Posted on Leave a comment

Dishonest weights: the wisdom of the ages

Week one: Wisdom for today.

“The Lord detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights”

Proverb 11: 1

There is something about the short sentences that make up the chapters of proverbs that hold me captive. Over the last few months, I keep coming back to the book of proverbs, from the Bible, and it has held me safe in a season of much change.

What holds you safe in a world full of vengeance and rage?

It doesn’t take much to switch on the news and be impacted by the emotions of our culture and the injustice that heralds every corner. In the last few months, I have been deeply grieved by a betrayal from a friend.

Then I come back to proverbs, and I remember the power of integrity and the weight of the decisions we make daily, and I breathe deeply once again. Safety has been a reoccurring theme across 2019, and I think it is because I am allowing myself to feel the emotions that surface truly.

The Bible doesn’t tell us that anger is a sin; it redirects us to the consequences of what we do with that anger. Have you ever been betrayed?

It feels excruciating. The proverb I quoted at the beginning of this article goes on to say the following;

“Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

Proverbs 11: 2

As I look across the vista of social media, I see a landscape of dishonest weights. Photos that don’t show the whole picture and carefully edited words. I am far from innocent, but as I reflect on a year coming to a close, I want to lean into spaces of humility and quiet, rather than platforms shouting out our fame.

Accurate weights.

Wisdom of words.

A balance of impressions.

Safety in friendship is a one-way bridge that we each walk carefully. Holding each other’s stories like a secure bank vault and weighing our decisions carefully. Honesty is good medicine that keeps us safe in the way that we walk together in community.

“Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys people.”

Proverbs 11: 3

I learnt a long time ago that we couldn’t change people. The only person we can change is ourselves.

Am I living in integrity?

Am I holding those in my community safe with my decisions?

Am I causing any harm?

Recently I went to Bali and ran a workshop for an amazing group of people, and one of my sessions was on the journaling method called the “Naikan Method of Self- Reflection”. What made this method of self-reflection powerful is it goes against the modern culture of making ourselves, to reflect on what harm we did to the planet and its inhabitants that day.

The Japanese businessman Yoshimoto Ishin who created this method is;

“Naikan is a Japanese word that means ‘looking inside,’ though a more poetic translation might be ‘seeing oneself with the mind’s eye.’ It is a structured method of self-reflection that helps us to understand ourselves, our relationships, and the fundamental nature of human existence.”

Gregg Krech

It begins with the premise that we all think the world and its inhabitants (and God) owes us something. We get to the end of the day feeling disappointed for the things that didn’t go our way and the people that didn’t serve our needs the way we thought they should.

What if we have it the wrong way round?

The Naikan Method calls you to write at the end of each day and to reflect through journaling these three questions;

  1. What have I received today?
  2. What have I given to someone today?
  3. What troubles and difficulties have I caused?

We can only show up to our honesty and the weights with which we make decisions each day. As we become more self-aware of the choices we make and the impact they have on others, only then can humility be a mark upon a culture, that is so self-focused.

Writing is a powerful tool for self-awareness so that we can continue to grow in the amazing gifts we have been given to sow. Releasing the pain of unmet expectations and believing the best for tomorrow.

This week I launched my latest book SEEKING CLARITY, a journaling, retreat Daybook to help you find vision and intentions for 2020. Paperback version $19.95 free shipping in Australia and download version $9.95

Posted on Leave a comment

Self Publishing 101

Self Publishing Tips

The landscape for self-publishing has changed significantly over the last decade. My first book Capture: 30 days of inspiration was a fun project that I was super excited about but I was a complete novice.

I have learnt many lessons along the way and today I wanted to bring you a Self Publishing 101 list of tools to help you along the way. Below is a very simple outline of some steps you could take. For a more detailed approach download, SOMEBODY NEEDS YOUR STORY today, a simple downloadable resource designed to help you publish your book.

I have an idea for a book what is the next step?

  1. Create a mindmap of the idea, with as much detail as possible. Mapping out your idea.
  2. One of the greatest gifts you can give your creative self is to make time with a writing mentor like Elaine Fraser or Amanda Viviers to create a book overview and plan.
  3. Non-fiction book plan template
  4. Fiction book plan template
  5. Create a detailed book chapter overview.

I have my plan and outline of my book what is the next step?

Write the book. This will take discipline and courage. I have created this online writing course “WRITE HARD” to help you get in and write your book.

Two tools I use regularly for writing is Grammarly and Scrivner. The main technique I use is the Pomodoro technique.

I have my manuscript now what do I do?

You will now need an editor. My editor is Emma-Lee Hazeldean you can find her services here.

You will need a designer. My book designer is Kellie Book Design and you can find her services here.

You will need an author bioI created a simple step by step process to help you create yours.

