Blog

Truth vs Fact

Truth vs Fact

I’ve been a teacher my whole adult life. At eighteen I was teaching Sunday school. Then I went to college and got a B.Ed in English and theater. I taught ESL for eight years, high school English for two, several college classes in various institutions, community...

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We the People

We the People

Resistance against inequality, commentary on the dark ironies of culture, and expression of effective anger against injustice have ALWAYS been within the purview of writers. Recently I was telling a friend that I was taking part in a year-long blogging project focused...

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The Notable and the New

I am bubbling over with excitement. First, you may have heard that the book I edited with Susan Tive, Beyond Belief, was named on The Washington Post’s Notable Nonfiction list. Susan and I are so very grateful that others are finding the volume we all worked so hard...

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Why Memoir?

Why Memoir?

I’ve been talking with and coaching memoir writers—many of them are published now—for about a decade. Before I embark on a project with an author, I always ask this question: Why do you want to write this story? I ask the question first of all because I’m a therapist....

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Finding Your Team

Finding Your Team

In her retelling of the ugly duckling story Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves, observes, “[W]hen an individual’s particular kind of soulfulness, which is both an instinctual and spiritual identity, is surrounded by psychic acknowledgment...

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Why I Write

Why I Write

My friend Leah Lax invited me to be a part of her blog tour by answering the questions below about my writing life. Leah is one of the authors in our book Beyond Belief who is currently shopping her own beautiful memoir. She’s a dog-lover, a writing teacher, and a...

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It Takes a Village to Write a Book

A few days ago I had a lovely post-project cup of coffee with a client. This client of mine (let's call him Bob) is self-publishing a memoir about an important and difficult time in his life. As we sipped on coffee and looked at proofs of his book, he reviewed with me...

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Energy Waning? Take a Break!

So, you're reaching for a big goal this year. What is it? Are you training for a marathon? Writing a book? Traveling the world? Quitting smoking? Losing weight? You're on schedule (or perhaps you're slightly off schedule but you're still pushing forward) to meet the...

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New Year, New Goals!

Every January, I set new goals. It’s not that I don’t set goals throughout the rest of the year as well; it’s just that January represents a time when goal-setting is in the air. I like to take advantage of the opportunity to “reset” my energy, and I do it with a...

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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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