Have you ever gazed at a blank page, pen in hand, only to be crippled by self-doubt? Today, we unravel this creative conundrum in our heart-to-heart with the bestselling author and creative entrepreneur, Allegra Huston. From her initial struggles with self-judgment to her eventual breakthrough, Allegra’s journey to finding her authentic writing voice is nothing short of inspiring. She shares how she navigated her way out of the realm of perfection and embraced a free-flowing, raw creativity to pen down her bestselling memoir, Love Child.
In this episode, we’re not just talking about writing, but about writing with confidence, and Allegra shares some incredible techniques to do just that. Discover, along with us, the power of reading your work aloud, using writing prompts, and the unique concept of ‘Green Light’ activities. We explore how these can trigger your imagination, tap into your creative energy, and help you create original, authentic content. Playfulness with words, it turns out, is just as important as simplicity in tools, and you might be surprised how handy a spiral notebook can be!
As we move deeper into our discussion, we dive into Allegra’s portfolio of creative projects and their immense impact not just on her, but those around her. We highlight how accessible and affordable writing can be as a form of self-expression, capable of reducing judgment and infusing joy. Allegra even gives us a sneak peek into her upcoming ventures including potential writing retreats, collaborations, and her dream of connecting talented writers with a global audience. So buckle up and get ready to unleash the creative genius within you through the power of writing!
Mentioned in this Episode:
- Imaginative Storm Writing Workshops
- Write What You Don’t Know: 10 Steps to Writing with Confidence, Energy, and Flow Book
- Write What You Don’t Know: 10 Steps to Writing with Confidence, Energy, and Flow Course
- Bestselling memoir Love Child: A Memoir of Family Lost and Found
- Novel A Stolen Summer
- How to Edit and Be Edited book
- How to Read for an Audience
Connect with Amber Annette:
Click here to read the transcript
Amber Annette: Welcome to the Business Psychic Podcast, the show that helps you ignite your soul’s purpose, turn up your creativity and activate sales and marketing magic. I’m your host, Amber Annette, and I’m thrilled to be here with you today to explore the depth of what it means to be a woman in business. I believe that business is more than just making money. It’s about making a difference and making your mark. So sit back, get present and let’s dive in and uncover the secrets to building a business with soul, purpose and magic. Welcome back to another episode of the Business Psychic. I’m Amber Annette and I’m your host Today. I am beyond thrilled to introduce to you the fabulous Allegra Huston. Listen to this bio. She is the co-founder of imaginative storm writing workshops. The co-author of the book and course Write what you Don’t Know 10 Steps to Writing with Confidence, energy and Flow. The author of the bestselling memoir Love Child A Memoir of Family Lost and Found. Author of the novel A Stolen Summer. Author of how to Edit and Be Edited. And co-author of how to Read for an Audience. I am beyond thrilled, allegra, to have you on today’s episode where we are going to jam on all things being a creative entrepreneur and being an intuitive writer. Welcome.
Allegra Huston: Thank you. I’m beyond thrilled to be on your podcast and so.
Amber Annette: I’ve done a couple of episodes on writing before, but never with an author. It’s been with people that. Do you know more of that creative writing for business, where I mean you just have a variety of different ways that you see people being able to use writing? But I want to kind of start with your journey and have you tell me and tell our audience about when you first fell in love with writing.
