiments re: how you feel in your body, how much spaciousness or resistance you feel, and how playful the writing time feels to you. You're tracking your own ease.2. Tarot for The WriterTry pulling cards as a gift to you, the writer. What do you not know yet that would be of tremendous help to your future self? (Your future self who has no money or novels published.)3. Email to a StudentThink of a writing student or client who might come to you with a similar issue. They run an online business and have created the life and schedule they've always yearned for but find it increasingly difficult to find or make time for their writing. The issue isn't insufficient time but rather that your student keeps prioritizing those activities that are in service of other people and that make money. She is genuinely perplexed. You write her an email of encouragement and support, and share some tips on how she might think differently about her situation in order to help her ease back into her writing chair.b) Talk with a couple of students or colleagues whom you trust and request their wisdom.4. PermissionWhat is the simplest statement of permission you need to give yourself? What is the essence of this permission slip? You could:allow it to be messy or awkward or uncomfortable. (I am LEARNING how to own a business that sustains me while writing.)make your own writing the most important work that you do (Come up with a method by which you pay yourself for the time you spend writing!)allow yourself to fall in love again with your writing process. (I believe it was Elizabeth Gilbert who referred to this as having an affair with her writing)take a break from writingwrite three days a week instead of fiveb) Display your slip and/or create a ritual to let the Universe know where you'd like some help.Where to find Caroline:Website: https://www.carolinedonahue.com/Podcast: https://www.secretlibrarypodcast.com/*****ABOUT EASE LESSONS:Music: “Meekness” by Kai Engel, used under Creative Commons Attribution licenseEditor: Damien PitterHost: Monna McDiarmid (pronounced Mona McDermid) | Writer, Coach and CounselorWebsite: MonnaMcDiarmid.comNewsletter: The Sunday ReaderPatreon:  where I share monthly excerpts from my writing memoir in progressInstagram: @monnamcdiarmid
33. Michelle (Season 3, Episode 3/3)
Sep 6 2022
33. Michelle (Season 3, Episode 3/3)
TODAY'S GUEST: MICHELLEToday's episode is my third and final conversation with Michelle, a mom of two and an attorney who prefers storytelling to legalese, as well as an open heart over the analytical mind. She believes that when her heart and mind work as one, that's where the magic happens, and she has been on a lifelong journey to connect them both. She received her first tarot card deck at age thirteen and Reiki certifications at age sixteen. After that she earned certification after certification in Astrology, Spiritual Bathing, Life Coaching and Mindfulness Education amongst many others. Meanwhile, Michelle never believed she was “special enough” to be an author, and instead worked as Senior Associate at the largest employment law firm in the world for over ten years. In February, she left her law career and is finally learning to just be. She plans to self publish her first spiritual novel in 2022 under a pen name.  Thanks for this conversation, Michelle.HOMEWORK INVITATIONS FROM OUR SECOND CONVERSATION:1. Problem party | Form a group with one or two other people in which you talk about your writing in much the way that we did in Rachel‘s hot seats. This is a group of people who will support your writing and for whom you will also be a support. 2. Medium | Give yourself a publish date for this piece, a date that allows for the writing logistics as well as being prepared for people's comments and judgment.3. Time blocking | This is where you create a new writing schedule in which you don’t push yourself too hard but you keep moving forward with regularity. You can think of this as a writing promise to yourself. One idea is to have a 2 to 3 hour chunk of writing every week during which a babysitter cares for your children.READ ABOUT MICHELLE AND HER BOOK:Website:  www.violetdeluna.comMedium: My husband cheated on me 8 years ago, when I was pregnant and after I gave birth*****ABOUT EASE LESSONS:Music: “Meekness” by Kai Engel, used under Creative Commons Attribution licenseEditor: Damien PitterHost: Monna McDiarmid (pronounced Mona McDermid) | Writer, Coach and CounselorWebsite: MonnaMcDiarmid.comNewsletter: The Sunday ReaderPatreon:  where I share monthly excerpts from my writing memoir in progressInstagram: @monnamcdiarmid
