Song to Myself

Song to Myself

Song to Myself

She who always knew
that she was destined – destined, mind you –
for more than domesticity
never suspected that perhaps her knowing
might be nothing more than the soul’s delusion
holding imprints of hopeful mystery.
This knowing comes now to bother her
in the hubble and clutter of kids-cats-anniversaries
to a dissatisfaction
an impatience
with the humble goodness of her ordinary life.
As if she needed reminding that
the envelope of options
is sealed now
and the unfurling of
what will be has become a matter of
unmagical consequence.
She who longed both for this
and for a roaming otherness
now remembers past lovers
and the taste of their tongues
as she fights the shame
of a temper at small infractions by her
children-thank-god-for them
never knew such temper simmered
aching to be lost.
She sinks into memories and dreams
folding corners of herself down
like a neat napkin
hiding the stains, the dirt
of her most wondrous gypsy self
so that this life – this perfectly happy life –
might proceed without incident
medication
tragedy.
She who writes this song to herself
sings now for the selves
that have no place
to be sung.

The Turning

Joanne Fedler

Joanne Fedler

Author, writing mentor, retreat leader. I’m an internationally bestselling author of nine books, inspirational speaker and writing mentor. I’ve had books published in just about every genre- fiction, non-fiction, self-help, memoir – by some of the top publishing houses in the world. My books have sold over 650 000 copies and have been translated in a range of languages. Two of my books have been #1 Amazon bestsellers, and at one point the German edition of Secret Mothers’ Business outsold Harry Potter- crazy, right?

I Have Not Said Enough

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Beaten to Love

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How to Write a Self-Help Book Guide

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You can tell when someone is hungry. People who are hungry have dry lips. Chapped with dry bits that stick every so often when they talk. They do not pause to lick them, the frayed seams at their mouths. Most of my clients at (POWA) People Opposing Women Abuse, a...

After I Blow the Whistle, I’m in Your Hands

After I Blow the Whistle, I’m in Your Hands

After I Blow the Whistle, I’m in Your Hands

Several years ago, one of my books published by one of the top five publishing houses in the world did so dismally I contemplated giving up writing. It had taken two precious years of my life to research and write it, and all my publisher could say was, ‘I’m sorry, your book fell through the cracks.’

I realised then that this ‘dream’, this goal so many people strain for – of getting a publisher and becoming an author (shrouded in romantic fantasies about what that means) was broken. It was fatally flawed, and I wanted to blow the whistle on it. But I wasn’t sure how to do that and at the same time encourage people to write their stories because I know that this is the part that isn’t flawed. It’s pure, and it has a kinetic magic that can heal this planet. I knew something had to change, and it was up to me to figure out how, especially because so many people look to me as some kind of oracle of wisdom in the Disneyland of authorship.

Joanne Fedler

Joanne Fedler

Author, writing mentor, retreat leader. I’m an internationally bestselling author of nine books, inspirational speaker and writing mentor. I’ve had books published in just about every genre- fiction, non-fiction, self-help, memoir – by some of the top publishing houses in the world. My books have sold over 650 000 copies and have been translated in a range of languages. Two of my books have been #1 Amazon bestsellers, and at one point the German edition of Secret Mothers’ Business outsold Harry Potter- crazy, right?

So I started doing business courses. I started thinking of writing as a business. I learned the basics of pitching, marketing, connecting with your audience, offering yourself in service to others, and I had a major breakthrough. I realised that ‘being an author’, much as it’s a great ego-inflator (as if we need more ego in the world), did not bring me a sense of deep abiding satisfaction about my ‘work in the world.’ On the odd occasion, a beautiful email from a reader would bring me to tears, but the isolation of the writing, the lack of financial security and the endless jealousy I felt towards other more successful authors who won prizes or were invited to writers festivals when I was overlooked (something authors never speak about), made me not like myself a fair bit of the time.

I found that the more I mentored others, and offered what I know in service to people who want to write their stories, the happier I became. In fact, taking people on writing retreats where it is all about them and not about me – makes me about as happy as I can be. So I started trusting that. That the era of my ego had passed (finally) and my work is about service to others (a comfortable place for someone with 9 out of 12 planets in Virgo).

May It Happen for You

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Who Are You to Write Your Story?

Who Are You to Write Your Story?

Who Are You to Write Your Story?

Over the past years, I’ve been working with ordinary women who are writing the ordinary stories of their lives.