Allegra Huston: Okay, this is the answer that I think maybe is going to surprise you, because I always hated writing. I hated writing, I hated having to write thank you letters and I never kept a journal. I loved reading. I read books, books, you know, novels got me through a rather difficult childhood and then I went to university and studied English and then became a publisher and was editorial director and working with writers and I would, you know, at that point, be writing kind of, you know, flap copy for hardback books, right, or the back cover copy. But I always found writing really difficult, I think, because you know, I was incredibly judgmental of myself. You know, the inner critic was not just a critic. The inner critic was this you know, ogre with a machete, basically destroying my confidence at every turn. So I could always help other people make their writing better, but when I tried to write myself and I wrote a couple of magazine articles and things like that, I was completely just seized up with. You know, not even consciously, you know, I thought I can do this, I know how to do this, but I would try and write well, and everything I wrote was stiff and stilted and pompous oh my God, so pompous, just horrible. So it was my dirty secret because I was an editor and then I was working in the film business and working as a script development person and writing screenplays myself, which were also stiff and stilted and pompous. And then, even up to that point, I met my creative collaborator, james Navian, and started teaching writing workshops. And I still was carrying this dirty secret around that I didn’t enjoy writing myself because I was so critical of myself. And then some of them I managed to write a 1500, I woke up one morning and realized how incredibly grateful I was, and continue to be the one I am, for having had the two amazing fathers that I had. And that’s a whole other story. That’s the story of my mom, more love child, one of. And I wrote, I decided I actually did want to write about that. So that was the first time I really had a piece of sort of you know writing that would go out into the world as itself. You know, not a screenplay, right that somebody else is gonna.
Amber Annette: Yeah.
Allegra Huston: Piece of writing that would go out into the world, that I actually genuinely wanted to write. And so I wrote 1500 words, for it was for Harper’s Bazaar, uk, because I happened to know I actually happened to know the travel editor. But she hooked me up with the features editor and after that came out, three people said to me you should write a book. And I thought I had said everything I wanted to say in 1500 words, but it turned out that I hadn’t. And so I thought okay, right, I will write a book, let me have. I should have a go at this. But I was still stuck in this rational mind I have to do this right line of thinking. I understand. I made an outline. You’re supposed to make an outline, and when I was a you know editor in a publishing company, people would present an outline and a couple of sample chapters. So I knew that was how you do it. So I made an outline and I wrote a couple of sample chapters, but they I didn’t know where to start. Oh it like what are my sample chapters? I don’t know where to start. That’s not working. Okay, I’ll start somewhere. That’s definitely not the beginning. So I wrote the chapters. In my God, when I read them back over again, oh, it made me cringe and almost every publisher every publisher in London and almost every publisher in New York turned it down. And later I could completely see why. But I did get a contract and I started writing it. And that was when I finally realized and I’ve already been teaching writing workshops with Nave for a couple of years at this point I finally realized why don’t I just take my own advice? Why don’t I stop trying to do it right, stop trying to write well and just simply write for 10 minutes at a time about anything? Okay, I’ll write about that Thanksgiving. I’ll write about my crazy Italian grandpa standing on his head, completely out of order. I’ll write about that house. I’ll write about the day my sister saw the suitcase that’s had AH on it and said oh, how great, you’ve got my suitcase. And the bottom fell out of my world because it was the one thing I had left of mom. I thought she had put my initials on the suitcase. But, they were my sister’s initials first she was like everything I had had been my sisters before me. But anyway, point being, I started following this method, this strategy it wasn’t really a method yet, but it was a strategy that Navi had brought to me when he asked me to start teaching writing workshops with him of setting a timer for 10 minutes using a writing prompt and just see what comes out. And that worked, because that’s how I got my own voice onto the page. My writing stopped sounding like I was trying to write well and started sounding like me. And okay, it was a mess and okay, it was disconnected and okay, it was just bits and pieces, but at least it sounded like me. And that’s when I learned that, to begin with, what you need are the authenticity and the surprise. You can always add the structure and the polish and the grammar and whatever else. The coherence later, what you can’t have later, are the spark and the surprise, and that is what our whole write. What you don’t know, book and course.
Amber Annette: That’s what our actual method now is based on, and so that’s where I wanna start digging, like right away. The first question that I have so I’m sure our listeners have is how, how, how do you find your own authentic voice when writing so that you don’t go through that imposter syndrome? When you were talking about the beginning of your journey, writing, I mean it’s such a vulnerable process. I mean writing is about as raw and as real as it can possibly get for me and I take a lot of like time and I wait for the right level of inspiration before I do any of my writing. And some of my writing is more like email marketing to my audience, but it’s always weaved with inspiration. But, man, it takes a lot to get to the point to hit, post or send or publish. And when I was listening to that word, vulnerable, just vulnerable writing. So what would be some ways that you could tell our audience, like, how do you get to that point of having an authentic and vulnerable voice?