32. Michelle (Season 3, Episode 2/3)
Aug 30 2022
32. Michelle (Season 3, Episode 2/3)
TODAY'S GUEST: MICHELLEToday's episode is my second conversation with Michelle, a mom of two and an attorney who prefers storytelling to legalese, as well as an open heart over the analytical mind. She believes that when her heart and mind work as one, that's where the magic happens, and she has been on a lifelong journey to connect them both. She received her first tarot card deck at age thirteen and Reiki certifications at age sixteen. After that she earned certification after certification in Astrology, Spiritual Bathing, Life Coaching and Mindfulness Education amongst many others. Meanwhile, Michelle never believed she was “special enough” to be an author, and instead worked as Senior Associate at the largest employment law firm in the world for over ten years. In February, she left her law career and is finally learning to just be. She plans to self publish her first spiritual fiction novel in 2022 under a pen name.  Thanks for this conversation, Michelle.HOMEWORK INVITATIONS FROM OUR SECOND CONVERSATION:1. Problem party | Form a group with one or two other people in which you talk about your writing in much the way that we did in Rachel‘s hot seats. This is a group of people who will support your writing and for whom you will also be a support. 2. Medium | Give yourself a publish date for this piece, a date that allows for the writing logistics as well as being prepared for people's comments and judgment.3. Time blocking | This is where you create a new writing schedule in which you don’t push yourself too hard but you keep moving forward with regularity. You can think of this as a writing promise to yourself. One idea is to have a 2 to 3 hour chunk of writing every week during which a babysitter cares for your children.READ ABOUT MICHELLE AND HER BOOK:Website:  www.violetdeluna.com Medium: My husband cheated on me 8 years ago, when I was pregnant and after I gave birth *****ABOUT EASE LESSONS:Music: “Meekness” by Kai Engel, used under Creative Commons Attribution licenseEditor: Damien PitterHost: Monna McDiarmid (pronounced Mona McDermid) | Writer, Coach and CounselorWebsite: MonnaMcDiarmid.comNewsletter: The Sunday ReaderPatreon:  where I share monthly excerpts from my writing memoir in progressInstagram: @monnamcdiarmid
31. Michelle (Season 3, Episode 1/3)
Aug 23 2022
31. Michelle (Season 3, Episode 1/3)
TODAY'S GUEST: MICHELLEToday's episode is my first conversation with Michelle, a mom of two and an attorney who prefers storytelling to legalese, as well as an open heart over the analytical mind. She believes that when her heart and mind work as one, that's where the magic happens, and she has been on a lifelong journey to connect them both. She received her first tarot card deck at age thirteen and Reiki certifications at age sixteen. After that she earned certification after certification in Astrology, Spiritual Bathing, Life Coaching and Mindfulness Education amongst many others. Meanwhile, Michelle never believed she was “special enough” to be an author, and instead worked as Senior Associate at the largest employment law firm in the world for over ten years. In February, she left her law career and is finally learning to just be. She plans to self publish her first spiritual fiction novel in 2022 under a pen name.  Thanks for this conversation, Michelle.HOMEWORK INVITATIONS FROM OUR FIRST CONVERSATION:1. Community | Think about your community of writers. Choose two or three people you like, trust and respect. Reach out to them and invite this group to a zoom call in which you get their support as a writer. It’s also important that they have a chance to congratulate you on the amazing progress you’ve already made.2. Thank You Letter | Imagine the experience of a person who is going through infidelity in their relationship. They search online for some resources and find your book. After they finished reading it, they reached out to you to thank you. What do they write? Please