‘Why would anyone care about my story?’ each one asks in her way. ‘Who am I to write my story?’

‘What does my life matter? I’ve done nothing special. I’m no-one important. Who would be interested in my life?’

Yet just what constitutes these ‘nothing special,’ ‘unimportant lives’?

I healed from a chronic illness. I left an abusive marriage. I raised my children alone. I lost a child. I was raped. I nursed my dying mother. I was sexually abused. I was abandoned. I am living with breast cancer. I am raising a disabled child. My family rejected me. I adopted an abandoned child. I was widowed. I lost my mother. I raised four children. I stayed in my marriage. I built my own business. I decided to keep the baby. I left my religion. My child is a drug addict. I left my homeland. My husband left me for another woman. I couldn’t have children. My daughter was raped.

Each one is a staggering narrative of survival, and a triumph of the human spirit.

What is startling is that none of these women thinks of herself as a hero. Each one is innocent of her own greatness, oblivious to the power and wisdom in her story. These women do not appreciate or value their own courage and how their lives are lanterns to others. In most cases, not one of them has ever been told ‘you are beautiful, you are brave, you are an inspiration.’

Men who fight in wars are bestowed with medals, salutes and state funerals. Sports stars are over-valued, over-paid and treated as a subspecies of little gods. In our culture, celebrities are lauded over for their wealth, their wardrobes and their Oscar wins. While men still fight wars (real and on sports fields), women on the whole, work to nurture, bring life and beauty to the planet. Quietly.

Author Potential Profile Assessment

Discover your hidden strengths as well as the areas you need to build on to become an author.

As women age and we pass into our forties and fifties, our status plummets dizzyingly. As pertness gives way to gravity, and our generous bodies stop bleeding so we can no longer bear children, we stop satisfying traditional standards of beauty. We become shadows. We grow invisible. Some try to hold back time, and Botox our sagging butts and boobs back into youth. Some of us grieve. Our children leave us. And it’s round about this time that a woman may decide that she’s going to (finally) do something for herself. Just herself. That’s when she finds me. That’s when she whispers, ‘I’ve always wanted to write… but who would be interested in my life?’

It is one of the best kept secrets in the universe right now that true power and wisdom reside in these women and their experiences. Our planet is desperate for their teachings. Our world urgently needs the lineage and luminance of their humble labour, unrewarded, unacknowledged.

So when people ask me, ‘Why do you work only with women? And women over forty?’ here it is. It is my spiritual calling, my mission if you like, to help women write and curate their stories as a collective act of conscious healing so that together we can tip these narratives back into the world.

What I know is that women’s stories – of growth, healing, transformation, creative endeavour – are the medicine this world needs now. When written from a place of deep knowing, with care and craft and conscientiousness, the personal voice speaks into the universal voice. And each time a woman stitches herself back into the fabric of life with words, she create a groove for someone else in which to rest her own tremulousness. One woman’s courage breaks ground for others.

In a troubled world, I believe our work as writers is to use our words to inspire, nourish and grow the spirit – our own, that of the reader, the planet, or the Great Spirit that runs through all things.

Perhaps when the world has learned what it takes to leave an abusive marriage, what it asks of the human spirit to forgive your rapist and what work is needed to heal an illness, we will find a way to deserve our future.

If you are wondering, ‘Who am I to write my story?’ perhaps now is the time to invest in yourself, and to honour the life you’ve lived.

Joanne Fedler

Joanne Fedler

Author, writing mentor, retreat leader. I’m an internationally bestselling author of nine books, inspirational speaker and writing mentor. I’ve had books published in just about every genre- fiction, non-fiction, self-help, memoir – by some of the top publishing houses in the world. My books have sold over 650 000 copies and have been translated in a range of languages. Two of my books have been #1 Amazon bestsellers, and at one point the German edition of Secret Mothers’ Business outsold Harry Potter- crazy, right?

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Where the Fight Is Won or Lost

Where the Fight Is Won or Lost

Where the Fight Is Won or Lost

You can learn the craft of writing any way you choose: you can take a course, you can read a book about writing, you can read great writers until your eyeballs bleed. There is no one way to learn what you need to know about writing. And that’s because the craft of writing is not what you’re fighting to learn.

My experience having mentored hundreds of aspiring authors, is that the fight is never to ‘learn the craft.’ The fight is learning to deal with yourself: your resistance. Your own feelings of worthlessness. Your sense that you’re a fraud. Your belief that no-one will care about anything you have to say. Your conviction that you’re wasting your time.

