Back in the Saddle

The Writer’s Midwife was on vacation on the beautiful west coast of Canada in the beginning of July. Vancouver welcomed our adventurous spirits and truthfully, I didn’t get any writing done. I didn’t even send a newsletter to you fine writers on the other parts of the globe. What I did do was take in all of the vast scenery, ate a ton of organic, locally grown produce and hugged a great tree or two in Stanley Park. I was living poetry last week. This week with the full moon fuelling me, it’s time to get back down to business.

Steven Pressfield’s wisdom (The War of Art) about resistance and writing is on my mind as I struggle to get back to work on things. My resistance took me to Chapters the other night, where I purchased two books on creativity and two blank journals that caught my eye. All in the hopes that it will motivate me to write…and I can justify not writing if I am reading books about writing, right? Wrong. What have I done instead?

xo

Samantha

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Communication: Avoid a Breakdown!

The Writer’s Midwife is currently undergoing changes! Ch-ch-ch-changes! However, we are still conducting local workshops as we design the online courses. If you would like to stay current with us, please go to http://www.thewritersmidwife.com/ and sign up for our emails. We are sending weekly newsletters with many awesome tips for writers and would love for you to stay part of the community!

 

Thank you for all of your support!

 

~Samantha

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New Website in the Works

Hi all you savvy readers!

   If you are checking this website, just know that there is another bigger and better website in the works. Although I have website shame at the moment and it is under construction, you can check it out at http://www.thewritersmidwife.com. In the meantime, keep writing and stay hydrated!

Much love,

The Writer’s Midwife

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Book Addiction. Are you a Pro or an Amateur?

I have a problem. Book buying has become an addiction. Another shelf has been added to the already limited wall space in our open-concept home. The new shelf puts it up to five bookshelves in our house. Two and a half are dedicated to fiction, one to children’s books, one to spiritual-minded or self-enrichment books and half of a book shelf is dedicated to poetry plus a couple of poetry baskets on the floor by the fireplace . This doesn’t include the books that are stacked on coffee tables, side tables and night stands. Books take over my house. But you know what? It makes me happy. Yes, I did say I have a whole shelf dedicated self-enrichment and spiritual books and many of those are Eastern philosophy.  Therefore, I get that ultimately “things” cannot make you happy. However, perhaps it is the ideas in the books, the connection to the authors on some level, the creativity and inspiration that pours out with every inky word. When it is a rainy day environmentally or internally, I head to a book store or library for solace (Libraries are the best because books can follow me home every time without any bank account guilt!). Two of the independent bookstores in Calgary have actually curbed my addiction by encouraging me to hold books until I have read a couple ha ha! I get asked that a lot, have you read any of the books you have bought? I am reading all the time, usually twelve on the go at one time. Here’s the thing I am beginning to notice: Although I have a library in my house with so many to choose from when I finish one, the books find me at the right time.

Exhibit A: Overflowing bookcase

Exhibit A: Overflowing bookcase

 

The Writer’s Midwife is in the process of growing wings and expanding to offer online courses by the summertime. Currently, I am enrolled in b-school and it begins tomorrow. It is an eight week online business course that helps you launch your online business. We were sent bonus material to begin our journey and one of the things Marie Forleo talked about in one of her videos was the book The War of Art  by Steven Pressfield. Ding! I knew I had that book somewhere! I had never even cracked it open but I had it for years. Twenty minutes of searching and I found it! I read the part Marie was talking about on being and amateur vs. a professional. This section of the book hit me between the eyes. Basically, Pressfield defines a professional as someone who shows up everyday. I show up to my mat everyday to do yoga. That’s great for my mind, body and soul, but writing? Writing and procrastination go hand in hand for many and I am one of them…until now. I am tired of being “The Writer’s Midwife” but cannot birth myself on the page day after day. I have been an amateur. Now, I am showing up to the page every day. This blog doesn’t even count. It needs to be journaling or creative. Moving me towards the poetry book I so desperately want to publish.

When I teach yoga, I highlight whether or not the practitioners are cheating on their mats. Are they actually lowering themselves to hover in Chattaranga Dandasana? Or are they making it look like they are as they swoop into Upward dog when it was about to require  a lot of strength? The same can be applied to the page and I will not allow myself to cheat by blogging or making notes about a book I am reading. While those things are important, they will not get me closer to the book I want to birth.