write this letter.3. Pen Name | As you have already created a pen name for your book, devise an opportunity to try it out. You might write a piece that is connected to your novel's theme of infidelity and publish it on the website you’ve created, as an Instagram post, or on a platform like Medium. How does it feel to have a piece of your writing associated with this pen name?4. Freedom and Shame | Write about the relationship between freedom and shame.READ ABOUT MICHELLE AND HER BOOK:Website:  www.violetdeluna.comMedium: My husband cheated on me 8 years ago, when I was pregnant and after I gave birth*****ABOUT EASE LESSONS:Music: “Meekness” by Kai Engel, used under Creative Commons Attribution licenseEditor: Damien PitterHost: Monna McDiarmid (pronounced Mona McDermid) | Writer, Coach and CounselorWebsite: MonnaMcDiarmid.comNewsletter: The Sunday ReaderPatreon:  where I share monthly excerpts from my writing memoir in progressInstagram: @monnamcdiarmid
28. Lala Hulse (Season 3, Episode 1/3)
Aug 2 2022
28. Lala Hulse (Season 3, Episode 1/3)
TODAY'S GUEST: LALA HULSEToday's episode is my first conversation with Lala Hulse, an artist and musician who is trying to get her creative life back together after moving halfway around the world during a pandemic. She believes everyone can draw and everyone can sing.Thanks for this conversation, Lala.HOMEWORK INVITATIONS FROM TODAY'S CONVERSATION1.    You are tireda)    Create a symbolic grieving ritual that captures your exhaustion and indicates to the Universe that you’d like a little help with this. Your ritual might involve fire, air, water, or Earth.b)    Be gentle with yourself. This does not come naturally to most of us. Treat yourself and speak to your tired self the way you would to your beloved people.c)    Get a good night’s sleep. Nap. Eat well. Use the good moisturizer on your skin. Take breaks in your workday. (You can set an alarm, so you remember to go back to work). Go outside. Hug trees etc.2.    Your Future Self Has No ArtWhat’s the tiniest promise you could make to your future self about making art now? Write it down and then set it to music so you can sing it to yourself.3.    Love-trickingIt’s true. You will need to love-trick yourself. I'm sorry about that!I wonder if you might make an artist date with yourself for two or three nights a week on a night that your wife is preparing dinner. You could give yourself an amount of time (15 minutes, for example) as a place to start and if you feel like drawing for longer than that, go with it. Put these dates in yours and your wife's calendars so she knows when they’re happening.4.    Art-FriendsWhen Covid allows, take an in-person class, or join a club/group where you meet other artists and potential friends. Friends and sleep have a very high return on investment.5.    A question to consider:What does work-life balancing look like right now?A few years ago I wrote this piece called The Womanly Art of Leaning Out. It’s about the idea that for most of us, 80 percent is good enough. It's got some important ideas for you.*****ABOUT EASE LESSONS:Music: “Meekness” by Kai Engel, used under Creative Commons Attribution licenseEditor: Damien PitterHost: Monna McDiarmid (pronounced Mona McDermid) | Writer, Coach and CounselorWebsite: MonnaMcDiarmid.comNewsletter: The Sunday ReaderPatreon:  where I share monthly excerpts from my writing memoir in progressInstagram: @monnamcdiarmid
27. Elizabeth (Season 3, Episode 3/3)
Jul 26 2022
27. Elizabeth (Season 3, Episode 3/3)
TODAY'S GUEST: ELIZABETHToday's episode is my second with Elizabeth who is in the process of becoming. She currently does laundry, dishes, drives carpools, and fills remaining “confetti time" with reading, writing, playing piano, thinking, and staring at a screensaver of a vine-covered tree. Along with her husband, she cares for two human children and an elderly pug in Richmond, Virginia, USA. Prior to this all-consuming undertaking, she worked as a writer and professional naming consultant for 20+ years on more than 150 product and corporate naming projects. In 2010, she published Finding Thalhimers (Dementi Milestone Publishing) about her father’s family and their department store, which existed for 150 years. Elizabeth loves breakfast, expensive dark chocolate, unapologetic authenticity, and