Ep.06: Seasons of Writing: Summer

Melody, Gina, and KimBoo return to the Five Element paradigm from Melody’s book, Soul of the Seasons, with a look at what it means for writers and other creatives to be feeling the heat of summer! (We live in Florida, we’re allowed to make jokes about how hot it is!)

Summer as a creative experience can happen anytime during the calendrical year, and represents a specific time in the cycle of creation. In summer, visions are brought to fruition, we work on developing and maturing projects we’ve started, we prune here and feed there as we commit to finishing what we are working on. It is a time of revision and reaching out to our community for support and encouragement.

We cover a lot of ground in this episode, and invite you to join us in exploring what it means to come up against what KimBoo has labeled “The Two Chapter Problem.”

Links and Resources:
Hot Mic with Houston and Hogan podcast (Spotify link)
Soul of the Seasons book website

Music used in episodes of Around the Writer’s Table is kindly provided by Langtry!

We want to hear from you!

Please submit a comment or a question for Gina, Melody, and KimBoo to talk about in one of our upcoming episodes! 

We appreciate the viewpoints of our listeners and look forward to seeing what you have to say. 

Contact the Writer's Table Collective!

Ep.06: Seasons of Writing: Summer – TRANSCRIPT

Dave Hogan (Gina’s Pop)
0:02
Welcome to Around the Writer’s Table, a podcast focusing on the crossroads of creativity, craft, and conscious living for writers of all ages and backgrounds. Your hosts are Gina, Melody, and KimBoo, three close friends and women of a certain age, who bring to the table their eclectic backgrounds and unique perspectives on the trials, tribulations, and the joys of writing. So pull up a chair and get comfortable here around the writer’s table. 

Gina Hogan Edwards
0:40
Hi, everybody, welcome to episode six of Around the Writer’s Table. We’re going to be talking today about keeping the summer fires burning. I am one of your co-hosts Gina Edwards. I am passionate about supporting women and finding their voices on the page and from a stage. Also with me here today are my buddies, KimBoo… KimBoo is a romance novelist and former project manager who helps writers and small business owners, like me, find time and mojo and motivation to create. Hello, KimBoo. 

KimBoo York
Hello. 

Gina
And I am also here with my bud, Melody. Melody helps her clients find their sense of home by restoring balance and harmony to their lives through plant spirit medicine and her book Soul of the Seasons. Hi, Melody.

Melody, A Scout
1:43
Hi, Gina. Hi, KimBoo.

Gina
1:46
Great to be here today. So, Melody, why don’t you give us a little brief on the five seasons. This episode is part of an ongoing series that we are doing that is centered around many of the concepts in your book. So I’m going to pass it off to you to kind of fill in our listeners on what we’ve done so far and where we are.

Melody
2:13
Thank you, Gina. And I would invite our listeners, if you haven’t already, to go back and listen to our earlier podcasts because we go through some of these in more detail. But I’m just going to provide this brief overview. And this is in relationship to the writing process. And so we talked last month – maybe that was… actually two months ago – we talked about Spring.

KimBoo
2:46
Time flies.

Melody
2:50
Yeah, and the season of Spring and about all the explosive new growth that happens in Spring. And that’s when we start our first draft and we get all these exciting ideas popping and our storyline is all… we make notes and we write like crazy people. And this is where our vision for our work comes into being in more focus. 

Then we move on to the season of Summer. Spring always gives way to Summer, which is the season we’re going to talk about today. And Summer is the season of maturation. After our season of explosive new growth, our story needs help to mature. And so now we need to shape and structure our story idea. And we need to be aware that if we’re not careful to support our little seedling story idea, it may wither and die. And we’re going to talk more about that: keeping up the spark in Summer. And Summer is when the visions we had created in Spring are brought into fruition, the words are put on the page, our storyline develops, our characters tell us crazy and wonderful things. And we’re overseeing that process, which may seem hectic and chaotic at times, but a lot is going on during the season of Summer. 

So after we get the season of Summer, we move through that, our next season in Five Element anyways, a season of Harvest. Some call this Indian Summer. This is a brief but sumptuous season where we experience and recognize all the fruits of our hard work. We may have completed our first draft and we have that printed out before us, or second draft or fourth draft or fifth draft. But we have something to show for all our hard work, and it feels complete, and we feel gratitude. And our heart is full. 

After the season of Summer and Harvest comes Fall, of course. And Fall is a season, as it implies, is a season of letting go. So this is where we put our editor hat on. And maybe literally hire an editor to help us come and take a look of what needs to be pruned and what needs to be cut back and how to shape it and move it forward in keeping with our vision. 

