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CwL Ep 140 Harvest – Writing the Story (Part Two)

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Join Lisa as she takes you on a four-part journey through the creation of Harvest – her story of grief and love and the harvest she has reaped. 

In Part Two Lisa dives into the writing process. With a venue booked it had to get done but it was not a process without challenge! 

Throw in serious procrastination, heartbreak, venue glitches, last minute tweaking – it was Messy with a capital M! 

But it got done. As she knew it would. 

This episode is about the healing power of finding and writing a story that connects. 

In Part Three Lisa takes the stage – listen now.

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Prefer to read? Access the transcript here

Welcome back to the second part of this story, which is about the writing of the story. Because of course, the way Lisa does things is not to have a story ready to go. It was to figure out that there was a story, find a venue to share the story, sell a few tickets, and then write the story. Because if no one was going to come anyway, I had a pretty good sense of what I wanted to say, but I went into full blown writing mode, which is also called full blown procrastination. I would g, get out a little bit, feel really good about that. Think, no, I need to be in the right head space to do this. Sure. I think the kids were on school holidays, I think, and I knew the deadline was coming, but it felt like it was plenty of room.

Look, I just needed to get what was in my head all down on paper. I mean, you can hear the naivety, and I was even kind of aware, and then the heart palpitation started. When you realise time is ticking by and you’re probably at a thousand words, and it needs to be a lot longer than that. But I had full trust. I had full trust in this process. I had full trust that it would come out and get done. Look, I am a little bit of a last minute. The best of times I love a good deadline. Deadlines motivate me, and I had a pretty big one. I was literally going to be sitting on a stage with people staring at me, so I needed to figure it out.

So the writing process was really, really sting because it was so much harder than I thought. Not in ways that I thought the words flowed beautifully. They really, honestly, it flowed so beautifully. It was just a beautiful thing. It wasn’t an issue that I had with writing. The issue was that it was just so hard to write about certain things. I cried a lot through the riding of Harvest because as I got clear on what the story was, I knew where I wanted to take people. I knew the arc of the story. I knew how this would roll, and I knew I had to punctuate it with examples and parts of the story, parts of my life, part of the conversation that I can have with people in my life, but on stage with people who don’t know me as well. And it was going to feel pretty vulnerable to share it.

I knew I found it hard because there’s aspects to it all that are easier to forget. So the story was a love story, but it wasn’t a love story between my late husband and I. It was actually a love story with myself, but I only got there. I could only reap the harvest by living what I lived, and I needed to share bits of it, but I only wanted to share the bits that helped the story. It’s not about sharing everything about my past or airing dirty laundry. That’s not what good storytelling is about. I needed to share the bits that mattered to the story, which meant I needed to get clear on which bits that they were. And I really went through a lot. I really went through a lot of tough memories that are there, and I lived, but I don’t live them in my conscious mind every day.

And there was a lot that I brought to the service. Most of it, 70% of it didn’t make it into the story, but there was some bits that actually did. And the story really goes right back. And then I knew that I was going to be sharing things on stage that felt hard for me to share. I wondered if what I was writing was speakable and I didn’t write harvest. As soon as it finished, everyone was asking me to have it as a book. It ended up close to 10,000 words. It was about 9,600 words. I thought it was finished the day before at about, well, I actually shared it on my stories at 7,777 words, which of course, I looked up the meaning of those angel numbers. But then it ended up there were bits that needed to be improved. A big thanks to Amy who did an amazing proofread and just shared with me things that she encouraged me to flesh a few bits out that perhaps I didn’t want to, but that needed extra context.

And of course, when your story is your own, and as soon as she said that, I thought, yeah, no, there’s improvements that I need to make here. So I was finishing writing that story. I was still tweaking harvest at 10:30 AM and I was going on stage that night at 7:00 PM So it was a pretty big deal. It was right down to the wire. But I wanted to do a really good job, and I knew I wasn’t giving myself loads of time. I wrote in chunks, and so I could reflect on some of the bits and improve some of the bits. But pulling it all together was a really, really big task. It was huge. It was totally consuming to me. And I kind of went off grid for the kids. I’m not too sure what we ate in that week leading up to harvest. And Amy, amazing, Amy from my team and who is also just a treasured friend of mine, flew down from Brisbane, cooked us some food. She came on in. She was amazing.

