I signed up for the course because I was interested in deepening a meditation practice that I'd begun on my own. I appreciated the way that Heather provided reading materials, written exercises, recorded talks and guided meditations so that learners of all styles would find the course accessible. I especially appreciated Heather's positive energy on the private Facebook group and on the weekly zoom calls. She was an enthusiastic and compassionate supporter of my growth. My personal goal for the course wasn't to increase flow so much as decrease the chatter that can occur when I sit down to write. I feel that the Mindfulness course helped me in that area while also providing so much great information that I'll be able to use in my daily life.
Heather Smith Meloche
After the debut year for my young adult novel, I was having a bad case of writer's block. I wasn't confident or sure of any creative direction I was going in. During the first couple days into the Mindfulness for Writers course, I started filling pages with words again! It's like flipping a creative switch on a daily basis, and it helped to shut off those critical voices in my head that told me everything I was writing was trash. I'm so grateful for Heather's encouragement and guidance!
During this month-long course, I got to see how mindfulness practices and meditation can help with multiple aspects of my writing process and career. For the first part of the month, I was working on a first draft, and meditating before each writing session allowed me to be more playful, expansive, and flexible. I had more fun drafting than usual, was less critical of myself, and wrote more words in the same amount of time. Partway through the month, I shifted my focus because I got an edit letter for a book that is under contract, and tasks began to pile up for promoting my first book. The mindfulness practices helped me to maintain my focus during revision, and I was more intentional than usual about noticing when I needed a break rather than thoughtlessly scrolling through something online. In addition, when aspects of being a debut author started to make me feel stressed or insecure, the techniques I learned in this course helped me to figure out what was bothering me, why, and what I wanted to do to handle the situation. Heather is a compassionate, open, generous leader, and I really appreciated all that she shared with us during this experience. I think any writer at any stage of any project (or any person in another creative field, I would Imagine) could really benefit from working with Heather, and I can especially recommend a mindfulness immersion course like this one to other authors who are navigating the highs and lows of a debut publishing experience. It's been a very grounding experience for me.
Heather's course helped to reinforce the daily practice of mindfulness and meditation with my writing practice.
I've had a crush on the idea of mindfulness for a while and tried a few apps that I loved for a day or three. What was different about Heather's approach is that it was created with a writer in mind. She was very open about sharing her vulnerabilities -- and they looked an awful lot like my vulnerabilities. I've saved all the materials and suspect I will return to them time and again, until (finally, I hope!) I have established a practice I can really sustain.
The Pneuma retreat is the best thing I have done for myself in years. Heather did a great job of making everyone feel comfortable and setting a tone of community and learning throughout the retreat. I met a fantastic group of writers who are supportive, smart, and dedicated to their craft. I really enjoyed the meditation aspect, which surprised me because it was something I had never done before--and was actually a little skeptical about. After our first meditation workshop I saw the connection to writing and have incorporated daily meditation into my writing time.
See Jessica's experiment on how meditation helped her writing after learning to meditate with me during a Pneuma Creative Autumn Retreat.