Writing a book is like fine wine…it takes time…

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JournallingI’ve dabbled in writing over the years, mainly journalling, and in the early years, certainly nothing for anyone else’s eyes! In 1995, when I had my first overseas trip at the age of 30, and before the internet, email and Facebook were on the scene, I kept in touch with family and friends with long letters detailing my experiences. I often had the comment – “I love what you write, it makes me feel like I’m there with you.”

And so, in March 2010, when I was going through the process of ‘letting go’, in preparation for my life-changing 6 month trip to Bali, I decided to start a blog, documenting my progress, feelings, and experiences.

Follow Your Dreams

I had a following of friends, family and clients (from my massage and retreat business), and they all enjoyed what I wrote, and once again, I got comments on how they enjoyed my style of writing.

And it was fun! I loved describing what I was doing and how I was feeling in the process. BIG things were happening for me and it was empowering to share that with others.

I had had little murmers in my head from time to time that I should write about my early menopause experience but I didn’t think of myself as a ‘writer’ and so they stayed just that – murmurings.

A month before leaving Bali in 2011 I went on a Writer’s Retreat that Jeremiah Abrams was hosting at One World Retreats in Ubud. 6 days of writing with a wonderful group of people from all over the world, all with different writing styles and levels of experience. I loved it and my murmurings then turned into action – I finally started my early menopause story!

Ubud Bali

2012 came and went, and with trying to settle back into life after living in a very different culture for 6 months, moving to a new area, trying to get work, and dealing with lots of emotional shyte, the writing of my story just didn’t continue.

However, I did do Serena Star Leonard’s Website Launchpad course and SoulCuisine was born! This has enabled me to continue to write and share about all manner of things. It’s my labour of love and keeps me writing and sharing.

Welcome 2013. My friend Christine and I decided a month in Bali – writing, would be just divine, so we booked flights and accommodation and with the best of intentions spent an amazing 4 weeks in Ubud doing everything else but!

There were just too many distractions with awesome things to do! I spent about half a day on my book but managed to write about a particularly difficult time I had gone through so it was good to purge and get that behind me.

Fresh Coconut Water - yummo!

I should be writing…

I ended up spending another 5 months in Bali, but alas, no more progress on my book. Back to New Zealand and back to the challenge of finding work and somewhere to live, and again, no motivation to make writing a priority, apart from keeping SoulCuisine up-to-date as much as possible.

Having spent more time in different parts of Bali, I had the desire to share these beautiful places with others. After all, I now had good contacts there, knew how things worked and felt quite at home. In fact I now consider Bali my second home!

So I decided to host 2 retreats in 2014. It was a lot of work contacting places that I deemed suitable to stay (and had visited previously to get a feel for). Working out pricing and getting the information on my website and out into the world. It took many hours but it was also exciting.

Unfortunately I left it a bit late getting the info out there and didn’t get enough serious interest for the retreats to go ahead, but I decided to do my Writer’s Retreat solo anyway.

Wow, I’m so glad I did. It was incredible! I LOVED it! A whole week dedicated to writing in the most gorgeous environment in Sideman. I achieved more in one week writing my book than I had in the previous 3 years! I was stoked. It was the PERFECT environment – serene, peaceful, spiritual, beautiful. It was exactly how I pictured it was going to be, actually even better!

I didn’t want to leave – a week just wasn’t long enough.

There was the option to do stretching and meditation twice a day. I’m not a morning person so I joined the staff for their early evening sessions. I would get up around 7.30am, sit and enjoy the beautiful view for 10 minutes then get dressed and head for breakfast.

My amazing living space - bedroom/writing/be-ing

My amazing living space – bedroom/writing/be-ing

Back to my stunning room overlooking the rice terraces and valley for some concentrated writing, then having a break for lunch, either at the retreat centre or next door at a local warung (café), that served delicious food.

My absolute favourite Balinese treat - Pandanas leaf crepes - yummo!!

My absolute favourite Balinese treat – Pandanas leaf crepes (filled with banana, sugar syrup & coconut) – yummo!! Extra awesome with strong Bali coffee 🙂

Back to more writing after a relaxed lunch and then off for stretching/meditation at 5.30pm – ahh – bliss!!

A room with a view - stunning rice terraces and river right at my door!

A room with a view – stunning rice terraces and river right at my door!

I also managed to fit in a healing and yoga session with a wonderful Balinese priest / healer. And on my last day I took a few hours off to walk across the valley that had been beaconing me all week, and stopping at my favourite place for coffee and chocolate mousse cake by the river.

More treats after my HUGE walk - Chocolate mousse cake & Bali coffee!!

More treats after my HUGE walk – Chocolate mousse cake & Bali coffee!!

My final night saw 3 of the male staff serenading me with Balinese music, stars twinkling above and the beautiful smells of incense and nature floating around me. Heaven, pure heaven.

This was such a magic experience for me and I was so impressed by the retreat centre, that I wanted to share it with others…so I organised another week-long Writer’s Retreat in June 2015. We had a fabulous time – much writing, talking, sharing, laughing, eating, it was wonderful. It was such a huge success I’m doing it again in 2016!

So, if you’ve always wanted to start that writing project, are part way through something and can’t find the time or inspiration, or just want a week to yourself to journal and contemplate, then this retreat is for YOU!

Check out the details here – I’d love you to join me…

The Retreat Centre from across the valley

The Retreat Centre from across the valley


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  1. An honest and humorous account of NOT writing your book! V.funny. Especially all the effort you put into organising the retreat just that bit too late! It worked out perfectly though as you test-drove it yourself and can now go ahead with the next one. I’d love to come but lack all kinds of funding. So have green pancakes for me while I eat my heart out! And watch Tracey, if she attends. Don’t let her go to anywhere with golden arches! It’s a beautiful post, Paula. Great pix too.

  2. Sounds and looks awesome Paula 🙂

  3. OMG Paula! We have the same favourite snack! I ate hundreds of those ‘green pancakes’ in Malaysia last year!!! I badly want to come to this retreat!!

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