Hello Writers!

Last fall I got a call from someone I’d briefly met years before and have long admired—a legendary talent here in these parts (well, in most parts). Tom Bergeron, host of Dancing with the Stars and America’s Funniest Home Videos wanted to surprise a member of his family for Christmas with a spot at one of my Carmel writing retreats. This gal needed peace and quiet for a deep dive into her story, and the camaraderie of a group of creatives for fun and honest feedback that could, by the way, extend far into the future.

As the holidays roll around once again (already? how does this happen?!), I’ve been thinking about Tom and how he’d had me call this person on December 25th to give her the news she was coming. (#BestJobEver.) He and his family now feel like family—in fact, Tom’s about to guest co-host an episode of the Beautiful Writers Podcast with me next week! (We’re interviewing his friend Lee Child, who’s on tour for the latest in his Jack Reacher series—with thirteen #1 NYT bestsellers and over 100 million copies in print. I can’t even.) Here’s what Tom says about playing Santa with me a year ago: 

“Last Christmas I gave a family member the gift of a week with Linda Sivertsen at her Carmel Writer’s Retreat. Good news: It was the PERFECT gift and far exceeded expectations. Bad news: This year I don’t think I can top it!”

Tom Bergeron, Emmy-winning host of Dancing with the Stars, and author of I’m Hosting as Fast as I Can! Zen and the Art of Staying Sane in Hollywood

If you’ve been trying to figure out what to give the writer in your life who has everything but a finished book in her hands (could be YOU!), and your accountant’s been bugging you to get more end-of-year write-offs (that’s me!), a few more new testimonials might be helpful. And, keep reading for far less expensive (and no-cost) options too! 

“Best. Time. Ever. Signing up for Linda’s writing retreat at Carmel was the beginning of a magical journey in writing and publishing! If you want to write a book, it’s good to have a guide in this new and strange world, and Linda has been—and continues to be—a great friend and ally to me.”

Erica Mather, founder of the Yoga Clinic of NYC, The Adore Your Body Transformational Program, and author of the upcoming Adore Your Body (New Harbinger, 2020)

As for the incredible below video (that social-justice activist Celia Ward-Wallace just surprised me with yesterday), don’t believe everything she says. I wasn’t really that tough on her in Carmel. Okay. Maybe I was. But when you go to kindergarten with a picketing sign in your hand and organize protest sit-ins at your school as a nine-year-old, you can’t come to my retreat and try to hide behind a nicey-nice book. Time and destiny and history and global desperation are converging now as never before—and this is not the time to eff around, my friends. Ha. I guess I can be quite the bossy pants.

Carmel Retreat Dates for the New Year, so far (more will depend on my deadline schedule): January 14th – 18th, March 18th – 20th, and April  15th – 19th. The beautiful La Playa Hotel is heaven, you guys. Spots will fill fast, so if you’d like to chat to see if a Carmel retreat is your next step (or for someone on your holiday list), go here.  

On the other end of the price spectrum, we have a few beautiful writerly-love gift options: 

Your Big Beautiful Book Plan. For $150, give the gift of the Mac-Daddy Map (or the Mac-Mama Map!) for creating the ultimate book proposal. Danielle LaPorte, my co-creator on this digital program, and I have long been planning the 2.0 version of this baby. But until we can find the time (I swear, we keep trying!), this beauty is STILL working her magic in the world. We get emails and comments all the time from people writing to let us know it worked! They followed our plan and got the deal (see one of those blurbs below). In fact, Samantha Bennett recently talked with Seth Godin and me on the podcast about how YBBBP did the same for her. To hear her thoughts on the subject (partially excerpted below), start on minute 51:39.

From Sam: “So you know that book of mine that Seth [Godin] so generously endorsed? Well, he only looked at it because I had a publisher. And the only reason I had a publisher was that I wrote a kickass book proposal. And the only reason I had a good book proposal was because I had Linda and Danielle’s amazing template called Your Big Beautiful Book Plan … I was a total newbie-nobody who didn’t even have an agent. The first editor I submitted it to gave me a deal! And guess what? I’m currently working on the proposal for my latest book. And guess what I have open right now to help me figure out what’s what? … Yep, it’s that good.” 

Sam Bennett, founder of The Organized Artist Company, and author of Get It Done and Start Right Where You Are (New World Library) 

From Kim Roberts, a Beautiful Writers Group member on YBBBP. “Highly recommend. Clear. Easy to follow. Landed me an agent and finally a book deal.” 

Membership in the Beautiful Writers Group ($25 a month, see discount option if you buy a years’ subscription). Friends don’t let their friends write alone (or go stir-crazy mad trying to). If you or someone you know is a passionate, vision-driven creative who aches for support and community as they go from Idea to Done, this is the place. Writers have access to Sam Bennett (my co-pilot) and me during our monthly Q&A sessions and in our private Facebook group because … We KNOW how isolating and intimidating writing and publishing can be and we LOVE sharing our decades of experience, shortcuts, and resources to make the path easier and more joyous. Not on Facebook? No problem! Our uber-talented journalist/memoirist/musician Jenn Sutkowski sends members a weekly newsletter highlighting the latest goings on (offering writing tips, motivation, inspiration, resources, and lots of laughs). We also have weekly Zoom write-ins (on camera or not) and a wonderful library of interviews with publishing powerhouses in our Expert Series and archives of prior Q&A calls. Join us!

For sparkling writing gems that don’t cost a thing: You can forward my newsletter (or this link) to any writer in your life. When they sign up for my free bi-monthly email, they’ll instantly receive a downloadable Writer’s Gift Pack (which includes a Book Proposal checklist & 2 juicy recordings of the best real-life strategies I know). They’ll be the first to hear each time a new celebrity author interview posts to iTunes–their monthly reminder that beautiful writing comes in endless forms and countless ways. 

Bottom line: THANK YOU for another year spent cheering each other on and believing in the power of stories to heal our world. I cherish our connection and wish you and yours the Happiest and Merriest of Holidays!  

Write on! 

Linda xo
P.S. If you’d like to share any thoughts, I’ll see them here, on the comments section of Facebook.  

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