Pictures taken by Jamie Hyatt Photography

Pictures taken by Jamie Hyatt Photography

I had the amazing opportunity to meet and hug and hang out with Chris Hadfield. Just being around him “lifts” you up. He is the hero you want to meet. After meeting him and reading his book, he taught me a valuable lesson in turning dreams to manifestation. From the time he was a child, he asked himself whether an astronaut would make the decisions he would make. Would an astronaut eat ice cream or broccoli? He ate broccoli. Would an astronaut sit on the couch eating potato chips and watching t.v. or would he/she run around the block? Hadfield would run around the block. Would a writer answer the phone in the middle of  a writing session? Or would they ignore it? Would the writer write after the kids go to bed or watch t.v.?

It all depends on whether you want to be a pro or an amateur. I’m pretty sure I have my answer.

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Chakra Yoga/Writing Workshop at Yoga in Bowness

The Writer’s Midwife is excited to announce a new workshop in collaboration with Dr. Carol Hutchison!!

Chakras are the major energy centres that correspond to major organs in the body. In this afternoon workshop we will be awakening the chakras with Carol through yoga asana (physical postures) and transitioning to specific writing exercises in the last half. This workshop is designed to allow practitioners to tune in deeply to their bodies and listen to the messages that are there for them. The investment for pre-registration is $45 and $50 for drop-ins. The workshop will take place at Yoga in Bowness on Saturday March 8, 2014 from 2-5pm. Please bring a journal, pen, water bottle, yoga mat and an open mind. Please contact Yoga in Bowness for registration.

ABOUT YOUR TEACHERS:

Carol Hutchison dedicated to teaching musculoskeletal health to students and patients. She has been fortunate to have studied with many great teachers and practiced orthopaedic surgery in Canada, England and California. During her studies in Kinesiology, Medicine, and Orthopaedic Surgery, Carol was exposed to a wide variety of educational methods. This led her to pursue a Master’s degree in Education. She currently works as an Associate Professor and Course Director for musculoskeletal health at the University of Calgary Medical School. Her studies have been greatly enhanced recently through Yoga Teacher Training at the Yoga Passage with Tracy Mann, Lerrita Rubinoff, Tanis Fishman and all of the students studying with her. Carol is also a Reiki Master.

Carol’s surgical practice, at the Foothills Hospital, has become highly focused on lower extremity reconstruction, including hip and knee replacement, biologic solutions and transplants. She greets each patient with a beginner’s mind. “I try to see the whole person and address their greatest needs. I have learned so much by listening carefully to my patients”. Carol benefits from the amazing support of her calm and humble husband, Jeremy Tillim. Simply by example, he has encouraged her on her journey.

Your Awesome Teachers!

Your Awesome Teachers!

Sam 2Samantha Baldwin founded The Writer’s Midwife in 2012 after a bout of writer’s block from an inner critic who left her writing-self paralyzed. She began inspiration-based writing workshops to help anyone who had been limited by insecurity or negative self-talk. Samantha also studied under Lerrita Rubinoff, Tanis Fishman, Carol Hutchison and Tracy Mann at Yoga Passage. She became a certified yoga teacher in March 2013.  She has been a Hindu philosophy junkie since she was 17 and is currently taking her level 3 Reiki course.

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Coming out of the Closet: A Few Tips on Getting your Writing Out There

Today I walked into my mom’s grade three classroom with my two-year-old. She was the hit of the day, distracting them from Math. A welcome change. Immediately the hands started flying up to ask me questions. I assumed they would be toddler related questions about her development, the words she can say etc. Instead, they were all questions about poetry and writing. How many books have you written? How many poems have you written? How long have you been writing? And my personal favorite, what does it take to be a writer? Funny what getting published will do. I was always told that publication is just another hurdle, not the definition of being a writer. It comes with its fair share of challenges, namely the pressure to write more and perhaps “better” than before. I am an infant in this industry. I recognize that and am willing to learn all I can. However, what I am discovering is that it feels pretty good to be recognized by a literary magazine. It feels even better that it is a Canadian literary magazine. Signing the publication agreement sent me soaring and I have written more than I have in a long time. It has handed me motivation like I haven’t had before. A person doesn’t have to be published to feel this kind of flight. There are a few things you can do to take your writing on a date and try it out in the public eye:

1.) Open Mic Night

Pretty much every city has some form of spoken word open mic nights. This is great way to meet new people in the community and try your poetry out in front of an audience. Poets are really lovely people (at least the ones I’ve met) and they have all been there. They are your friends that you haven’t met yet and they will give you delicious feedback on where your work could potentially take you. If you are in the Calgary area you will want to check out Sheri-D Wilson and the Spoken Word Fest on Facebook or Single Onion, they have monthly open mic nights.

