Transformative Writing: You Get More Than A Book by Catharine Bramkamp
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Catharine Bramkamp as she shares with us “Transformative Writing: You Get More Than A Book.” Enjoy!
Has this happened to you? You are working on your book, your work in progress. And suddenly, many other events, relationships and life goals change for the better.
You may have thought — that’s just a coincidence.
It’s not. The changes you experience in your life are a direct result of what you are writing in your book.
Write enough blogs, books, essays. and it’s easy to forget just how powerful writing is, how even just starting a writing project can create energy that flows and illuminates all sorts of corners of our lives.
Writing from the Queen’s Seat
I am one of the founders in a writing program called Writing from the Queen’s Seat.
Short version: Women sign up with my partner Shama and me, and we bring them through a live (the Author Queen Society) or online (the Author Queen Studio) program that will take them from Expert to Author in about 60 days.
We were looking forward to helping our clients (Expert Queens) write their business or How-To book based on their previous materials and writings.
A good business book focuses on one purpose and is supported by tried and true processes, which unlike fiction, an author can create in two months.
Looked good on paper.
Looked great in our marketing materials.
As soon as we added humans, the process and the products ended up being far more complicated and far more transformative than we anticipated. Because we forgot just how transformative writing is.
As you have probably experienced, once you start writing, the work can escape from you, dragging you into unexpected emotions, unexpected connections, and delivering unexpected results.
This happens in fiction, of course. But it also happens in a seemingly simple how-to business book. As we discovered.
One Expert Queen began her writing project intending to chronicle her experiences of healing her cancer through emotional and physical connections with others. It was a wild ride, and she was a total expert at describing her experiences, adventures, and stories.
Two months later, she was still writing up story after story because story after story appeared and demanded attention.
As her book pages multiplied, she started to get scared, worried about what the finished product would look like, and not really feeling settled with the idea of a published book.
To postpone the book, she announced she was moving from LA to Charlottesville. No particular impetus, just wanted an adventure (just wanted to delay completing the book.)
What did we do?
Nod, wish her a queenly godspeed and a tiny reminder that no matter where you go — your unfinished work in progress will follow.
She kept writing. After a few days of sitting with the decision to move, and continuing to write into her book, she realized that she didn’t need to move.
What she needed was an adventure.
So she hopped into her van and spent the weekend on the coast. And that was satisfying enough, the move was cancelled.
Transformation through Writing
Writing helped her — helped her not only better understand herself and her motives, but the act of writing her book actually presented her with a different and more aligned direction for her next steps in her profession and personal life.
And apparently moving to Charlottesville was not a necessary step in that transformation.
Claire was recovering from cancer and still undergoing treatments that left her exhausted and unable to work on her memoir and her advice book.
By writing out her story, she was able to make decisions based on her own advice.
In other words, she found it easier to be her own advocate because she realized in writing that she had already served her own best interests and she already had answers; she just needed to tap back into what she knew.
Because of her book she was able to acknowledge her own agency, and apply it again to take control of her health.
Transformative Writing: Author Queens Writing Society
During the Author Queens Writing Society, we gathered our queens once a week for a check-in and to make sure they are on track.
During our celebration, every queen thanked each other for their support, and they all described the life transformation engendered by writing a book.
They were changed, not only because they accomplished and finished a big scary project, but because the writing itself changed both their outlook and their health and recoveries.
The Transformative Power of Writing
Writing, even journaling or working through the organizational and structural demands of a book, helps us clarify and focus our own lives.
You don’t even need to write a book to benefit from the process.
A journal, a passion project, poetry that will never see the light of day — it all serves to help balance your heart and mind.
I am always surprised and most certainly gratified that writing helps us so easily change.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Catharine Bramkamp is a successful writing coach, Chief Storytelling Officer, former co-producer of Newbie Writers Podcast, and author of a dozen books including the Real Estate Diva Mysteries series, and The Future Girls series. She holds two degrees in English and is an adjunct university professor. After fracturing her wrist, she has figured out there is very little she is able to do with one hand tied behind her back.