Hi, I’m Cami Ostman
Cami is uniquely qualified to coach you into your best writing. With 20 years of experience helping people name and put words to their experiences, Cami can partner with you to help you do the best, most honest writing of your life.
Cami Ostman holds a B.Ed. in English from Western Washington University and an M. S. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Seattle Pacific University. She is the author of Second Wind: One Woman’s Midlife Quest to Run Seven Marathons on Seven Continents, co-editor of Beyond Belief: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religions, a contributor to Adventures Northwest and to her own blog, 7marathons7continents.com. Cami is also the founder of Red Wheelbarrow Writers, a community of writers in Western Washington and a blogger for psychologtoday.com. She has been profiled in Fitness Magazine and her books have been reviewed in O Magazine, The Atlantic, and Washington Post. Having spent fifteen years as a psychotherapist, and now serving as a writing coach and editor, Cami specializes in helping authors “figure out what they really have to say.” She is currently working on a novel and on her second quest memoir.
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NaNo Rebels: A Walk on the Nonfiction Side
Writer and Teacher
I work with writers to bring their best work into the world, always keeping in mind that ultimately, we’re authoring our own lives!
A few years ago, I published my memoir, Second Wind: One Woman’s Midlife Quest to Run Seven Marathons on Seven Continents (Seal Press), and something interesting happened: the actual process of writing the book changed the way I thought of myself. As I wrote words like: “No one needed to give me permission to celebrate myself . . . I had my own internal locus of celebration,” they became true.
In fact while I was writing, I found myself repeatedly asking, “What do I wish to be true about my main character (me) in this chapter?”—and as I composed my manuscript, I discovered that I was able to inhabit the words I was writing.
I’ve long been interested in how the words we use to describe ourselves actually serve to CREATE our identities. My experience in writing supports this, as does my work as a psychotherapist for the past fifteen years. When I wrote about turning myself into a runner on a quest to do a marathon on every continent, I became a runner on a quest to do a marathon on every continent.
I’ve heard other writers describe how their own storytelling, whether fiction or nonfiction, changes their sense of self. For better or worse, as we write, we become! To me this principle feels powerful: By the words we choose to use in our writing, we influence the way we, and our lives, are defined.
Testimonials from students
“Cami’s keen instructions, insights, gentle guidance and authentic caring for my writing woke my writer up! I have more enthusiasm for my writing now and more knowledge with which to approach my projects. I am more confident and joyous in my writing thanks to Cami!”
—JJ Joshua, Intuitive Coach and Self-help Author
“I was #1 in Russian Travel and I’ve won the Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award for 2014! I even had the chance to do a book reading at the Kazakh Embassy in DC. My book journey is going well and Cami made that happen.”
—Janet Givens, author of At Home on the Kazakh Steppe: A Peace Corps Memoir
“When I hired Cami as a developmental editor for my memoir, my manuscript felt like a massive ball of tangled yarn. With her years of experience as a therapist, Cami has a keen eye for identifying themes, motivations, and resolutions, which allowed her to masterfully pull the threads of my story out of the mess. She laid them across the arc of my book with precision. Cami helped me to produce the book I truly wanted to write.”
—Colleen Haggerty, author of A Leg to Stand On
“Cami is a talented writer with a special devotion to bringing out the best in other people’s work. I contributed an essay to her book, Beyond Belief, and communicated with her on developmental edits for my piece. Her direction and notes were so valuable to bringing my storytelling to greater heights, and I am impressed at the level of care and detail she showed for each of her many contributors. I highly recommend working with Cami, and I recommend her books too!”
—Erin Seaward-Hiatt, contributing author in Beyond Belief
“If it had not been for finding Cami and the Narrative Project, I would still be limping through a terrible first draft, picking at line edits. Instead, in two and a half years I have transformed the narrative of the memoir I have been dinking away at for decades. The Narrative Project has provided me with more tools than I even knew I needed. Instead of dreading the writing that goes nowhere, I am enjoying the ride, creating new possibilities and diving in to discover more ways to share with the words that are just right.”
“I started with half a dozen personal essays. After eighteen months of hard work along with the smart feedback, keen eyes, and pertinent, invaluable critique from this program’s leaders and members, I finally had the first draft of my memoir!”
In my 18 months with the Narrative Project, I have learned that a writer doesn’t write alone. TNP fosters a community of value beyond payment or description. The support is that of a healthy family, and the critique is that of an inspiring Masters program. The Narrative Project has provided me with an all-inclusive roadmap for how to live my dream as a published writer, and the confidence to get my butt in the chair.