laughing really hard. Thanks for this conversation, Elizabeth.HOMEWORK INVITATIONS FROM LAST EPISODE1. Writing while ParentingCreate a time box (two to three hours) for your writing. Decide how many days a week you would like to write and choose whether you will track your writing through time or words. Track your writing between now and our next conversation with the knowledge that you get to rejig your plan going forward. Remember you are going to write this novel one draft (or pass) at a time.2. BlasphemyCreate a permission slip for yourself to write the most blasphemous things.3. Parenting (from Elizabeth)What are you parenting?What are you parenting?by Monna McDiarmid1. A jade plant.  Okay. Things went badly.2. Poems and stories.No longer babies, I send themoff to school and work.3. The dream of a dog  I’ve not yet met. A golden retriever, I call him Sam.4. The white spacearound the marginsof my too full life.It tells me about FOMO.I urge it to stay home.5. Hope.I coax it outof the shadowsand hold it close.Stick with me, kid.I can’t do this without you*****ABOUT EASE LESSONS:Music: “Meekness” by Kai Engel, used under Creative Commons Attribution licenseEditor: Damien PitterHost: Monna McDiarmid (pronounced Mona McDermid) | Coach, Writer and CounselorWebsite: MonnaMcDiarmid.comNewsletter: The Sunday ReaderPatreon:  where I share monthly excerpts from my writing memoir in progressInstagram: @monnamcdiarmid
26. Elizabeth (Season 3, Episode 2/3)
Jul 19 2022
26. Elizabeth (Season 3, Episode 2/3)
TODAY'S GUEST: ELIZABETHToday's episode is my second with Elizabeth who is in the process of becoming. She currently does laundry, dishes, drives carpools, and fills remaining “confetti time" with reading, writing, playing piano, thinking, and staring at a screensaver of a vine-covered tree. Along with her husband, she cares for two human children and an elderly pug in Richmond, Virginia, USA. Prior to this all-consuming undertaking, she worked as a writer and professional naming consultant for 20+ years on more than 150 product and corporate naming projects. In 2010, she published Finding Thalhimers (Dementi Milestone Publishing) about her father’s family and their department store, which existed for 150 years. Elizabeth loves breakfast, expensive dark chocolate, unapologetic authenticity, and laughing really hard. Thanks for this conversation, Elizabeth.HOMEWORK INVITATIONS1. Writing while ParentingCreate a time box (two to three hours) for your writing.Decide how many days a week you would like to write and choose whether you will track your writing through time or words.Track your writing between now and our next conversation with the knowledge that you get to rejig your plan going forward.Remember you are going to write this novel one draft (or pass) at a time.2. BlasphemyCreate a permission slip for yourself to write the most blasphemous things.3. Parenting (from Elizabeth)What are you parenting?TODAY WE MENTIONED1. Books:Love that Dog: A Novel by Sharon CreechHate That Cat: A Novel by Sharon Creech2. A poem in response to the prompt: What cannot be destroyedWrite a poem about the idea of what cannot be destroyed. Elizabeth gave Monna the same homework.Courage, my loveby Monna McDiarmidWhen I imagine peoplereading my poems and storiesmy face flashes red,the lion that lives in my chestshakes its headstandsand roars.It's either menopause or shame.A shame that predates the event.Time travelingAnticipatory shame.Publishing feels impossible, all those eyes on my shitty sentences.Slamthe heavy wooden box of wordsclosed.Bury it in the backyard.Never speak of this again.The wise crone in me says,“Everyone feels this way. Everyone.You think they will judge you? They will.Even if you don’t publish a word.Decide what you want, love.Decide what you want.”She’s a magnificent bitch, my croneand she’s right.The lion stops roaring,saunters into my junglehot and verdant.All the hard things have led me to this.Loss of love, health, and money,that one terrible boss.I’ve been collecting my courageto light myself on firewith the heat of my own words.*****ABOUT EASE LESSONS:Music: “Meekness” by Kai Engel, used under Creative Commons Attribution licenseEditor: Damien PitterHost: Monna McDiarmid (pronounced Mona McDermid) | Coach, Writer and CounselorWebsite: MonnaMcDiarmid.comNewsletter: The Sunday ReaderPatreon:  where I share monthly excerpts from my writing memoir in progressInstagram: @monnamcdiarmid