Self Publishing Printing

I have really enjoyed using Ingram Spark for my print on demand books. I have found them to be easy to use in the current global printing climate because of postage. They print in-country and send on land. For the month of September 2019, there is a free set up coupon: GETPUBLISHED

Ebook coupon: FREEEBOOK

It is normally $49 per copy. So if you are ready to publish this is a great offer.

Children’s Book Information

Novel and Non-fiction

Business and textbooks

ISBN:

You will need to purchase an ISBN number. I buy mine from here.

National Library Legal Deposit

In Australia you are required by law, to send a copy of your published book to the national library archives. Details can be found here.

Speaking opportunities:

One of the greatest ways you can sell your book is through face to face speaking opportunities. Here is the current recommended rates of pay for freelance writing and speaking opportunities.

This is just the beginning of the book writing and self-publishing process, if you have any more questions, take the time to book a time with a writing mentor.

Yours creatively

Amanda

Posted on Leave a comment

Storytelling and tears


The first time I stepped on stage it ended in tears.
From musicals to church productions, I have constantly immersed myself in storytelling across my whole life. I loved to watch people sing on stage and how musical theatre compelled people in their imagination and creativity.

The opening night of my first show was one filled with so much excitement and emotion. I was in year one at school and my favourite doll accompanied me everywhere I went. As the curtain raised and music floated out into the audience, my little heart was beating so fast. I slipped away from my Mum backstage and found the hallowed ground. I can hear the chorus chanting as I remember this memory from over 35 years ago.
 
The makeup table called me and the mirror, surrounded by lights shined brighter than a Christmas tree, (enter the angelic choir) without anyone noticing I fixed up my makeup, with blue eye shadow on my forehead and red lipstick on my cheeks, I drew all over my face with eyeliner and then slipped back into my position, running onstage to do my part.
 
I could hear snickers and laughs throughout the audience but I loved it. I was hooked; there I was made up like a clown, a little blue-eyed show pony and my heart raced the conversation between the audience and the creative on stage. This story ended very badly and it is a narrative that as an adult I have had to re-write over and over. I will take you to the end of this story at the end of this email.

In the months of August this year, I am so excited to be training business owners, community leaders and churches in the art of storytelling. 2.1 billion people spend more than three hours a day online. What a profound space to be finding ways to tell your story. Someone once said, “Those who tell stories rule the world”. I’m not sure I want to rule the world (gah the responsibility) but I totally want to find a way to dig deep into my own narratives and find ways to help people.

How about you?

Whether it is stories to create memories for my children and a legacy for the coming generations. Or a deeper and more meaningful way to use social media. To write to heal and find space in my own internal dialogues. Writing is powerful and your story matters. Creating more content, however, does not mean you will get more engagement. To channel your inner storyteller I have found five of my favourite quotes about the power of a compelling story.
 “I’m writing my story so that others might see fragments of themselves.”
Lena Waithe, screenwriter for Bones and Master of None

“You’re never going to kill storytelling because it’s built-in the human plan. We come with it.”
Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale


“Think about the word destroy. Do you know what it is? De-story. Destroy. De-story. You see. And restore. That’s re-story. Do you know that only two things have been proven to help survivors of the Holocaust? Massage is one. Telling their story is another. Being touched and touching. Telling your story is touching. It sets you free.”
Francesca Lia Block, author


“Whether you know it or not, your desire to write comes from the urge to not just be “creative,” it’s a need (one every human being on earth has) to help others. A well-told Story is a gift to the reader/listener/viewer because it teaches them how to confront their own discomforts.”
Shawn Coyne, The Story Grid

“The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.”
Zadie Smith, author

 Storytelling events coming up:

NSW, NEWCASTLE

9- 10 August NEWCASTLE, NSW: WORKSHOP SERIES

NEW NORCIAMonday 26th- Wednesday 28th August: New Norcia Writers Retreat

STORYTELLING THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA (FREE)29- Social Media Workshop free from the Small Business Development Corporation. Bassendean. BOOK HERE 9.30-12pm

BALI RETREAT (ONE PLACE LEFT ONLY)

28 Sept – 1 October- Bali Escape Retreat Boardroom Retreat

WRITING YOUR STORY TOOLS:

Write Hard Online Workshop
: (only 2 write hard jumpers left, free access to the course given for free for the last two orders)

RESET: press reset on your year (6 short videos and a booklet)

New Norcia Retreats August and November

Somebody Needs Your Story Resource PDFSome shut up and write events coming soon to Perth as well.

BACK TO MY STORY:

The letter we write to ourselves about the stories from our past, those words that speak to our future. They are penned from the emotions that hold us from those encounters and they become the stories that we tell ourselves. Pain, betrayal, rejection and bitterness can leave significant marks upon our story and stop us from speaking the truth into our future selves.
 
You see although the first time I went onstage was fun, I had the best night ever; there is another part of that story which impacted me deeply.
 