Allegra Huston: Well, I think the first thing and I’m speaking completely from personal experience here it’s like I’ve made every mistake in the book. I have suffered every writer’s block, every doubt, every fear of vulnerability in the book, so that kind of. I think that in the end, of course, that’s been incredibly useful because I can understand how other people feel and when one is at that sort of point. So this is what I do. I don’t write, I generate material. Oh sure, if I’m not writing, then I don’t need to write. Well, but I can just generate material, and generate good material. And what is generating good material? Feel like you feel that little spark. You feel that spark of energy in your body when you’re generating good material that feels like you and you don’t worry about it being writing yet. Yeah, so to me that is how you start, because the first thing is to actually start to get your writing to feel like you. One of the other great techniques that the imaginative storm method. As we’ve developed it, we’ve realized the value We’ve always done this but didn’t quite realize why but the value of reading what you write out loud, either right after you’ve written it or generated it or, as a last thing, before you send it out into the world, Because when you read something on the page, you’re critical. you’re back in school, you’re in high school right. You know there’s gonna be red marks on that page, or you’re reading a novel and you have to critique it, or whatever. You know, but you’re in that critical, judging, rational, inner critic mind. That’s what’s leading the caravan here. But when you read something out loud, you can’t change anything. If you’re reading, you can’t stop to change it because now you’re not reading. So it keeps you in the flow of what you wrote, whether it’s totally raw material or something that’s fairly finished. But what happens is that when those words that you put on the page page or screen, you know whatever those words are now being made being brought alive, they’ve got breath and warmth from your voice and, as you know, as you speak them aloud and it doesn’t need to be anybody else in the room, it doesn’t matter they’re making patterns on the air. You’re actually affecting the world. The physics of the room you’re in are not the same as they were before you started speaking. Now, this is a kind of I feel that. I feel that it seems like a small thing but it’s actually a really, really big thing because it gives it starts to give you the confidence that your voice, written and now read aloud, can make a difference in the world and a difference to you. Because what happens is when you come to some combination of words, some image, some idea that you like, you think, oh, that’s kind of cool, you know where did that come from? You get a little dopamine rush in your body. Your body goes mm-hmm, yes, I do like that, and of course it wants more, yeah. So this is one of the ways in which you become familiar and kind of tender with your own voice. You know it’s sort of in a funny way, like a parent with a child. You know it’s not like you think your kid is perfect, but you love it for what it can be I’m saying it, but he or she, whatever, for what your child can be, and you love your child for their faults, not even despite their faults. You know those faults might be strengths in some other fashion if we can just develop that. And so that’s the relationship you start to get with your own voice when you read your work aloud. But it doesn’t happen if you leave it lying, kind of, you know, unanimated and comatose on the page. Yeah, so that’s the absolute secret.
Amber Annette: Are you familiar? As you’re talking, I’m reminded of the quote right high edit sober. Have you ever heard that before? No, I don’t know who said that. It actually. I think the quote was right drunk edit sober. I changed it to right high edit sober because that’s what it feels like when I write. I get almost this high, it becomes like something just becomes, it just starts coming. It comes out with the ethers, the universe, like whatever just comes to me.
Allegra Huston: It comes out of your imagination, which has Absolutely, and isn’t it interesting? I mean there is Well.
Amber Annette: is it coming from my imagination or from my intuition? That’s a great question.
Allegra Huston: Well, I think that there are a lot of words for something that is roughly the same thing, and there’s no need for us to rationally label what aspect of this. We could call it the universe, we could call it the collective unconscious, we could call it your intuition, we could call it imagination or all of it. Yeah, exactly, I mean, I think your imagination is your intuition. It is hooked into something. Whether that is whatever we wanna call it, it doesn’t really matter. For me, the point is that it’s not your rational mind, it’s not your critical, judging, egocentric, frightened, anxious, ambitious mind. So, when you are drunk, like the author of your quote or high or whatever that’s like, why people wanna get drunk and high right Is because they wanna shut that mind up. And there are ways to do it substance free as well, which is what we’re about. I mean, hey, you could do this on mushrooms if you want. But what we have found?
Amber Annette: is-? Well, that would be an interesting writing retreat, Exactly right, maybe we can organize it.