25. Elizabeth (Season 3, Episode 1/3)
Jul 13 2022
25. Elizabeth (Season 3, Episode 1/3)
ABOUT TODAY'S GUEST: ELIZABETHToday's episode is my first with Elizabeth who is in the process of becoming. She currently does laundry, dishes, drives carpools, and fills remaining “confetti time" with reading, writing, playing piano, thinking, and staring at a screensaver of a vine-covered tree. Along with her husband, she cares for two human children and an elderly pug in Richmond, Virginia, USA. Prior to this all-consuming undertaking, she worked as a writer and professional naming consultant for 20+ years on more than 150 product and corporate naming projects. In 2010, she published Finding Thalhimers (Dementi Milestone Publishing) about her father’s family and their department store, which existed for 150 years. Elizabeth loves breakfast, expensive dark chocolate, unapologetic authenticity, and laughing really hard. Thanks for this conversation, Elizabeth.Elizabeth's Invitations from Episode 1:1. Couldn't get it wrong | What would I do if I couldn’t get it wrong? Write about this idea or dictate your thoughts, or make a poem. 2. Ritual | Create a ceremony for the letting go. Employ a ritual that will deeply communicate this letting go to the current version of you, and help set you free.3. Letter from your protagonist Write a letter from your protagonist Emilia to you, The Writer,  explaining why it’s important for you to write this book. What does this novel mean for her? What does the novel create or set in motion or set free?4. What cannot be destroyed Write a poem about the idea of what cannot be destroyed. You have given me the same homework ~ a delightful invitation that I happily accept.*****ABOUT EASE LESSONS:Music: “Meekness” by Kai Engel, used under Creative Commons Attribution licenseEditor: Damien PitterHost: Monna McDiarmid (pronounced Mona McDermid) | Coach, Writer and CounselorWebsite: MonnaMcDiarmid.comNewsletter: The Sunday ReaderPatreon:  where I share monthly excerpts from my writing memoir in progressInstagram: @monnamcdiarmid
Jun Sekiya (Episode 3/3)
May 14 2022
Jun Sekiya (Episode 3/3)
ABOUT TODAY'S GUEST: JUN SEKIYAThis is my second conversation with Jun Sekiya, a writer of scripts, novels, and raps from Yokohama, Japan. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he works as the creative assistant of Soman Chainani, author of the YA fantasy series “The School for Good & Evil”, soon to be a film from Netflix. Jun is working on a novel about an expat kid split between two cultures and friend-groups at his Tokyo international school. His logline is a work-in-progress. When not on his grind, Jun can be found in the local park doing soccer tricks and chasing after dogs who steal his soccer ball. He’s 5’6, decently quick, and is currently training for a marathon.You can follow Jun on Instagram at jun.sekiya You can watch his films (including the trailer for Knightman and Diploma) at https://vimeo.com/junsekiyaThanks for this conversation, Jun.Jun's homework invitations from Episode 2:1. Consider the question: "How will I know that my novel is done?"2. Choose a date on which you will celebrate that you have finished your novel.3. Compile a list of agents to whom you could submit your novel.+ a second interpretation of a homework invitation from Week 1:Love Letter | Write a short story for your friends (the ones you wrote about in Tokyo Fable) and share it with them. This is just for fun and there is no pressure to ever share this with anyone else.During this conversation, we talk about:1. Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) + the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York City. 2. Holly Thompson, author of Orchards and The Language Inside.*****ABOUT EASE LESSONS:Music: “Meekness” by Kai Engel, used under Creative Commons Attribution licenseEditor: Damien PitterHost: Monna McDiarmid (pronounced Mona McDermid) | Coach, Writer and CounselorWebsite: MonnaMcDiarmid.comNewsletter: The Sunday ReaderPatreon:  where I share monthly excerpts from my writing memoir in progressInstagram: @monnamcdiarmid
Heather J. Patel (Episode 3/3)
May 7 2022
Heather J. Patel (Episode 3/3)