As a vulnerable little girl, late at night after the show had finished and the audience had left behind an empty theatre, rubbish is thrown across the floor, we waited for the show notes. The director came up to me and belittled me in front of the cast. She yelled and screamed telling me I was a bad little girl. Scolding me with the direction that I should never touch the makeup table and that every person in that theatre was laughing at the fool I made of myself that night.
 
This formed a letter to my creative self. One that I have had to rewrite over and over so that I could surrender to the beauty of what was destined for my future self.
 
It is just a story but I still recreate today in my mind as a forty-something-year-old writer.

Watch out for this coming November for the release of DEAR CREATIVE SELF: the letter of our life. 

My latest book, which is now sitting with my editor all 40,000 words of it. And breathe. It is the sequel to my best selling book DEAR SINGLE SELF

Let’s hang away from the internet together. Or in the pages of a real paperback book.

With Creative Love

Amanda V.
Somebody Needs Your Story
Posted on Leave a comment

The engineers of our future

Our honeymoon lime tree.

It was only last year when he threatened to chop it down. Looking at me across the washing line, as I hung work and school uniforms out to dry “It’s producing no fruit!” It was a matter of fact.

I am the plant rescue-er in our relationship. We even have a designated part of the garden called the plant hospital. A location that we walk past every morning as we enter our days, reminding us to water the plants that are most susceptible in our arid soil.

I looked through the wet clothes hanging on the line, with eyes that begged him not to rip out the tree. And a little smile awaiting my response ” Just one more year love.”

“It’s one of those non-fruiting trees I’m sure of it,” he said with frustration. And I just sighed at the sheer tenacity of trying to grow anything in a garden with a family and big life.

Lately, I have been a little obsessed with seeds. I seem to see them everywhere. On the floor when I walk the path to the beach, in the shops up on the shelf and over the fence on the floor of my friend’s house. They are small, but the capacity for them to grow into shady trees, keep drawing me back to the beauty of slow.

We couldn’t afford an overseas honeymoon when we got married. In hindsight, we didn’t need one, just a room with a big bed and a beautiful vista. We laugh often about the fact that our car door broke, the week of our honeymoon and we had to climb across the gear stick each time we got in and out of the car. Some days lately we have forgotten what it was like to just have one car with a broken door.

I think God has a brilliant sense of humour and imperfection often makes for the best of stories. We ended up down south from where we live, visiting wineries with that wonky door. No fancy cars or taxi’s for our arrival, just two people climbing out the passenger door.

At one of those wineries, we found a half wooden barrel and we decided to buy it to plant a tree as a memento of our honeymoon. We got home and decided on a lime tree (my man quite likes a drop of Mexican brew).

Eight years ago we planted that lime tree in that wooden barrel, it has survived two children, two houses and many bbq’s alongside. It even survived the wooden barrel that fell apart last spring and we planted that non- fruiting lime tree in the ground, hoping it would at last produce.

Then last week eight and a half years after we planted that tree I saw hiding in the flourish of green leaves, five or six or maybe ten little limes on our tree. I couldn’t wait for my husband to come home and I walked him around to see.

He looked at me and smiled with his eyebrows lifting and said quietly “Lucky I didn’t rip it out last spring hey?” And I didn’t say anything, just marvelled at the beauty of the very simple things.

I think we have lost the art of patience, in a society so intent on producing. Since the beginning of July, I have had some time off social media and it has been the best thing I have done all year. It is hard not to be drawn back to it, but the resting of the ground in my heart has needed some time to realign. L

“But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.”

Luke 8: 15

I often spend a lot of time thinking about the future. Thinking about my children, my house, the contribution of my life. It is something that I have always enjoyed spending my procrastinating, in-between moments doing.

It is in these times though that I forget that the seeds I am planting today, will bear my fruit in my tomorrow. Holding fast to what is good, changing my mindsets to ones of servanthood and humility. Finding ways to surrender in the ever present tide of self obsession.

What seeds are you sowing for harvest in your future?

Growth

Pain

Cutting off

Fertiliser

Sun

Water

These very simple principles found in the earth of our gardens, go against the success mantras of our day.

I have been reminding myself lately, to reset, to read simple wisdom and to begin again. Creating great soil for the new growth awaiting and surrendering to the beauty of a simple life.

“The engineers of the future will be the poets”

Terrance McKenna

I do wonder what is the condition of our poets soil?

Posted on 3 Comments

Embracing Slow Podcast

Recently Em and I recorded a podcast about Embracing Slow with Mish Pope. Have a listen and join the journey of embracing slow.

Listen on itunes

Listen on spotify

EMBRACING SLOW: A journey of unhurried grace.

There is a busy epidemic in our society. Social Media, the hustle movement and comparison trick us into believing that busyness equals success. 

Have you ever wondered what it was like to embrace slow? Has your heart been leaning towards the simple and being present?

In this podcast and also the devotional book we write devotions to take you on a journey of slowing, being more present and breathing with simplicity.

Find a quiet space to sit with these stories and devotions, and allow them to help you slow down a little today.