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The Inheritance

The Inheritance

In memoir, we ask questions of our lives, and our relationships. We examine light and shadow. And we make peace. Last week I visited my grandparents’ house. My aunt and cousin have been there emptying it since my grandfather died last July. Here is a short memoir...

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Generosity

Generosity

My policy is to share what I’m working on. I also share ideas from the list I keep of storylines or non-fiction themes that visit me while I’m running. I know not every idea is for me, but I figure if one has visited me, it must want me to know about it, to perhaps nudge another writer.

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Criticism on My Desk

Criticism on My Desk

By Mary Jane Fraser The hard way is often the best. It may not seem like it at the time but often events in one’s life can seem wrong only to find later that they were the best of gifts. An example is when I gave a travel slide show at the Whatcom Museum. People came...

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Wising Up: What a trip!

Wising Up: What a trip!

By Barbara Clarke Regarding gaining wisdom... Where to begin? In childhood, of course. In my complicated family, wisdom was reserved for the grownups and dispensed like Pez whenever conflict arose. By conflict I mean those awkward moments when I challenged my parent's...

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Why You Can’t Get Your Book Done Alone

Why You Can’t Get Your Book Done Alone

If you’ve got a book in your heart that is NOT on the page yet, this blog post is for you. As you know by now, I’m a huge believer that anyone who has a story living inside of them MUST write that story—or find some other way to perform it for other people (on stage,...

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Follow Your Own Instincts!

Follow Your Own Instincts!

Since I posted my birthday wish, I've gotten so many lovely lessons from friends and acquaintances. Below is one from my friend and former coaching client, Diana Dodds. Diana served as a nurse for many decades. Here she talks about the lesson she learned to say no,...

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Things You Learned the Hard Way

Things You Learned the Hard Way

Hi buddies. I turn 50 in a few days, and my friends have been asking me (as friends will do), “What do you want to do for your birthday?” Up until last week, every time someone asked me that question I spontaneously burst into tears. The idea of turning 50 has felt...

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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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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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