And after our season of Fall comes Winter. And that’s a season of rest. That is the quiet. That’s the womb of consciousness. It’s where our creativity sparks. It’s where those little seedling ideas of story start to germinate. 

KimBoo
5:58
I love Winter so much. I love Winter. Not just the weather, but this whole idea like the sparking, and the ideas come.

Melody
6:07
Yeah, and the season of rest as well. So that’s an overview of the five seasons. And as you follow us along, we’re going to talk more in depth about some of the joys and challenges of each of these seasons. 

Gina
6:22
Melody, one of the things that we’ve talked about numerous times, and I always like to reiterate for the listeners who may not be familiar with plant spirit medicine and the idea of the seasons as we’re presenting them is that we’re not talking about an alignment of the writing process and our creativity with the actual natural seasons of the environment. We’re using this as a model. And that we may creatively be in a season of Winter when, outside, it’s 90 degrees. I just want the readers to understand that this is a model that we’re using to help them understand the creative cycles.

Melody
7:07
Exactly. Everything has a season. And it’s important. 

Kimboo
Everything!

Melody
Yes, exactly. Our work, our relationships, life, everything has a season, a beginning, and cycling around again. It is important to remember that, when balanced, all of the seasons are working at all times. We may be focused in one particular area at one time or another – and we’re going to talk about Summer this time – but each season is supported and reinforced by the other seasons. So we like to have this very linear thought process. But thinking of it as something that’s always in motion, always cycling around, always supportive. 

So what are some of the common pitfalls that we run into during this season? Well, as we touched on briefly, it can be easy because there’s so much going on. This is where we get down in the trenches now with our project. We may have pounded out a rough first draft or the outline or gotten off to a fantastic start, but then we get down in the trenches. And we may feel ourselves waning. 

I know this happens with me. I like shiny things. Ooh, new story idea. Yay. And during the writing of that my creative brain is just sparking on all cylinders all the time. I get new story ideas, or I get lots of ideas for my character. And then, it’s so much that my brain can shut down. I can become overwhelmed. Things get muddled. I can’t understand what my plot needs to do. Maybe it becomes too complex or confusing or poorly structured. I feel disorganized. And then.. 

Kimboo
I have no idea what that feels like. 

Melody
I’m glad y’all have graduated beyond that, because I’m gonna be asking you how you did that.

KimBoo
9:24
I was actually, while you’re talking, I was thinking of a conversation I had with my friend yesterday, a friend of mine who’s a fan fiction writer as well as trying to break into doing her own original genre fiction. And we called it the two-chapter problem, because it’s when you have a great idea and you’re writing it down and you get two chapters in and then, like you said, it either becomes overwhelming or it kind of peters out, or you’re not sure where you’re supposed to go with it. And so your life is littered with two chapters of books, of all these different books that you have around you, and it’s just the two-chapter problem. That’s the name we came up with yesterday. Yes.

Gina
10:03
Don’t you think to that that’s related to something that we talked about – I don’t know if it was the last episode or the one before – about too many options. Too many choices. Creative people come up with so many ideas, and then we’ve got decisions to make. And we’ve got to pick one sometimes. And we think that there’s a right or wrong, and there’s not. It’s creativity. You can go where you want to with it.

Melody
10:30
Yeah. And, oftentimes, I try to cope with this by either becoming the severe task mistress and  working on, pounding on it, all the time, all the time. And I don’t know how you can attest… That’s works so well with me – not.

KimBoo
10:55
I’m sensing a bit of sarcasm there. Just a little.

Melody
10:58
Yeah, so I loose my passion or discard it altogether. So tell me a little bit, Gina, about your experience during this season of the writing process, your challenges and some of your joys.

Gina
11:19
What you said.

[laughing]

KimBoo
11:22
Well, that was a great podcast, y’all. It’s been good. Okay.

Gina
11:28
No, seriously, you touched on a number of different ways. And I think it kind of depends on how far along my project is and maybe what kind of project that it is. And, of course, my level of passion about it. But I can get to a place sometimes where I’m either overwhelmed because I have too many ideas. And that I have to sort of draw back, remind myself that there are no wrong decisions in a creative process, and then regroup. 

Sometimes, I just feel like I have no ideas, like there’s a blank wall. And I honestly believe that it is the overwhelm of idea that leads me to the conclusion that I have no ideas, which sounds crazy. But it’s almost like a shutdown process. You know. It’s like, I just go, “Okay, I can’t let anything through, because there’s just too much, too much, too much.” And so I may shut down for a while. And that’s when I know that I need to take a break from my writing and do something different. Maybe, again, depending on the project and the nature of it, it might just be going for a walk and then coming back to it a few hours later. Or it might be putting that thing in the drawer and leaving it alone for a month and doing something completely different. It might be a creative crossover where I do something like draw for a while or read for a while instead of writing. So it kind of just depends on the type of project that I’m working on, I think.