About today's conversation:This is my third conversation with Heather J. Patel, a writer currently editing her debut memoir -  an intimate portrayal of the toll family secrets and shame have on early identity. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband, son, and sweet rescue dog. She received her Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley.Thank you, Heather, for this conversation.  Follow Heather:Instagram: hjpatelwritesWebsite: HJPatelWrites.comHeather's homework invitations from Episode 2:1. You had asked about placing more space between your inner critic and your writing self.  Please ask yourself, "How can I love this part of me?" What does it look like to love our harshest critic? How might you do that? How might/would your critic respond to that love?2. Write a letter, prayer or blessing to your discomfort.3. Make a list of all the things that writing gives you or provides for you.4. Make yourself a small-ish (10-15 card) Jason Cheerleading Deck of Writing Inspiration. These might be quotes or kind words from friends or something your father has said to you.5. Consider how you'd like to show up online as a writer. You get to do this in The Divine Heather Way ~ whatever that looks like for you. Possibilities include a website, a one page landing page, starting a newsletter and creating a first Instagram post on hjpatelwrites.Our conversation includes references to the following:Turning the (In)Visibility Cloak into a CapeExercise in which you remember other areas in which you've been successful, had setbacks and kept going ~ from Acceptance and Commitment TherapyVulnerability Hangover (a term popularized by Brene Brown)Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative by Melissa FebosHeather attended a reading by Ashley C. Ford, author of Somebody’s Daughter: A MemoirKeeping a binder/collection of notes of encouragement from readers (including beloved readers)"You learn from the part of the story you focus on.” — Hannah Gadsby, Nanette *****About Ease Lessons:Music: “Meekness” by Kai Engel, used under Creative Commons Attribution licenseEditor: Damien PitterHost: Monna McDiarmid (pronounced Mona McDermid) | Coach, Writer and CounselorWebsite: MonnaMcDiarmid.comNewsletter: The Sunday ReaderPatreon:  where I share monthly excerpts from my writing memoir in progressInstagram: @monnamcdiarmid
Megan Sunstrum (Episode 3/3)
May 1 2022
Megan Sunstrum (Episode 3/3)
About today's conversation:This is my third conversation with Megan Sunstrum who is writing a memoir about depression, anxiety, being a badass and moving across the country during a pandemic to start a new life. She has a wild imagination, a knack for story-telling, and a deep love of talking to strangers, green things and also furry things. She lives in rural Nova Scotia with her husband and beautiful menace of a cat.Thank you, Megan, for this conversation.A note to the listener that this episode contains multiple references to anxiety and depression as these issues are central to Megan’s memoir. I am not a therapist so I am not coaching Megan through these issues and, as always, I encourage people to seek out a therapist for support with their mental health.Megan's homework from Episode 2:1. Read another memoir(s):Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage by Dani ShapiroExpecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic by Martha BeckThese Precious Days: Essays by Ann PatchettThis Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide by Geneen RothA Life in Stitches: Knitting My Way Through Love, Loss and Laughter by Rachael Herron2. Write a love letter from (or to) your younger Bad Ass Self3. Would you like a Guardian Angel of some kind for your process? A small altar?4. Think about where the four points of your plot might be so we can discuss them at the beginning of Conversation 3.5. Listen to this Creative Penn podcast episode with Gail Carriger about the Heroine's Journey here. The interview begins at 22:05.*****About Ease Lessons:Music: “Meekness” by Kai Engel, used under Creative Commons Attribution licenseEditor: Damien PitterHost: Monna McDiarmid (pronounced Mona McDermid) | Coach, Writer and CounselorWebsite: MonnaMcDiarmid.comNewsletter: The Sunday ReaderPatreon:  where I share monthly excerpts from my writing memoir in progressInstagram: @monnamcdiarmid
