Tag Archives: stefanie lipsey

Writing Informs the Yoga. Yoga Informs the Weekend.

1warrior2-1As many of you may know, I co-lead a writing retreat each summer on Long Island, The Writing Yoga Retreat. It’s all kinds of good for oh so many reasons. And you don’t have to already do yoga to attend. “Why,” you may ask yourself, “would I want to do that?” Honestly? Because we do stuff at our retreat that you won’t find anywhere else. Seriously. Also, at the Writing Yoga Retreat you’ll learn how to bring something different to your writing, and learn new ways of looking at what you’re working on. Now you might say, “Oh yeah? Like what?”

Ok, so one of your choices for a one-on-one consultation is to work with Tarot cards. WHO ELSE DOES THAT?! Nobody. We’re not fortune telling or anything. We use the Tarot deck as a jumping off point to explore character, theme, setting. We’ve even done readings for our participants’ characters. Come on, how cool is that?

During the twice daily yoga (and you know I’m not one of the people at the early morning class, right?) our instructors tailor the class to each person’s skill level, with modifications for beginners and greater challenges for advanced practitioners. At the beginning of the class when the yoga teacher does a dharma talk, the teaching connects the yoga you’re doing with writing. Actually, writing and the writing process is kind of woven into the whole class. It’s fantastic.

There’s also a Participant Showcase like you’ve never experienced before. Imagine this: We go off site to a delicious Italian restaurant, where we have dinner in a private room and endless glasses of wine. You’re at a long table with these people who you now count as friends, and you have the opportunity to read your work. Not a critique. Not a workshop. You just read. And then bask in applause! Our past participants have told us this was the highlight of their weekend. Last year’s participants wrote adult fiction, YA, middle grade fiction, picture books, and memoir. It was amazing hearing their work!

Our dinner with editors is pretty darn cool, too. We have 2 adult editors and 2 kidlit editors join us for dinner. You know, just a casual, Friday night dinner with SOME OF THE TOP NYC EDITORS THAT THERE ARE. Sorry for shouting. I just really want you to get how cool this is. This year’s editors are Justin Chanda from Simon & Schuster, Jill Davis from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins, Naomi Gibbs from Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, and Connor Guy from Metropolitan Books/Macmillan. I’m so psyched for this part, I can’t even…(Oh my! I just made that “squee” noise people write about.)

To get a more yoga-y view of the weekend, check out Stefanie Lipsey’s post at writingyoga.com. She’s my partner in Writing Yoga crime, the yin to my Writing Yoga yang. And for more detailed information or to apply, go to writingandyogaretreat.com. (FYI – We have people apply rather than just register so we can make sure that you already have a work in progress and a commitment to your writing. We’re not judging or assessing.)

Ok, any questions?


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Advice for Writers

photo 5Last summer, at the Writing Yoga® Retreat that I host with my colleague Stefanie Lipsey, I learned something that some might say, “No, duh!” to, but that I’d kind of forgotten. It was during one of our afternoon yoga sessions, and Stefanie was leading the yoga. She reminded us to focus on what was happening on our own yoga mat. That is to say, it didn’t matter if the person next to me could balance on one foot while wrapping their other foot behind their head, all while humming a satisfying OM to the universe, while I might be struggling to figure out which way to turn my head, where to place my hand, and how my foot happened to get where it is. Yoga isn’t a contest. It’s not a competitive sport. When I focused on what was happening on my own mat, not only was it a much more pleasant experience, but I was able to achieve the tasks I set for myself there.

Similarly, writing isn’t a competitive sport. “What?,” you might ask, “How can that be?!” Because your writing isn’t going to keep improving if you don’t keep your focus on your own work. Measuring yourself against other writers won’t make your writing any better or worse. Putting others down or putting yourself down in comparison to others also won’t change how you write. What will change how you write is writing and reading.

So, if you’re not a write every day kind of writer, that’s ok. If you’re a plotter or a *pantser, that’s ok. If you only write during the summer, that’s ok. If you can’t read in your genre while you’re in the midst of a manuscript, that’s ok. If you need to eat mini marshmallows while you write, that’s ok. However it works for you is ok. Keep your concentration on what’s happening on your own “yoga mat.” In that way, you’ll know what you need to focus on next and it might be a more pleasant experience.

*a “pantser” is someone who writes by the seat of their pants, as opposed to outlining a whole plot beforehand.

What’s one bit of advice you’d like to give other writers? What’s one bit of writing advice that made a difference for you?


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Writing Yoga Retreat 2014 Registration is Open!

yoga-positions_b4syex5vrkYou guys, I’m giddy with excitement! Seriously. I just spun around the room, smiling and laughing… Maybe I’m losing my marbles or maybe I’m really, really psyched for the 2014 Writing Yoga Retreat! Last year was such an amazing experience that my buddy Stefanie Lipsey and I decided to do it again. Here, here, and here are what some of the participants thought of last year’s retreat.

But, “What is Writing Yoga?” you might ask. Well, this is lifted straight from Stefanie’s blog, and gives you the story of how Writing Yoga was created: “Writing Yoga® began in 2007 while I was working toward my MFA in Creative Writing at Queens College. It was during my rigorous MFA program when I realized just how helpful my yoga practice was to my “writing practice.” Daily meditations and asanas helped me move through my days as a wife, mother, teacher, librarian and student more fluidly. Not that every day was perfect, but I can’t imagine how I would have survived without yoga. Writing Yoga® continues to grow and change.”

Stefanie  offers workshops, coaching and free weekly writing prompts, and together we offer the Writing Yoga Retreat each summer. And as she says on her website, “All offerings use the principles of yoga including balance, flexibility, and intention to inspire the creative process.”

We expect the retreat, which is capped at only 15 participants, to fill up quickly. Admission is based on your commitment to writing, not where you are on your journey (i.e. newbies to published professionals). There’s a discounted rate if you apply & pay before December 31st. Don’t miss this opportunity! Last year we had participants from Colorado, Michigan, and Ohio (as well as New York, of course) who were all at different stages of their writing journey. It. Was. Fabulous.

So if you’re interested, or have questions, please get in touch soon.

Namaste and all that jazz,


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