These tricksters of our own consciousness sabotage our mental space; they make a lot of noise; they kidnap our sense of what’s possible.

But we cannot negotiate with such terrorists.

 

Author Potential Profile Assessment

Discover your hidden strengths as well as the areas you need to build on to become an author.

If we want to write, we have to fight. What we finally produce and gift to the world through our writing has been hard-won. Far from witnesses. We succeed when we battle past self-doubt. We win when we write even when we’re not in the mood. We are victorious when we edit our work, and can let go of whatever does not serve our story.

We think that ‘success’ means publication. Book deals. Book tours. But that’s not where our mastery lies. It lies ‘behind the lines,’ or in our case, between the lines. it lies in the work no-one sees, the work it takes for us to believe in our stories and shout our worth to the world. It lies in every word you commit to the page.

Joanne Fedler

Joanne Fedler

Author, writing mentor, retreat leader. I’m an internationally bestselling author of nine books, inspirational speaker and writing mentor. I’ve had books published in just about every genre- fiction, non-fiction, self-help, memoir – by some of the top publishing houses in the world. My books have sold over 650 000 copies and have been translated in a range of languages. Two of my books have been #1 Amazon bestsellers, and at one point the German edition of Secret Mothers’ Business outsold Harry Potter- crazy, right?

A Loaf of Bread

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Beaten to Love

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The Dynamics of Manifestation… I Get It Now

The Dynamics of Manifestation… I Get It Now

The Dynamics of Manifestation… I Get It Now

A couple of years ago, I wrote a book to help other writers get their story into the world called Your Story: how to write it so others will want to read it. My aim for it was modest – I was going to self publish it, and it would be a gift to the writers I mentor and a few on my mailing list who would like to come on retreat with me, but can’t for some reason.

My agent in France read the book, liked it and offered to try find a publisher.

‘I’m only interested in Hay House in America,’ I told him. ‘And I’m not waiting two years – it has to come out next year.’

This was a cheeky conversation, because despite at least three attempts (including a trip to the US in 2008 to try and secure a US literary agent), I haven’t been able to get my books into America. In fact, a few years ago, I completely let go of the American dream. As authors, we imagine that someday we’re going to be ‘discovered.’ That a publisher will swoop down and rescue us. We will be the next J. K. Rowling. But we grow up. We realise no-one is coming to save us, and that we’re in charge of our own destinies.

 

Your Story - How to write it so others will read it - out now

In this no-excuses book, written for aspiring writers and emerging authors, Joanne Fedler shares her original techniques, frameworks and strategies for life writing to ensure that your story connects with readers and doesn’t bore them to switch to Facebook scrolling.

In the spirit of mature making-my-own-shit-happen, I went ahead and invested a huge amount of money into self publication and I didn’t care if I didn’t make it back, as long as the book got into the hands of a few people and helped them figure out how to write their stories.

So here’s how the Universe works: on the same day on which I paid the last installment on the book, my agent came back to me with the news that Hay House in the US had made an offer to buy the rights to the book.

This is exciting news. Not just for me, but for all of us. Because of what it’s revealed about how the algorithm of manifestation works: we have to be 100% committed to ourselves, and we have to be 100% unattached to the outcome. And if the universe plays favourites, it picks what we offer in service to others, over what’s driven by ego.

Joanne Fedler

Joanne Fedler

Author, writing mentor, retreat leader. I’m an internationally bestselling author of nine books, inspirational speaker and writing mentor. I’ve had books published in just about every genre- fiction, non-fiction, self-help, memoir – by some of the top publishing houses in the world. My books have sold over 650 000 copies and have been translated in a range of languages. Two of my books have been #1 Amazon bestsellers, and at one point the German edition of Secret Mothers’ Business outsold Harry Potter- crazy, right?

8 Reasons to Write

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Girlfriends

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A Room of One’s Own

When I was five years old, during a routine game of hide-n’-seek, I hid in the cupboard in the spare room, amongst the hanging fur coats and long sequined dresses my mother would never wear again. I was there a long time. Even when my seeker had ‘given up’ and rallied the adults to help find me, though I heard people calling my name, I kept silent, not wanting to betray the sanctuary of my hiding place.