Allegra Huston: You can come to Taos.
Amber Annette: I’m in. I’m in on that one. I’m curious.
Allegra Huston: But anyway, point being, you can, when you use writing prompts, even if you’re working on something very specific, you can use totally random writing prompts and your rational mind, that part that always wants to be driving the bus is basically well, I don’t know, what am I supposed to do with that? That doesn’t have anything to do with the story I wanna tell. Great, because now your imagination can go. Well, let me see what I could do with it. Yeah, so it’s a sort of there’s a similar, it’s a similar action and I’m sure you I mean from what I know of your business coaching you’re basically doing a similar process. Yeah, definitely, getting out of like all those anxieties and judgments and what ifs and saying just- so I call those green lights activities right.
Amber Annette: So I don’t know if where you lived when you were a kid, did you ever play like red light, green light I think so.
Allegra Huston: I lived all over. It’s a long story.
Amber Annette: The concept of the game right is in class. We would always play it at a gym class and all of the class would stand at one end of the room and whoever was the instructor, the red light, green light person would stand at the other and the goal of the game was to get to that person as quickly and as swiftly as possible. So the person would stand there and they would say green light and you would run as fast as you could to that person and then when they said red light, you had to freeze and it was who just ever got to the other side as one, whoever got there first. And I love that concept for manifesting, and not just for manifesting, but from a mindset perspective, of when we actually give ourselves the space to do green light activities, like for me. It could be coloring, it could be walking, it could be creative visualizations or meditations, whatever. It is right Like I have my own list when I do that. I find it really fascinating that that’s when those ideas come in for me to write. That’s when those activities come in. It’s in that green light space where the universe can, your imagination, it can get through. There’s nothing in your way, there’s nothing standing in between you and that new creative divine download, and that’s what we’re talking about here. We’re using different language to explain. Yes, in order to receive at your highest level, you have to be in an energy that matches that type of frequency. And when you do that, man, it’s amazing what can start to come in.
Allegra Huston: It’s true, and the wonderful thing about it is that or traditionally writers call that the muse I’m waiting for the muse to speak to me, but a lot of them would wait and wait, and wait and wait and the muse wouldn’t come. And I’m sure you know we don’t call it the muse now, but that’s what’s called writer’s block, right? So wonderful thing that we’ve realized is actually you can call that energy up. You can put yourself in that green light frame of mind for whatever activity. It doesn’t have to be writing at will easily. It’s actually not hard. You just need the technique to do it. And you can do it in 10 minutes, which is what’s so lovely. I mean, all of our writing exercises are. The longest one we do is 10 minutes. So why? Because if it’s only 10 minutes, you’re not trying to write well. You only wrote it in 10 minutes. How could it possibly be good? It’s completely ridiculous. And you don’t have.
Amber Annette: of course, you end up writing much better in 10 minutes than you’ve done in an hour, as lots of people and I bet they write much more than just 10 minutes, because I know for myself if I just sit down with like a prompt and sometimes it’s just the act of getting started can create the magic and the momentum that we’re looking for. It’s just like going for me going to the gym. The biggest battle in going to the gym is getting my gym shoes on.
Allegra Huston: That’s it Once, I’m there.
Amber Annette: I love it. I’m like this is the best day of my life. I feel amazing, I look amazing. I leave there happy, motivated to come again. The hardest part is putting the gym shoes and I think, as a writer, the hardest part is just having the sacred space to actually sit down and start writing.
Allegra Huston: It just you don’t need to need the sacred space because that’s another thing that people think. That stops you. It’s like oh, I don’t have. Stephen King tells me I have to have my own space If I’m gonna write. Julia Cameron, who wrote the Artist’s Way, and my creative collaborator, james Navey, worked a lot with Julia Cameron, so there’s quite a lot of Artist’s Way DNA in what we do. Julia wrote lots of her books at red lights, sitting in the car waiting for the light to turn on.
Amber Annette: I write in the shower.