Melody
13:02
Those are great ideas.

KimBoo
13:05
Yeah, I think creativity cross-pollination is a really good one, too. Like if your creativity is stalled in one area, I often find if I work on a different story, or like you said, do some drawing or just even get up a dance, there’s the energy there that can feed into helping resolve those issues.

Gina
13:23
Yeah, I think we don’t give enough credence to doing that creative crossover. And we also don’t give enough credit to what moving our body can do for us, can do for our mind, can do for our creative process. So I’m glad that you mentioned dancing. And I think that’s also a reason why I like walking so much is because it gets me out of my head for a while and gets my body moving. And as we say, in the WomanSpeak program that I do: our wisdom, our greatest wisdom as women is in our bodies. And so sometimes when we can get out of our heads, and just move, then we come back to settle. What we need comes back to us.

Melody
14:06
Mm hmm. That’s a great point. I’ve found that to be true with myself, too. I mean, you mentioned this before, but one of the most valuable pieces of helpful information you gave me as my editor when I was writing my book was: Take a break. A) give yourself credit for the work that you’ve done and B) take a break from it. And it was so helpful. I can’t tell you how many times when I put something down completely, have gone off and done something else totally unrelated that that resolution pops up, and I can find a way out.

Gina
14:51
I think if we’re in that place of overwhelm or stuckness – whatever, however it manifests for you individually – if we can just remind ourselves to first say, “Look at all you’ve done so far.” Just remind yourself of where you’ve come to that point. Give yourself a little bit of credit before you spin out.

Melody
15:14
Absolutely. So, KimBoo, tell us a little bit about how you navigate the season of Summer in your writing projects, and anything you found to help you.

KimBoo
15:29
Like I was discussing earlier, the two-chapter problem is a big issue for me. Usually at the 30,000-word point, I hit a wall. And that’s something that’s been true most my entire life. And so at that point, in the past, I really have just put things aside, been overwhelmed, And I kind of want to bring up the topic of fear here. I’ve been dealing with that lately. A book that – it’s all Gina’s fault, she recommended The Imposter Cure, a book about imposter syndrome. And it talks a lot about fear and perfectionism, and issues like that. And when I come into, as we’re talking about this season of Summer, where I’m trying to help my stories mature and trying to bring that energy back into the stories to get out of the two-chapter problem, fighting the fear, dealing with the fear is a big one. For me, I was kind of laughing when you said, Gina, about, “Look at what you’ve done. Look at the successes you’ve had.” Sometimes that’s really helpful. And sometimes I’ll look at it and I go, “Well, I’ve done it now. I’ll never be able to do it again.” You know? 

It’s terrible. It’s like, “Oh, yeah, you took the shot. Now it’s over.” Which is absolutely not true. Yeah, wrong. Because creativity is the seasons. It does come. It waxes and wanes. It comes and goes. But it is eternal. It is always moving through us. So of course, obviously, that’s not true. But dealing with that fear, when I come up against that need to work on and really build the stories and build them up and make them stronger and make them complete – that’s an important part of the process – I deal with the fear a lot. 

So I know you asked me: what do I do? what are my solutions? And I can’t say that this is an ongoing project for me. Because as much as I’ve written – I have seven novels published at this point and 20 more in development, as is my way, that’s just how my brain works. I need lots of different things going on to keep the creativity sparked. But dealing with that fear is really an ongoing issue. So I wish I could offer our listeners some traits-packed solution that works really well for me. But sometimes it really is an issue of either laying off myself or pushing through. It just really depends on what the status is. And I’m sorry that that’s just as convoluted and not helpful as it sounds. But as you guys were talking, I was really realizing just how big of an issue this is for me personally.

Gina
18:23
It’s real though. I am sure that if you struggle with it, you are not the only one. And I do have one thing to add. But I’m going to turn the question around on Melody and ask her the same thing. So what are your processes? And what do you do? 

Melody
18:44
Well, you know, I didn’t realize how much of a problem this was with my writing until I did my book, I started my book. And because most of it was like I wrote, and I enjoyed it, and I just think I got bored with it, or it didn’t suit me or it really wasn’t… And I just put it aside and didn’t go back to it. But the idea for the book grabbed me with such a vengeance and would not let me go. I tried to put it down. I tried to stick it in a drawer and go away and move away across the U.S. and it just kept pulling me back. And the fears you were talking about, KimBoo, came up in full force. 