Maile Topliff (Episode 3/3)
Apr 23 2022
Maile Topliff (Episode 3/3)
About today's conversation:This is my second conversation with Maile Topliff, a lifelong lover of words – her elementary school nickname was Webster.  She believes that the stories we tell can change our lives. She is currently writing her first non-fiction book – an invitation for the reader to listen to the call to be the author of their own story. Call it a heliograph or for the current day.  It’s about the beauty of a quiet quest and the life’s work of curiosity, empathy, fear, courage, being and the magic of moments.  She currently lives in the Twin Cities in Minnesota.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in English from Hamline University.  You can find her on Instagram at MaileTopliff_writer.Thank you, Maile, for this conversation.You can follow Maile on Instagram.Maile's homework invitations from Episode 2:1. Read The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo.2. When you are ready, share one sentence of your own words from your MS on your Maile Writer IG.3. Choose an accountability buddy or partner for this project. Experiment with and rejig your plan whenever needed both in terms of how often you write and for how long. You could also upgrade your accountability conversations to High Tea.4. Consider choosing a date by which you'd like to finish your first draft or even a publication date. As with all the above, do only what is helpful and genuinely motivates you at this moment in your life.5. Bonus: Read The Heroine's Journey: For Writers, Readers, and Fans of Pop Culture by Gail CarrigerDuring this conversation, we discussed the following:“When you regain a sense of your life as a journey of discovery, you return to rhythm with yourself. When you take the time to travel with reverence, a richer life unfolds before you. Moments of beauty begin to braid your days.” ~ John O’Donahue"We shall all, in the end, be led to where we belong. We shall all, in the end, find our way home." from The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DicamilloThe Gathering Room with Martha Beck | Episode: Your Forever HomeThe Heroine's Journey: For Writers, Readers, and Fans of Pop Culture by Gail CarrigerMonna recommends The Parasol Protectorate Series (Genre: Steampunk, Paranormal romance | 5 books) by Gail Carriger*****About Ease Lessons:Music: “Meekness” by Kai Engel, used under Creative Commons Attribution licenseEditor: Damien PitterHost: Monna McDiarmid (pronounced Mona McDermid) | Coach, Writer and CounselorWebsite: MonnaMcDiarmid.comNewsletter: The Sunday ReaderPatreon:  where I share monthly excerpts from my writing memoir in progressInstagram: @monnamcdiarmid
Jun Sekiya (Episode 2/3)
Apr 16 2022
Jun Sekiya (Episode 2/3)
ABOUT TODAY'S GUEST: JUN SEKIYAThis is my second conversation with Jun Sekiya, a writer of scripts, novels, and raps from Yokohama, Japan. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he works as the creative assistant of Soman Chainani, author of the YA fantasy series “The School for Good & Evil”, soon to be a film from Netflix. Jun is working on a novel about an expat kid split between two cultures and friend-groups at his Tokyo international school. His logline is a work-in-progress. When not on his grind, Jun can be found in the local park doing soccer tricks and chasing after dogs who steal his soccer ball. He’s 5’6, decently quick, and is currently training for a marathon.Thanks for this conversation, Jun.Jun's homework invitations from Episode 1:1. Love Letter | Write a short story for your friends (the ones you wrote about in Tokyo Fable) and share it with them. This is just for fun and there is no pressure to ever share this with anyone else. 2. Nutshell | Logline formula from Rachael Herrona) Job title (of protagonist)b) Namec) Has what already?d) But when ________, will she _________?3. Theme Park List | When I finish and publish my novel, I get to...During this conversation, we talk about:1. John Green's YA novel Looking for Alaska.2. John Green's podcast (and book) The Anthropocene Reviewed.  We talk specifically about the episode: Capacity for Wonder and Sunsets.3. The concepts of a Commonplace Text (also called a a Commonplace Book).4. This quote: "If you can’t be cheesy, you can’t be free."  Dan Harris used the quote in an episode of Ten Percent Happier but, according to Twitter, he doesn't know who said this originally.5. Podcast: Harry Potter and the Sacred Text6. The idea of slant rhyme or near rhyme7. Ru Paul's Drag Race*****ABOUT EASE LESSONS:Music: “Meekness” by Kai Engel, used under Creative Commons Attribution licenseEditor: Damien PitterHost: Monna McDiarmid (pronounced Mona McDermid) | Coach, Writer and CounselorWebsite: MonnaMcDiarmid.comNewsletter: The Sunday ReaderPatreon:  where I share monthly excerpts from my writing memoir in progressInstagram: @monnamcdiarmid