Allegra Huston: Yeah, exactly, you can write it while you’re waiting in the grocery store line, because you don’t have to be quote unquote writing. Well, you’re just generating material and as you play with, you’re standing in the checkout line at the grocery store and there’s all kinds of words all around you on all kinds of packaging. Start putting them together and that generative material. You know it’s like a muscle. You stretch and strengthen your imagination the more that you do that. And then when you come to write whatever you kind of really wanna write quote unquote, you have that ability to just drop into silliness. And when you can be playful with words, that relieves all of that oh my God, I gotta get it right, I’ve gotta get it right School kind of thing, and when you are playful, that’s where the surprises come from. That’s where the originality comes from, because nobody plays the same, so that’s where your authenticity on the page comes from, when you can be playful with words.
Amber Annette: Yeah, it’s also fun you know, you do it again. I’m obsessed with writing. I write every day. I mean, if you could see my office right now, I mean, and I’m very still much a paper and pen girl like I still hand write everything and that’s just my process.
Allegra Huston: I try, that’s really important.
Amber Annette: It’s really important for you, for our audience can’t our listeners, of course, can’t see this but I’m folding up a notebook and this is my book. I mean, this is where it’s like broke.
Allegra Huston: And can I? say that is the perfect imaginative storm write what you don’t know notebook. I wrote my entire. I generated the material. I will rephrase the material for my memoir, love Child in 10 minute chunks in notebooks that looked exactly like that. So I’m gonna describe what that notebook looks like, because I think this is you have, just because you are, you know, in tune. You came up with, you know the easy ways to do this thing right by hand and write in a cheap spiral notebook. That’s really cheerful looking, ambers is. It has pink stripes and shiny pink polka dots on the pink stripes. Okay, perfect, I want notebooks like that. You don’t have to write well in a notebook like that. It’s a fun notebook, it’s lively. You wanna pick it up? It’s not intimidating, I mean if you’re-.
Amber Annette: I cannot write at my MacBook. I have not wrote anything. The only time I ever write anything on my MacBook is typically if it’s an email response. Everything I write is handwritten. It’s just. It’s just my process.
Allegra Huston: There’s a reason why you’ve come to that. And also you’ve got this lovely, quite large page, but you know not college rules. It has to be wider spaces, as college rule makes you have to squeeze in between the lines. They’re too tight. But if you’re a writer, okay. People are like, hmm, what am I gonna give you for Christmas? I’ll give you a.
Amber Annette: Really beautiful notebook. Oh yeah, that’s what my kids get me every year. 15 of those Can you write in Gel pen oh yeah, Gel pens notebooks you can’t.
Allegra Huston: I can’t write in beautiful notebooks because I feel like I’m gonna mess them up. I don’t wanna write badly in a beautiful notebook, so it puts me back in that. Oh, I have to write well. Frame of mind. So I have all Are you still?
Amber Annette: that way.
Allegra Huston: Oh yeah, absolutely, let me try to use some of my Let me use a little I also wanna talk about why not to write on a computer because you brought that up too Because, again, you see it, it looks like writing, it’s writing. You can easily edit, you can change it, you can go back, which seems like a wonderful thing. But now, okay, immediately you’re back in your critical judging mind and you’re out of the flow. Yeah, there is a reason to write by hand, and it doesn’t matter. If you can’t read your writing, type it up after. Immediately after you wrote it, you can type it up, and if you don’t read that word you imagine properly, your imagination will stick some other word in there. It doesn’t matter, you don’t have to. It’s not the Cuban missile crisis. You don’t have to be totally faithful. Yes, the point is anything that will stop you judging or editing or criticizing or thinking how do I do this right? What should I do next?
Amber Annette: Yeah. Will it stop you. So I wanna give. This is the invitation for you.
Allegra Huston: You have pressure points. Do you know this? You have pressure points on the outside of your hand. Oh, they move across the paper and the edge of your hand touches the paper very slightly. Those pressure points also give you a dopamine release.
Amber Annette: Hmm, that’s interesting, and that goes very well Bibi.
Allegra Huston: Reminds us of being a kid and being creative and drawing with crayon on paper. So again we’re in a. You know it puts you in a happy place. Very interesting. It’s way better in a happy place than in a judging place.
