Write Out the Heart is a program Fiona Moore developed after joining 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion and seeing that writers often felt self-doubt. For over two decades, Fiona has worked with many creative people, helping them to release blocks to creativity and to “express their authentic self, and make difference with their lives.”
Write Out The Heart takes what she did with individuals to a group setting. She says: The intention of this program is to show you how to anchor your inspiration on the page and turn your writing into a force for healing and change.
In a nutshell:
You’ll dissolve inner blocks to allow your authentic writing voice to express itself.
You’ll grow your capacity to flow inspiration on the page to touch and transform your readers.
Over eighteen years ago, one of my short stories won a prize in a major contest. It was about the aftermath of a miscarriage, based on experience. At the time I won that prize, I was five months pregnant. The following year, when my baby was six months old, I started an MA course. One year in, our second daughter was born, three months prematurely. Within days of her birth, my husband bought writing paper and I wrote to my young nieces, explaining about their tiny cousin. The day I came home from hospital I bought a journal. I wrote in it almost every day for four months, writing to and about our baby.
That premature baby was around 21 months old when I completed my MA, gaining a Distinction. To manage this, I had developed a way of writing, based on Natalie Goldberg’s suggestions in Writing Down the Bones, and Anne Lamott’s in Bird by Bird. I’ve shared some of that process in various posts, including The Importance of Journaling for Writers. I wrote whatever was in my head, including, “This is rubbish.” I also wrote encouragements to myself to keep going.
Yet while I could write what was in my heart, I was struggling to get my words out to the public. In spite of early success at publishing short stories, my writing income wasn’t what I’d hoped for. Partly because of this, I often felt scattered and couldn’t settle to writing. I had so many projects on the go I found it hard to know where to focus. I thought that I should pick to work on the one that would bring monetary reward, and this added to the pressure I felt. I also felt overwhelmed at the thought of trying to market my books or blog, and mostly adopted a scattergun approach to book promotions and to social media – impulsively deciding to have give my short story collection away free or put my novel on a countdown deal because I hadn’t done it for a while, rather than taking time to plan. In fact, I hated marketing of any kind with a vengeance, and wished I never had to do it.
When Fiona offered me a place on the Write Out the Heart, I wasn’t sure it would be what I needed, but I decided to give it a go.
What I got from Write Out the Heart
Now, although I still have the same number of unfinished projects as I had six months ago, I feel more focused. I can easily pick up a project after a lengthy break and settle right back in. I no longer feel under pressure to get the income rolling in right now, and have invested time in learning a marketing strategy that feels right for me, even though it’s going to take a while yet to set everything up. In an early chat, Fiona suggested I look up Mark Dawson, a novelist who had achieved a lot of success marketing his books using Facebook ads. I resisted. It’s sweetly ironic that, just last week, I stumbled on a video in which Mark Dawson was interviewed about his marketing strategy! I’ve also enrolled in a course to learn how to better target submissions to blog sites and magazines.
Another suggestion Fiona made early on was to follow Elizabeth Gilbert’s (Eat, Pray, Love) approach and get a day job that enabled writing to flow without the need to strive for income. I resisted that suggestion. It annoyed me even. Yet, a few weeks into Write Out the Heart, I got a temporary part-time job in a clothes store that has since become permanent. And yes, this helps me feel I don’t have to rush, and that I can choose to submit to sites with which I truly feel an affinity, whether or not they pay.
So what I got most out of taking Fiona’s course was patience! I’ve learned to take my time and to create structure – including more structure to how I post on this blog. I had resisted structure in the past, believing it was restrictive and that I needed to allow freedom to create, but it turns out structure is what I needed to feel free to create!
What you can expect on the course
The course contains two main components – video conferences every two weeks and integrative practices in between. These include recorded interviews with guest teachers. All calls are also recorded so you can listen as many times as you like, and each module has a guided meditation available for download.
The exercises for integrative weeks are not writing exercises in the usual sense, but aid inner transformation, which in turn paves the way for inspired writing. So you will cover modules on Dissolving Doubt and on Connecting the Heart of Your Writing to the Heart of Your Reader, rather than exercises on character development or essay structure. This does require looking deeply inside yourself – but that’s essential if we are to write from the heart and create anything of value to others.
Another valuable aspect of the calls is that participants share experiences and ask questions. Hearing others describe their experiences is a powerful reminder that some issues are universal. It is also a powerful tool for transformation.
For instance, in one session, Kendal Lyon, who blogs at Not So Tough, talked about noticing a craving for recognition not just in writing, but in other aspects of her life. She was preparing her house for sale, and said, “When I finish painting a room, I want people to come in and say, “Oh my god, it’s beautiful. Wow, it changed my life.” And guess what? It doesn’t happen. Nobody’s walking in the bathroom and saying, ‘This is the most amazing bathroom I’ve ever seen!’
Having to learn to give myself the recognition that I need doesn’t just have to do with my writing.”
I was impressed that Kendal seemed so accepting of this aspect of herself whereas I had been inclined to self-judgement, and this sparked an understanding in me. A few days later, I realised that my career choices had mostly been based on what someone told me I was good at. I have enjoyed them, but wanting approval was so tangled into it, that it was hard to know my true heart’s desire. This led to several more insights, which I shared in the Facebook group, and which in turn sparked insights for other members.
So the process of sharing in the calls and in the Facebook group creates a safe space to explore issues that might hinder our development as heart-centred writers, and provides the opportunity to facilitate each others’ growth. Fiona is excellent at facilitating this and at encouraging you to see that whatever you feel or think right now is absolutely fine.
A SPECIAL OFFER FOR YOU
If you feel inspired now, you will be pleased to know that Write Out The Heart is returning for a second time on April 13th. There is a discounted early registration fee until April 6th. You can access the course page here to get more details.
Last, but certainly not least, I have a gift certificate for one lucky person for a massive 50% off the cost of the course. If you are interested, drop me comment either in the comments of this post or on the link to this post on my Facebook page. If I get more than one response, I’ll pick a lucky winner at random on Friday April 1st.