What I learned about life at a writing workshop… [a fab weekend with Alexandra Franzen]

Danielle Laporte (one of my biggest girl-crushes in recent years and the author of The Desire Map) thinks Alexandra Franzen is amazing:

‘If anything, uh, happens to me, Alexandra can finish writing the book. I trust her that much. And I know her talent, that well.’

Is that enough of a testament?

alexandra franzen workshop

 

Write Yourself in Motion with Alexandra Franzen

I booked to attend Alexandra’s Write Yourself in Motion workshop  in Feb of this year after hearing about it on Facebook. Seven whole months ago! That in itself was interesting – me and my not-so-copious levels of patience can barely wait a week for something let alone half a year, but it felt right so I booked, paid and then got about building my empire in the meantime. Being a photographer, I am extremely visual, but have often struggled to get my thoughts and feelings out in words, so any help would be much appreciated.

Fast forward, and in the week before flying to Melbourne, I was starting to get excited about learning to write amazing blog posts, and tidying up all of the info and bio pages on this site. Perfectly divine timing, I was gearing up to the official launch of Little girls with great big dreams, and ready to write, write, write.

 

We started the workshop on the Friday night discussing the concept of “Die Empty” – a book written by Todd Henry in 2013.

Most of us live with the stubborn idea that we’ll always have tomorrow. But sooner or later all of our tomorrows will run out. Each day that you postpone the hard work and succumb to the clutter that chokes creativity, discipline, and innovation will result in a net deficit to the world, to your company, and to yourself. Die Empty is a tool for individuals and companies that aren’t willing to put off their best work. Henry shows how to find and sustain your passion and curiosity, even in tough times.

 

“Don’t go to your grave with your best work inside you. Choose to die empty.” —Todd Henry

 

This idea is so incredibly fascinating to me, and I am looking forward to reading the book very soon! [You can order it here]

So, when you think about the concept of ‘dying empty’ – what does it mean to you? Are you doing your best work every day? Or are you putting it off? And, if you are putting it off – then why? What is holding you back? Is it Facebook? A job or relationship that is keeping you stuck? A thought pattern that can be changed? What would you change in your life if the world was watching you all day long? So many questions that can stem from this one simple concept… I will let you explore these a little (or a lot) in your own time!

 

little girls with great big dreams, hearts

 

Back to the workshop, and in particular (since she is the star of the show) – Alexandra…

Alexandra is one of those magnetic people who have a ton of presence and is incredibly grounded in her truth. The most intriguing thing to me (and this of course is the way I interpreted things) is that in ‘Alex World’, given that she does not participate in social media in any form, everyone is pretty much equal. There is a significantly lessened amount of time spent worrying about what other people are doing, who has the most fans/comments/likes, who the cool kids are, and basically – what anyone else is doing. OMG – how amazing does that sound? How incredibly freeing! I didn’t particularly love the bitchiness of high school the first time around and so to watch someone who is incredibly successful in an online world without using social media, without being exposed to a lot negative aspects of comparison-itis is fascinating.

And you know what – people CAN cope without facebook  😉

Social Media aside, the way that Alexandra can work with a group of 20 people, have every single one of them feel equal, loved, appreciated and heard the entire time was incredible. Alexandra can (and teaches you to also) communicate with clarity and confidence and as one participant put it “she is spreading love and miracles with words.”

A few of the big take-aways for me from this weekend were:

  • Keep your life lean, and timetable in as much space as you need to re boot and integrate. (for me – that’s a lot more space than I have been allowing in the past)
  • If you don’t have a life then you have no stories to tell.
  • Start small and write as often as possible. Write thank you notes, gratitude letters, love notes, testimonials, poetry, and anything else you can think of.
  • If it’s not a ‘fuck yes’ then it’s a no.


After I left the workshop I spent a night with a lovely friend and then headed to The Larwill Studio hotel for a few days creative immersion… On my pillow cases on the bed:

put your heart in it

 

put your heart in it

Pretty darn relevant I think!!

Put your heart in everything you do.
You never lose by loving.
You lose by holding back.
Die Empty.

 

I am home now, reset and refreshed and excited about finishing up each and every day a little emptier than I started it. About creating my best work, and sharing it with you all. I am not going to completely ditch social media (yet!) but I am being more mindful of how my time is best spent. I am so proud of what this little corner of the www has evolved into, and I am so excited to see where it leads in the future…
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for being here!

Renee xx

PS: If you check out www.alexandrafranzen.com – her site has loads of articles about writing love letters, to sexy texts, to emails that you are putting off writing and everything in between.

 

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  • Alexandra FranzenOctober 9, 2014 - 3:34 am

    I am kinda blushing about… this whole post. It was so lovely to meet you, sweetpea.

    AND: I am so happy that you’re feeling inspired to write, write, write… and simplify your life! There’s always more to write. And always more to simplify. 🙂

    xo.

    :: AReplyCancel

    • littlegirlsbigdreamsOctober 10, 2014 - 4:17 pm

      Thank you so much Alex. More to write, and more to simplify – yes yes! Big love to you xxReplyCancel

  • JenniOctober 8, 2014 - 11:15 pm

    Sounds like an awesome workshop that you gained so much from. Thanks for sharing, those take-aways are so relevant, I look forward to seeing everything you pour out here in your beautiful space.ReplyCancel

    • littlegirlsbigdreamsOctober 10, 2014 - 4:17 pm

      Thank you Jenni – so happy to have you here 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Kylie BevanOctober 8, 2014 - 10:17 am

    Love all your take homes! I’m committing to putting all four into action this week, before I do die with ‘too much still in me’. So good to be reminded of these essential truths, in ways that might stick!

    Agree, Alex is the bees knees.ReplyCancel

    • littlegirlsbigdreamsOctober 10, 2014 - 4:18 pm

      Oh Kylie – good luck! I truly hope you have had an amazing week 🙂ReplyCancel

  • JennyOctober 8, 2014 - 8:41 am

    I couldn’t have put it any better! Alex’s workshop was a BIG fuck YES!!!
    Great writeup Renee! xoReplyCancel

    • littlegirlsbigdreamsOctober 10, 2014 - 4:20 pm

      Fuck yes indeed Jenny!!! xxxReplyCancel

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