And we’re going to talk about that more in the season of Winter, because the season of Winter is about death and the emotion of fear. Like anything, it serves us. It helps us become aware of taking appropriate risks, what we need to do. But getting overwhelmed by fear, as we know – that element is water in Winter – here we are in the season of Summer with fire and your passion and joy and excitement, and too much water on the fire puts it out. So learning about I would say, the number one thing that’s helped me so much is learning my own seasons internally and trying to define, be clear on what it was I needed at the time. And then drum roll…ask for it.

Gina
20:41
Ask for it.

Melody
20:47
Ask for it from my fellow writers and from my community. And community is one way that I have found to be tried and true, as a way to get me off the fence, or trench, or rut.

Gina
21:07
That is precisely the thing that I was going to add to this conversation. I’m so glad that you have gone there, Melody, because especially in the last months of the three of us getting together and talking about our writing process, and ideating about this podcast, and just sharing what we are going through in our writing process and creativity. Just having that community, having that support system really ignites my fire. It really sets me going again when I feel like I have fallen off that fence.

Melody
21:59
I would agree wholeheartedly. It helps get me perspective and balance and I can bringthat big ball of mess that I have to my trusted friends and community and, “I don’t know what to do with this crap.” And always helps you look at it from a different perspective. They pull these little threads out and give me ideas of how to resolve it. They don’t try to fix it for me. But they support me in getting some clarity. And another thing I love about community is they provide accountability for me, which is really a big motivator for me. If I say I’m going to do something for you, or something by XYZ, I genuinely follow through on it.

KimBoo
22:59
It’s interesting that you say that because as you’re talking, and I’m gonna let the cat out of the bag to our listeners – so we do actually outline these podcasts a little bit. It’s not completely off the cuff. And one of the things that we were going to put in there is a little bit about the fanfiction community that I’m a part of. And one of the things that your comment about accountability that really struck me just then is that there are a lot of situations in the fanfiction community and in fandoms where they create challenges. They create writing challenges. If anybody’s familiar who’s listening with NaNoWriMo, which is the annual national write a novel in a month thing that goes on, that’s held every year in November. It’s like a mini version of that, for particular fandoms. Like people will say, we’re going to have – they’re called big bangs – and a big bang challenge is usually where you commit to writing a story that’s at least 100,000 words long, and it is in that fandom, and there’s a due date for it. And they’ll have a whole framework and a structure. There’ll be check in times. There’ll be people who will serve as beta readers or editors for you. There are people who are actually assigned the role of cheerleader who will come in to communications on Discord or on forums and be like, “Hey, let me cheer you on and give you you know, give you some Mojo and juice. Or let’s bat around some ideas.” And it’s a community of accountability, but it’s so positive and it’s so encouraging. 

And I think a lot of times people think accountability is a drudgery. Accountability is something, a deadline. Oh my god: dead. The word ‘dead’ is actually in the fray. “Oh, no, it’s gonna kill me.” But when we have a trusted group of people, whether it’s because we’re in the same fandom or because we’re good friends as the three of us, that accountability can be joyous. It can be something that’s positive and encouraging. And like a big bang challenge, that’s not easy. That’s not easy to write 100,000 words in six months or whatever for those stories. But the community is just coming together and creating that energy. And that is so important to tap into that wherever you can find it, I think.

It’s like you said, Gina, this for us, us three, our bigger groups or other groups. I know, you’ve got some in Women Writing for CHANGE, Gina, which is your Facebook group for women writers. That’s so important. It’s just really important.

Gina
25:41
I love that fun approach that the fanfic community is taking to that. That sounds awesome. You know, I think a lot of people think, in terms of getting feedback from the writing, the standard go to is, oh, I need to be in a critique group. And I think that over the years, people are finding alternatives to that because not every particular business is necessarily supportive, and you have to be careful who you share with. 

And that’s something I know, we’re going to talk more about over the course of this podcast, and maybe even devote an entire episode to that at some point. But feedback groups, critique groups, whatever you want to call them, just making sure that you’re in a community that is supportive and uplifting instead of one that drags you down or hijacks your stories or whatever. The Women Writing for CHANGE group that you mentioned, KimBoo. Before the pandemic started – it had nothing to do with the pandemic – just coincidentally, I started that Facebook group in March of 2020. So yeah, two years ago. 

KimBoo
Right on the nose of the pandemic, right? 

