About me

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

by Cami Ostman | Write-Minded Podcast

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!

My story:

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.”

—Lora Hein

“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!”

—Renee DeMont

I participated in the first Narrative Project program in October of 2016 after returning from a three-week solo backpack trip in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains with the specific intention of using that trip as the basis for a memoir I hoped to write. I had absolutely no idea how to start this project, but by the end of the program, I had a structure within which to write and a full  140,000-word rough draft! I can say with certainty that I would not be where I am with my memoir were it not for this well-structured and accountability-based phenomenal program.”

—Kathie Tupper

After I suffered a traumatic brain injury, I wanted to explore the experience in a memoir. I started working with Cami Ostman in her nine-month Narrative Project course, and I followed up with her Next Chapter course the following year. I wrote somewhat slowly because of my injuries, but Cami supported my work, offered numerous suggestions for getting through the draft, and gave me many tools to understand what I was trying to express and how to do it. If you have a story to tell but have not been able to get yourself started, I cannot recommend highly enough the Narrative Project program as a way to push yourself, as well as create the best possible version of your story.

—Sean Dwyer

The Narrative Project gave me everything I needed to shape mountains of research into the book I envisioned. More importantly, I have made lifelong friends and we have continued to support each other as we bring our stories into the world.
—Anne
Dabbling for over twenty years at writing the stories of my life with my husband and four children in Africa and Asia, I realized I did not know what I was doing when it came to writing my memoir. I attended one of Cami’s free writing workshops and committed my time and energy to her nine-month program. Cami Ostman and my critique group helped me find the threads that pulled my stories together and see myself as a writer. 
—Tori
On a chilly September day in 2018, I entered Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park to attend a free one-day seminar held by Cami Ostman. Having never attended a writing workshop, I had preconceived notions that I would write. While I didn’t write that day, the kindling within my soul was sparked and my desire to write my story ceased being a dream and began to be a reality. I joined the 9-month program and went from 0 words on the page to over 70,000. I learned about the writing process, themes, and gained new confidence in my ability to write. The best is yet to come!
KristiLyn

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.

Anni

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