Contemplative Writing for Spiritual Companions
Renaissance 2021 Attendees:
Contemplative Writing for Spiritual Companions
Explore how to connect your inner and outer worlds through writing. In this contemplative workshop we’ll combine mindfulness practices with writing as a tool for discovery and transformation. These exercises also stimulate the creative process and open the mind / heart to new possibilities, freeing the natural flow of our writing voice.
As a spiritual practice, writing holds great potential for transformation. As a mindfulness practice, writing makes us more intimate with our inner and outer worlds. Perhaps you want to use writing in your work as a spiritual companion, or wish to use the written word to share your story and ideas with others? Or perhaps you just want a different but very simple, creative way to listen more deeply to the still, small voice within? Either way, join us! No writing experience required. Just bring a notepad and pen and be ready to write!
OPTIONAL ASSIGNMENT for the SDI WRITER’S INSTITUTE
For participants who have a book manuscript in process or the germ of a book idea.
During our session we will have time to hear two or three volunteers present a 100 – 200 word elevator pitch of their book idea for feedback from Tania and Sean. The intention is to help writers refine and focus their book idea and the way they pitch it.
If you want to volunteer, please email your elevator pitch to us on / by April 18 to [email protected]
We will let you know in advance, on April 19, if we will call on you to read your elevator pitch live in the session.
We only have time for two or three pitches in our session, so we regret we may not be able to respond to everyone’s pitch.
ELEVATOR PITCH – how to do it
Imagine that you find yourself in an elevator with the publishing editor or literary agent of your dreams. What would you tell him or her about your book project, in the time that it takes to travel 20 floors together? How will you hook their interest and convey the book idea succinctly so they ask to see the manuscript?
Your elevator pitch will be between 100 – 200 words. Absolutely no more – do a word count to check it! (This will take 30 – 60 seconds to speak – the time the elevator rides up those floors, before the editor steps out and is on her way…)
Write it as if you were describing your book / your story to someone who doesn’t know the first thing about your subject. It will be pithy, concrete and specific, but will also convey your passion. (And your expertise, if relevant to the subject.)
Depending on the book, you might summarize: What journey does the book take us on? What is the story? What do we learn? What is the take-away for readers?
Remember to say what genre/form your project is – memoir, non-fiction, novel, etc.
We know elevator pitches are tough so please don’t stress, and keep it simple – it’s supposed to be fun! We will be kind in our constructive feedback to help you refine your pitch.
Even if you’re not thinking of publishing, this is a good exercise to help you focus on any project you have in mind. Even if you plan to self-publish, you will need to be able to sum up your book in this elevator pitch style for promotion.
Tania Casselle has been a writer and editor for 20+ years, published in books, magazines, newspapers and online media in the US, Europe and Asia. She is a committee chair for the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Her nonfiction, fiction, poetry and radio work have been recognized in numerous awards and anthologies. As a writing coach and teacher, she works with people individually and in seminars and writing retreats in person and online. She holds a Masters in Transpersonal Psychotherapy and follows a contemplative path in the Zen Buddhist and Christian mystic traditions. She helps writers on every level, teaching not just the craft and business of writing, but also exploring the deeper creative and spiritual impulse, helping writers free their natural writing voices and navigate internal blocks. A Brit from London, Tania lives in New Mexico.
Sean W. Murphy is a 2018 National Endowment of the Arts Creative Writing Fellow and an authorized Zen teacher (Sensei) in the American White Plum Lineage. He is a member of the Spiritual Directors International Coordinating Council. His One Bird, One Stone: 108 Contemporary Zen Stories (Hampton Roads 2013), won the 2014 International Book Award in the Eastern Religions category. He is the award-winning author of three novels with Bantam Dell Books, receiving the Hemingway Award for a First Novel for his The Hope Valley Hubcap King, the 2009 National Press Women’s Communication Award for best novel for The Time of New Weather, and the 2017 William Faulkner Wisdom Award for novel-in-progress for his current project, Wilson’s Way. He is the founder of the nonprofit Sage Institute for Creativity & Consciousness, which hosts an innovative meditation leaders training program. He teaches writing and meditation at UNM-Taos.