Gina
Yes, yes. And one of the reasons that I started it is because a lot of women struggle to find the community. A lot of women, either they live in a remote place, and so they may not have a supportive writing community like we’re lucky to have here in North Florida. They may just not have any other writers in their circle of community who can give them the kind of support that writers need. And so my thinking in creating the Women Writing for CHANGE Facebook group was to bring women from all over the world together to give each other support. And we do Zoom writing sessions that are – as far as accountability goes, your point is well taken, KimBoo, that a lot of people think of accountability as this oppressive thing. This: “I’m going to come down on you and I’m going to punish you if you don’t get to it.” 

KimBoo
27:56
Naughty, naughty, naughty.

Melody
Discipline.

Gina
27:59
Well, there’s a whole spectrum of accountability. And we do that in, I think, a kind and very mindful way in terms of showing up, declaring what you’re going to write – now, this is all done on Zoom – declaring what you’re going to write, we set a timer for an hour, we write for an hour, and afterwards you do just a quick check-in of how did it go for you. And usually we’ll end up in some conversation about some aspect of writing or creativity, or one of the struggles that one of the women have. But that sort of knowing that there are other women there, at the same time, doing the same thing that you’re doing, and yet working independently on their own projects, to me, that is one of the most beautiful kinds of accountability.

KimBoo
28:52
Having been a part of those writing sessions, I would agree. It’s very enriching in a lot of ways to have that sense of community, even if we’re all just being quiet and typing or scribbling away,

Melody
29:05
Right, because writing is a very solitary activity. It can be good to come out of our heads and share with each other and tell our stories. We’re going to talk about storytelling here in a minute. I really enjoy the Women Writing for CHANGE community. Even if I can’t get to each of the sessions, I know I can drop in and be fed, and I’m there and present and ready for writing. Where, left to my own devices, I would be cleaning my junk drawer out or something else equally important. But, I have to say, one of the payoffs for me with accountability is that sense of accomplishment when I can say to others, “I got this done this week. Or I was able to do this part of it.” And I always get the support and the kudos from the group. And that’s important. We usually don’t think how important that cheerleading, that group, that your community behind you, cheering you on and reminding you’re on the right track.

KimBoo
30:27
I think in the past, I’ve mentioned the WIP Wednesday’s hashtag on Twitter that a lot of – where WIP stands for works-in-progress – where people take screenshots or post snippets of the work that they’re currently writing. And one of the things I love about that is it’s, in a way, it’s this kind of positive accountability. It’s like, “Oh, yeah. I did write some. I’m on chapter three. Here’s a paragraph completely out of context. I’m not going to tell you anything about it. But here’s a paragraph that shows that I’ve been writing.” And you know, people are like, “Oh, gosh, can’t wait to read it. And, wow, this is so awesome. And, oh, the mystery deepens,” or whatever. And it is. It’s just so enriching and uplifting. Original fiction writers have a little bit more trouble with that, because people reading it don’t know your characters. But I do know original fiction writers who do that. Their fans love to see a little snippet of what’s coming up. And so it’s just a positive feedback loop. And that kind of group accountability type of thing.

Melody
31:31
It is absolutely. And the group has connected, the individuals within it, who might not have normally, in any other circumstances met. And developed relationships outside the group. And to me, that’s also important to have your trusted relationships because, as you all know, what goes on in our personal lives affects our creativity. You know, I’ve got a family issue looming over me or something that just seems to be too big for my plate, I can come to my good trusted friends, and they’ll let me talk it out and maybe give me some perspective. Because I don’t know about you guys – well, I do know about you guys – but it clogs my brain up. There is no creativity, there’s no writing when I have a big issue hanging over me. Some people escape into it and do that. But I am not one of those people.

Gina
32:36
Yeah, I think that’s a good point that, I know, I have one friend that writing is her escape. That allows her to get away from all of the craziness that might be going on in the world, in general, or if she’s got something going on in her personal life, then her writing is her escape. But I’m like you, Melody, if I’ve got something that’s bothering me, that I’m concerned about, that’s really taking up space in my personal life in a way that doesn’t feel good, then it’s really hard for me to immerse myself in the creative process. And so having those friends that we can share with so that we can either work it out for ourselves or at least just get it out, sometimes unblocks the block, opens the gate.

Melody
33:27
Absolutely. And that actually brings up one of the other qualities of Summer that is so central to what we do, and that is communication, because community is all about communication. And also communicating what we know we need and desire at the time. And one of the ways we do that is through storytelling. So storytelling is at the core of why people write. We want to tell our stories. We want to tell a story. We want to create a fabulous, crazy, wild, exciting, dark, funny story. And I I love storytelling. That’s in my DNA. My father was a great storyteller, loved to regale us with stories of his army days and his buddies and their antics. So genetically, I have that. And I love hearing stories and I love reading about stories. So where does storytelling, where did that germ of storytelling fall or come into play? Or maybe become aware to you? Either of you. KimBoo?