2.) Writing Workshops

I know we (the midwives) are totally biased on this one, however, writer’s workshops are a community and most of them require you to share your work. They are a great way to network and add to your writing toolbox. Besides The Writer’s Midwife, the Alexandra Writer’s Centre and the Alberta Writer’s Guild are two places we recommend getting a membership!

3.)Read Literary Magazines

Go out today and buy a few prospective literary magazines you can imagine your work appearing in. This will give you a better idea of what kind of writing they are looking for. Plus, you get to support these wonderful magazines! My favorite book to check out all of the literary magazines and agents in this country is The Canadian Writer’s Market. It has everything you could imagine knowing about where you want to send your work away.

4.) Send your Polished Work to a Magazine

You can use manuscript editing services through different writing organizations before you send your work away. The Midwives will even offer it! Many writers we know choose not to take this step and we understand it’s scary! However, blasting through the fear is part of the deal. The world deserves to see your work. It is liberating to send a piece of writing away. It is almost like giving it legs, or better yet, wings. If you receive a rejection letter, you have just joined the ranks of many, many authors who even make collages with theirs. It is also part of the deal. Try your best not to take it personally, there are many reasons a magazine may reject your work and it’s not always personal.

These are just a few tips to bring yourself out of the closet. Allow your writing to expand to a bigger audience. All in all you will know when you are ready. We would love to hear about your publishing stories or your rejection stories. Feel free to comment and share with us.

 

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Being Published. A Call to Celebrate.

There is cause for celebration for this midwife! This month alone not one but two of my poems were published. They have yet to emerge into the world but the approval has happened and one will appear online and one will be in the winter edition of one of my favorite literary magazines, Freefall. A lot of writers have told me along the way have minimized what it is like to be published. Almost as if it is a mere blip in life’s excitement meter and then it’s back to the grindstone. I agree that there is still writing to be done after a poem has grown wings and made its way into the world, but there is also reason to celebrate. It is a milestone. It feels like I’ve been put on the map and for some reason it makes me want to write more and more.

Perhaps the recognition is situated in that egoic place we all have, but it still feels good. I, for one am going to enjoy it to the fullest. After all, it’s all temporary anyway. I was also asked by the founding member of the RE: act collective in Calgary, Dymphny Dronyk, to be a featured reader in this years Poetry Shuffle. I was honoured. The Poetry Shuffle is a unique event where we start in one part of the city and make our way for 5 km to another part of the city, stopping along the way and listening to various poets at various venues. The theme this year was poems about Calgary and the flood. We followed our beloved Bow river all the way down to Inglewood where the Bow and Elbow rivers meet. Most of the places we read at were affected by the flood and at the time of some of the poems the construction on the river played like an orchestra in the background. For me, it was a pilgrimage and with every step we took, I fell more and more in love with this city. As we followed the river I felt a lot of healing taking place on many levels. It wasn’t just a poetry event.

Poetry shuffle reading 2 Poetry Shuffle reading

I had the pleasure of reading in the Central library that was flooded in June and opened it’s doors only a few short weeks ago. This particular venue had a microphone, which intimidated me a little, but it also had coffee and cookies so it all worked out in the end. I was so nervous the yoga teacher came out in me and I had to get the audience to take a couple deep breaths with me. They willingly obliged. As synchronicity would have it, I also had the pleasure of reading with my long-time mentor, Richard Harrison. I have been working with Richard for almost seven years now and he was my professor in many of my English classes in University. There were some moments that felt surreal for me.

Richard Harrison and the Central Library Crowd

Richard Harrison and the Central Library Crowd

Fall 2013 Poetry Shuffle 323

Today,  I am still riding the high from that event. I feel changed by the poetry community, by the river, by this beautiful city. I am so glad I am a part of it. Tonight let’s raise our glasses to milestones, to recovery, determination and community. Calgary, thank you for being my city.

The Bow 10th St. Bridge

The Bow 10th St. Bridge

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