Megan Sunstrum (Episode 2/3)
Apr 2 2022
Megan Sunstrum (Episode 2/3)
About today's conversation:Megan Sunstrum is writing a memoir about depression, anxiety, being a badass and moving across the country during a pandemic to start a new life. She has a wild imagination, a knack for story-telling, and a deep love of talking to strangers, green things and furry things. She lives in rural Nova Scotia with her husband and beautiful menace of a cat.Thanks for this conversation, Megan.A note to the listener: This episode contains references to anxiety and depression as these issues are central to Megan’s memoir. I am not a therapist so I am not coaching Megan through these issues and, as always, I encourage people to seek out a therapist for support with their mental health.References from today's conversation:Fast-Draft Your Memoir: Write your Life Story in 45 Hours by Rachael HerronHoly Heathen: A Spiritual Memoir by Katherine NorthAtlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience by Brene BrownHourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage by Dani ShapiroExpecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic by Martha BeckThese Precious Days: Essays by Ann PatchettThis Messy Magnificent Life: A Field Guide by Geneen RothA Life in Stitches: Knitting My Way through Love, Loss, and Laughter by Rachael HerronQuote: “You own everything that happened to you. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” ~ Anne LamottUpcoming Poetry Course | Collected: Creating a tiny book of your poetryThis course is for people who want to write poetry and create a small collection of their poetry for themselves, loved ones, or to publish on their website or elsewhere. What would happen if you saw yourself as the gatekeeper of your own poetry?Check out the course at monnamcdiarmid.com/collected*****About Ease Lessons:Music: “Meekness” by Kai Engel, used under Creative Commons Attribution licenseEditor: Damien PitterHost: Monna McDiarmid (pronounced Mona McDermid) | Coach, Writer and CounselorWebsite: MonnaMcDiarmid.comNewsletter: The Sunday ReaderPatreon:  where I share monthly excerpts from my writing memoir in progress
Maile Topliff (Episode 2/3)
Mar 26 2022
Maile Topliff (Episode 2/3)
About today's conversation:This is my second conversation with Maile Topliff, a lifelong lover of words – her elementary school nickname was Webster.  She believes that the stories we tell can change our lives. She is currently writing her first non-fiction book – an invitation for the reader to listen to the call to be the author of their own story. Call it a heliograph or for the current day.  It’s about the beauty of a quiet quest and the life’s work of curiosity, empathy, fear, courage, being and the magic of moments.  She currently lives in the Twin Cities in Minnesota.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in English from Hamline University.  You can find her on Instagram at MaileTopliff_writer.You can follow Maile on Instagram.Thank you, Maile, for this conversation.*****Upcoming Poetry Course | Collected: Creating a tiny book of your poetryThis course is for people who want to write poetry and create a small collection of their poetry for themselves, loved ones, or to publish on their website or elsewhere. What would happen if you saw yourself as the gatekeeper of your own poetry?Check out the course at monnamcdiarmid.com/collected*****About Ease Lessons:Music: “Meekness” by Kai Engel, used under Creative Commons Attribution licenseEditor: Damien PitterHost: Monna McDiarmid (pronounced Mona McDermid) | Coach, Writer and CounselorWebsite: MonnaMcDiarmid.comNewsletter: The Sunday ReaderPatreon:  where I share monthly excerpts from my writing memoir in progressInstagram: @monnamcdiarmid