KimBoo
34:51
Well, kind of like with you, it’s part of my genetics. You know, my father, both my parents are Southerners, and the South has a real strong tradition of storytelling. My father, particularly, was Appalachian, from the highlands of Virginia. He was like your father. He could tell a great yarn. I mean, his stories about World War II, an absolutely tragic and horrifying time in his life, were hysterically funny. I don’t know how I did it, but he did. I’m not as good a storyteller as he is. Probably, I could be if I practiced, but he was fantastic. So, for me, the germ of the storytelling, I think, came from both of my parents, in the sense that they were both readers and writers of their own styles, and just really, really loved it. So for me, this is kind of a fruition of that potential in me. I’ll be honest with you. Like some people grew up thinking they’re going to be doctors, and then they go to medical school, and they become doctors. And I grew up thinking I was going to be a writer. There was never any question in my mind. I’m not one of those people who stumbled over it later in life. It was absolutely at six years old, I was going to be a writer, and that’s just everything else circled around that, and always has.

Gina
36:10
I envy that because I too, when I was young, I always thought that I would be a writer. And then life got in the way. And I postponed my writing until I was in my early 30s. But that’s another story. Something that I think is interesting here is how each one of us has been influenced by our fathers’ storytelling. My father, too, is an incredible storyteller. And the listeners got to hear his voice in the intro of our podcast. That’s my Pop, doing the intro and the outro for our podcast.

KimBoo
36:48
He has his own podcast now. Right?

Gina
36:51
He does, he does. He and his buddy, Randy have started Hot Mic with Hogan and Houston. And I’m so glad because he was a decades-long… more than 50 years in radio. He started in radio before he was 16 years old and spent his life talking on the radio, telling stories, experiencing life in a way that is very unusual and rich, and the way that he tells stories, with his ability to create visual and to bring about emotion, I think is such a gift, such a gift. And like you, KimBoo, I don’t feel like I can tell stories as well as he can. He’s a verbal storyteller. I’ve tried to get him to write and he has done some writing. But he really enjoys sharing his stories verbally. And I think that one of the powers of storytelling is that we can tell stories that can change the world, literally. We can change people’s minds. We can open them up to perspectives that they may never have even considered before. When we tell stories, whether they’re our stories in terms of being about us in our lives, or whether their stories we have made up, stories still have the power to change people, to change lives, and to change the world. And when it comes to storytelling, there’s so much richness there. I think that’s a whole other podcast too. I could go off on a million different tangents.

KimBoo
38:42
I’ll make a note for us to do that later. 

Gina
38:45
Yeah, I do want to get back to the idea, though, of as a storyteller, as a writer, knowing what you need and then being able to ask for it. That’s something that Melody mentioned earlier. And it takes a lot of self awareness to really understand what we need in terms of our creativity and our writing. And I think that there’s a lot that can be said there too. But, you know, storytelling is obviously integral to all of us as writers, and something that I feel privileged to be able to tell stories.

Melody
39:25
That passion for that led you to something that got me excited and I became involved with, and that is the WomanSpeak program. So that’s women telling their stories, learning how to do verbal storytelling. Can you give us just a little brief overview of what WomanSpeak does?

Gina
39:48
Sure, sure. The way that I like to describe WomanSpeak is that, first of all, it’s very feminine centric. It is on the surface a public speaking program, but it is not a Toastmasters, or one of the traditional type programs because of its emphasis on the way that women think and the way that women just are in the world. We do connect deeply with our inner wisdom, through body movement. We learn all kinds of physical techniques. We always have what we call a speaking practice every month, that we focus on in terms of how to use your body when you’re storytelling. And then we have a theme. And some of those themes are things like How to Speak Up in Groups, Stories From Your Past. That’s the next topic that we’re going to be touching on, this next month. And Sharing What You Believe, understanding what it is that really moves you to want to change the world, and whether that’s the world at large or whether that’s the world being your community, your family, your closer-knit world. Really knowing what those things are, so that you can articulate them in a way to bring about change and to create a vision that you really see a future possibility for.

Melody
41:24
I have to tell you that as someone who’s done a lot of speaking for a lot of my adult life, I got excited about it because it really does such an amazing job at helping me hone in on the message I want to deliver. You know, we have timeframes, because if you’re trying to pitch an idea – like your story, like your book, whatever – you need to hone in on what it is that you are offering and do it in a relatively short period of time. And WomanSpeak has really helped me focus and we weave our stories into that delivery in ways that are engaging to our audience. So I would go check it out. There’s going to be a link or if there’s not already a link, there should be on our webpage. I also want to say, if we don’t have one, let’s put a link on AroundTheWritersTable.com for, Gina, your dad’s podcast, because I know…

Gina
42:29
Oh, good idea.