 It was really important to me that in writing the story, I was honouring Nick and our love. And I was conscious. I was like, he’s going to be in the room. He’ll be listening to this. And I know the story is mine to tell, but I really wanted to write in a way just for myself that allowed me to honour what was, I know that everyone must have opinions on who he was, on what it was like to live with and love someone struggling with alcohol addiction, but no one will actually ever know. And so I wanted to choose bits that reflected how far hard it was, but also just the magic of our love over the years. It was pretty extraordinary and problematic and all the things. So the writing of it took me on a really big deep dive into that. And as I was writing, I felt things falling into place in body in my being. I started to be someone who lived this story. I mean, it’s the truth of my story as best as I can tell it. And I felt myself starting to own it, really own it. I could see it, and I could only see it because I was writing it back in that first episode. That advice to just get writing. There is so much power in that craft.

I felt a feeling of acknowledgement of myself and what I have lived through that I hadn’t really felt before. It was an acknowledgement of Nick and his internal battle, and it was definitely an acknowledgement of our love that was real. It was actually intoxicating to write this story. And I felt myself expanding. I dunno how else to explain it, but there was this expansion and embodiment and a, oh, I don’t know, it was a grounding thing to do, but this very, very expansive thing to do. And I felt myself shifting internally. It was a huge recalibration.

I’d just been through all this stuff with my body and then suddenly, and then I was writing this story and it was having a very, very profound effect on me. And so of course, when that stuff starts to happen, things around you start to shift as well. We all know our external world is a reflection of what’s going on internally. And I had called in this expansion, I was ready for something to shift ready for just a new way of being myself. And I was shaking it up. I was shaking things up. And of course, it’s probably right then that certain things start to become very obvious and certain things start to fall away in these times. And so while I was writing Harvest, I was also grieving the loss of my relationship that ended. And I haven’t shared about this publicly, I don’t really feel like it right now, but it was, it’s important to sharing this story to say it has been a truly profound and life-changing time for me and process for me, it was brutal, I must say, writing about one grief and then being in the throes of it. Another one that I’m still in, to be honest.

But this part of me that’s like, of course of Lisa, and with all things I trust, I mean, it would’ve been better timing at a different time, but it also couldn’t have been any other time, if you know what I mean. It’s a recalibration time, and I don’t know what’s going to happen with all of that. But all I know is that my process of writing this story, my ownership of the story, my expansion as Lisa and embodying it all it, and expressing it, changed a lot of things. It has changed a lot of things in my life.

And while some of it looks like it’s for the worst, it’s all for the better. I trust that completely. We had this moment where that was going down. I was beside myself. I had no idea how I was going to get this thing done. I mean, it was a really crazy time. And I was like, I don’t know. This feels like a little bit too much for me right now. And so then of course, the universe gave me the chance to pull out. I got a call from, or we got an email from the venue saying, I am so sorry, but we have double booked your time. Could you please start an hour earlier and then everyone will have to leave pretty quickly. I was like, what? And so it was like, okay, what do we do? We’re not booked out. I could refund people their money and then choose a new time.

If I wanted, I could just give myself this time off to experience this breakup that I was going through and just not put pressure on myself. And no, the story needed to be written. I needed to see this through. And so I held tight, I held strong with the venue and I said, no, I’m not going to change the time and I’m not going to pick a different day. So you just, that’s my answer. And then they just said, what about half an hour? And I didn’t respond. And then, cause I thought, no, this is all happening. I am. I will get this done. This story will be written and it will be told, and that is the time, and this is a little test and I’m not buying into that one. And 24 hours later they messaged and said, okay, it’s fine. Things have been changed and you’ve got your normal time. And I thought, yeah, I do. It was always going to be that night, that venue, this story. So I kept writing and I wrote through heartbreak about heartbreak, and I caught up and I shared the story and I had no idea how it would be received, but I will share that in the next episode.

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