How the Scariest Moment of My Life Reminded Me I Am Safe

How the Scariest Moment of My Life Reminded Me I Am Safe

How the Scariest Moment of My Life Reminded Me I Am Safe

It was 2am on the second night of my recent visit to South Africa and I was wide awake with jetlag. I trundled down the stairs of my parents’ home, made myself a cup of coffee, called my husband in Australia, checked my emails and called my friend Katrina to discuss logistics for our upcoming writing retreat in Fiji.

I was lying on the couch in the living room, chatting to her, when I thought I heard noises outside. I casually went to the window to look outside, when a black gloved hand emerged from outside and moved the curtains aside.

The thunder of adrenalin. Deafening terror. Falling over a footstool. Racing upstairs, yelling, ‘Someone’s trying to get into the house!’

I ran to the room where my daughter was sleeping and barricaded my body against the door. My mother raised the alarm. The security company arrived. The intruder had fled.

Then, the aftermath. My parents upgraded their security. Now, the drama. The body memory. The tortuous loop of ‘what if’s?’
What if I hadn’t been there to alert my parents?
What if I hadn’t been awake with jetlag?
What if I hadn’t been downstairs talking to Katrina?

 

The 7 Day Writing Challenge

WINGS: Words Inspire, Nourish and Grow the Spirit

 

And now, the retelling.

It’s hard to escape that this is a story about The Scariest Moment of My Life. The cold horror of that black-gloved hand has still not left me.

But each time I tell the story, I realise I have a choice.

I can make this a story about the crime in South Africa. Or the need for better vigilance and security. Or luck (how fortunate it was that I was awake). Or coincidence (my parents have never before had an intruder try to break in and I visit once a year). Or how our fear (mine of violence) forces us to face it head-on.

Facts themselves have no inherent meaning. We make whatever meaning we want out of the stories of our lives. In that way, our consciousness determines our experience, not the other way around. As my friend Sherill says, ‘The pain is in the frame.’ Or to draw from the beautiful E.E. Cummings poem, we can insist our narratives belong in places of love and worlds of yes.

So I choose to frame this as a story about being in the right place at the right time. It’s not about being haunted and hunted, but about grace and guidance. That hand which emerged from the darkness has oddly bestowed on me the deep peace that comes with the knowledge that absolutely nothing in this life is random. It’s a blessed reminder that when I’m awake in my life, I am safe.

I hope you’re inspired to loop your dark moments into arrows of light, and to recall that love is a place from which you are never banished.

Joanne Fedler

Joanne Fedler

Author, writing mentor, retreat leader. I’m an internationally bestselling author of nine books, inspirational speaker and writing mentor. I’ve had books published in just about every genre- fiction, non-fiction, self-help, memoir – by some of the top publishing houses in the world. My books have sold over 650 000 copies and have been translated in a range of languages. Two of my books have been #1 Amazon bestsellers, and at one point the German edition of Secret Mothers’ Business outsold Harry Potter- crazy, right?

We Gather Stars in the Dark

My whole life changed when, at the age of 27, I was suddenly diagnosed with breast cancer.  At a time when my husband and I should have been focusing on our future, we filled our days with managing the side effects of my chemotherapy. Instead of starting a family we...

I Have Not Said Enough

I work as a journalist in South Africa, a country known as the rape capital of the world. Every afternoon I switch on my computer, make sure my WiFi is working, and begin to trawl the web for news stories about criminal cases that have reached the courts. It is...

8 Reasons to Write

If you've been putting off writing, this one is for you. We spend a lot of time fending off the 'it's-narcissistic' saboteur, the 'I-suck-at-grammar' bogeyman and the 'who-will-give-a-damn?' golem. But seriously folks, as the Buddha said, 'the problem is, you think...

Women’s Bodies Over the Twentieth Century

'Civilization is a circle squared . That’s why in civilized societies, women’s lot and Nature’s lot has been such a sorry one. It’s the duty of advanced women to teach men to love the circle again.’ - Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues If ever our bodies held...

The Catharsis of Writing

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A Harvest of Hindsight: My top 10 insights about publishing for aspiring authors

My being here is actually not about me. It’s about you. My new book is about you – and your story. So I thought what would be the most helpful input I could give you, as an unpublished author at this point in your writing journey. Here are my top 10 insights or lessons that I’ve learned over the past 12 years as a published author. Things I wish I’d known. A harvest of hindsight in the hope that it will help you to get more quickly where you want to go.