KimBoo
42:32
Yeah, yeah, I’ll definitely get that on the show notes when we get this one put up. Sure, for sure. And I just, I kind of wanted because I’m not in the WomanSpeak program, I remember, Gina, you going through the training for it, and then launching your own thing, but it’s such a great match to your Women Writing for CHANGE, about encouraging women to speak up to invite change into other people’s lives through their stories and through their own lives through their own story. 

And it really has affected me kind of like tangentially, off to the side, me just kind of looking at you doing these things. Because as a genre writer, we often get besmirched, as being fluffy and unimportant writing. But I do think that the conversations we’ve had about this, and with humility about the call to writing, and the process of writing through the seasons, has made me realize that I do have messages I want to share. One of my books, and I was thinking about this as I was going back and republishing some of my older books, and one is a love story about a widower and the grief that he has for the loss of his partner. I realized that I was using that story to not necessarily process my own grief, but to share my experiences of grief, and how, just because you lose somebody you love, doesn’t mean you’ll never, never love again. That’s a really important message that I didn’t even see in the book until I came back after some of these discussions and exposure to Women Writing for CHANGE and me thinking, Well, what is it? Do my books have a message? Is there anything important here? 

So sometimes we do write those stories, even if we’re not realizing it. So to me, it’s been very valuable to come back and realize that my voice and my stories are in my stories, even if my stories aren’t the traditional self-help or the traditional high literary, whatever smoochies thing – that I’m just totally not that person. And that’s very valuable to me.

Melody
44:40
That’s what I like about you, KimBoo

Gina
44:44
I’m sitting here like, I can’t even sit still in my seat because what you just said makes me so excited because, again, that’s another reason why I really wanted to get Women Writing for CHANGE started and start getting these women together because whether our stories are make believe, whether they’re made up, or whether they’re a self-help book or a memoir, whether they’re true or whether they’re fantasy…it does not matter the genre…it does not matter the type of book that it is…that author had some driving force – whether it was apparent to them or not – had some driving force in putting forth that message and sharing that story. 

And so, that awareness may not be on the surface. It might come after the writing is already done. But, storytelling, like I said, it can change lives, and understanding what those messages are that we have in our stories, whether they’re intentional or not, whether they’re overt or more subtle, I think is very valuable for a writer.

Melody
45:59
And I didn’t want to get away without mentioning the things you do to not only tell your stories, KimBoo, but to support the writer through the Author Alchemist, the courses you’re offering. You’re starting a new course that’is very exciting. I’ve only heard a little bit about it. But it seems like offer structure and guidance for people, which is really important during this season of Summer, if you who want to take a few minutes and talk about that.

KimBoo
46:28
Well, yeah. I have really two threads going on there. The Author Alchemist is specifically for writers. And the courses that I offer there are geared for people who’ve been in the fanfiction community and are looking for the kind of support that they get there, but in an original fiction environment. So I do have courses on how to deal with decision fatigue and overwhelm there. And, of course, I have my podcast Author Alchemist, which were actually – and I mentioned this when we were talking earlier this week – about how my current one is a series of our deepest fears. And a lot of that has to do with a lot of the things that we’re talking about right now, like the overwhelm and the two-chapter problem and things like that. 

The other one, which is a newer one, which is what you were talking about, Melody, is called The Task Mistress. And people kind of raise their eyebrows when I mentioned the name of it, but it’s based on my project management experience. What I hope to give people and especially small business owners, and particularly creatives who are building a business around their creativity, is a way to manage all the projects that they have going on and all the things that they’re trying to do in a way that nourishes them and doesn’t overwhelm them with the actual act of trying to manage all the projects that they have going on. So those are things that are really important to me. I think there’ll be beneficial to a lot of people. And it’s important to me personally, and this gets back to the whole topic of what we’re talking about right now, is because I feel like my story from these experiences that I’ve had as both a novelist and as a project manager in the information technology industry, it will be able to help people share their stories and share their ideas and share their inspiration. And to me, that’s just a wonderful feeling. So that’s kind of my focus on it.

Gina
48:29
And I am cheering you on. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been spurring her on in terms of getting this one particular project finished. That I hope – she doesn’t know this yet – but I’m gonna encourage her to create a version of it that is specifically for writers. I keep giving her things to do.

KimBoo
48:55
She does! You’ve become my project manager. I better start taking notes.One of the things that we’ve kind of touched on a little bit on the overwhelm is burnout. And so I wanted to throw it in here, not because we have time to discuss it on this episode, but I believe we’re going to be talking about that in the next episode. Right? Yeah.

Melody
49:24
That is such a big challenge for writers and people, in general, right now. I don’t know a friend that I haven’t talked about recently who’s just like, I’m fried. I just can’t pull ideas out of my head anymore. I’m lucky I eat, sleep, and shower. They’re just suffering from burnout, just overwhelm, never-ending stress, pandemic, political craziness going on. It all adds to the pile. And so this is a really important subject. And I’m really looking forward to talking about it more in our next session.

Gina
50:12
Yes, me too. Lot to say there.

KimBoo
50:15
Yeah, Gina, you particularly you. I know you’ve been been working on, you took July – not necessarily off – but you’ve stepped back a little bit to recharge and reset. And so I’m very, very much looking forward to hearing what you have to say. 

Gina
So I got a lot to say.

KimBoo
When you’re not stepped back anymore. And we also have a worksheet that’s going to be going with this episode, right, Melody?

Melody
50:47
We do. You can look for it on our web page AroundTheWritersTable.com. And it’s going to list some really helpful things about the season of Summer. It’ll show you what are some balanced and imbalanced qualities. Once you understand that, you can say, “Oh, this is where I’m off. And here’s what I can reach at.” It’s also going to give some ways and questions to think about how you can draw in the qualities and the strengths of the other seasons to help you through the Summer process.

KimBoo
51:24
Yeah, I’ll have it as a download for people on the show notes on our website. If you’re listening to this on an app like Spotify or Stitcher, you won’t find the worksheet there. But if you go to our website and the show notes, for this episode on our website, the worksheet will be downloadable at that location.

Gina
51:45
And that is AroundTheWritersTable.com..

KimBoo
51:49
Yes, yes. Good to mention that. Yes.

Melody
51:52
And you’ll find all of our links there, you’ll find a link to my book Soul of the Seasons and my plant spirit medicine link on there, and KimBoo’s fabulous links for all the goodies she’s doing and Gina’s links for Women Writing for CHANGE and WomanSpeak and the other work that she does, the very important work she does. And I want to invite our listeners again, please write in your comments and questions. We’d love to hear from you. I think we’re going to start a Q&A here one of these times too.

KimBoo
52:31
That would be awesome. And just know, everybody, that’s a form right there on our website, both on the homepage and on the show notes for this episode. You go, you clicky clicky, you type out your question, you hit submit, and we will receive it and be able to respond to it in the next episode.

Melody
52:51
Yeah, we’d love to hear your ideas, comments, and questions about burnout, for our next thing.

Gina
52:57
Yes, yeah,.

KimBoo
52:58
That’d be good. So I think that’s about it for us. Yeah. It’s a little bit longer than our usual episodes, but I think we covered a lot of great territory. And, you know, I think we did a great job. So I’m satisfied. I’m happy. I don’t know about y’all. We’re good. We’re good? 

Gina
We’re good. 

Melody
We’re good. 

Kimboo
So definitely check us out. And all of our links are on the website AroundTheWritersTable.com. The show notes will have the download links. Gina’s father’s podcast will be there which I have listened to. It’s delightful. So I highly recommend that one. 

And again, we would love to hear any responses from our listeners about ideas, their thoughts about burnout, anything they got going on that they’d like us to discuss specifically, or questions that they might have. So thank you all very much for tuning in and listening to us. And we will catch you next month around the writers table. Bye, y’all.

Dave
54:00
Thanks for joining us around the writer’s table. Please feel free to suggest a topic or a guest by emailing info@aroundthewriterstable.com. Music provided with gracious permission by Langtry. A link to their music is on our homepage at AroundTheWritersTable.com. Everyone here around the writer’s table wishes you joy in your writing and everyday grace in your living. Take care, until next time.

Copyright / Terms & Conditions

Around the Writer's Table and its co-hosts, Gina Hogan Edwards, Melody, A Scout, and Kimboo York own the copyright to all content and transcripts of the Around the Writer's Table podcast, with all rights reserved, including right of publicity. ​​You ​are welcome to share an excerpt from the episode transcript (up to 500 words) in media articles​, such as ​​The New York Times, ​Miami Herald, etc.; in a non-commercial article or blog post (e.g., ​​Medium); and/or on a personal social media account for non-commercial purposes, provided you include proper attribution and link back to the podcast URL. No one is authorized to use the Around the Writer's Table logo, or any portion of the transcripts or other content in and of the podcast to promote themselves.

Share This