Amber Annette: Well, and I will say, if I’m in not a good mood typically which isn’t very often I’m very, very grateful for that. But if I’m in a funk, writing will typically be my go-to practice to get me out of my funk, and sometimes it’s just the practice of I call my practice coffee with the universe and that’s where I do my morning. Whatever you wanna call it, your morning pages, my journaling, my diary it’s kind of a combination of all of those things together and I’ve been doing that for and since I, I mean my life has just changed dramatically and I go to that practice every single time I’m in a funk and it’s what I mean it’s got me through some dark days. Writing is, in so many ways I feel like, kind of saved my life. I mean, you know, we haven’t talked about your past. I’ve talked a little bit about my past on this podcast, but I didn’t have a great childhood either. But I would write fantasy stories. I would write, you know, I would make up stories. I would make up, create. You know, fantasy and creativity has always just been part of who I am, and so those stories got me through some really dark times as a child and writing. I’m still grateful for the practice of it because it gets me, even when I’m having a bad day, man coffee with the universe, I’m out of it in a short amount of time.
Allegra Huston: So we have a prompt it’s in the second session of write what you don’t know the book and there’s a self-paced online course that’s on Teachable and we have a prompt in there. That’s I effing hate. We call it. It’s ranting. That whole session is about ranting. But when you really let go and rant about something that you effing hate like you know I’ve done you know roses with the thorns cut off, or manicure salons, or the lines in the Walmart parking lot I did a really good one about that you start laughing at your bad mood, and laughing, of course, is the antidote to anything.
Amber Annette: Everything right. Yeah, it really. I agree with you that the laughter frequency can bring to you anything you want. It really can, including new ideas, including creativity, so for sure. So, in all of this, in all of your success, tell me, all of these projects that you have been able to bring to the world, what are you most proud of creating?
Allegra Huston: This book and the course actually maybe the course, more than the book of write what you don’t know. Well, I’m proud of it because I really think that we’ve created Nave and I have created a method that nobody has quite done this before. We didn’t set out to take wisdom from various different writing teachers. We set out to formulate the wisdom that we’ve accumulated over decades and working apart and together. But there is no other book or course that combines both a method and inspiration and the practicality of 60, or however many it is writing prompts. So I’m proud that we’ve actually brought something new into the world and, more importantly, that that thing is, I believe, has the potential to be incredibly useful to kind of basically millions of people. We’ve been doing we’ve had our writers group every Saturday now for over two and a half years and people who arrive and say, well, I’m not a writer, I’m just here because my girlfriend asked me to come, or my mother, my kid or whatever they say that doing this has enriched their lives, it nourishes your spirit, because when you write from this very open, exploratory, surprise me, mindset, you notice things, your awareness becomes expanded, you start to understand yourself better, you understand the people in your life better, so everything that reduces judgment in your life basically makes you a happier person. So this is a practice that does that, so it’s very useful, I believe. I mean, I know this myself. I’m the poster child for this method as a writer, so I know how useful it is for writers. But what I have seen, which I didn’t really know until a couple of years ago, is the incredible benefits that it has brought to people who have no ambitions to be writers, who you know, maybe people who write as a practice, not aiming for publication, which is a very valuable thing or but people who simply this is the only you know they write for an hour or a week in our writing group and they won’t miss it for the world. So to be able to bring this easy, enjoyable, joyful approach to creativity and writing is one of the cheapest forms of creativity there is. You don’t need to buy paints or canvas, or you know basketry equipment or yarn or you know anything like that. You don’t need to have a garden, you know it’s a very accessible, easy, quick, affordable form of creativity, and I think human beings are creative creatures. We need to feel that, even if you know, even if that’s not our day job. You know, our day job may be with numbers and business and whatever, and that may be vitally important also in supporting whatever the creative side of it is. But the creative side is also vitally important in supporting the numbers and business side, because that’s what makes us feel, that’s what gives us joy, rather than achievement, satisfaction, ambition kind of. That’s a different kind of happiness, but that heart happiness, that sense of self-realization I’ve just said that as if I’d somehow coined the term, but it is you are, you know of yourself actually being there, not anybody else’s idea of you, not what you’re supposed to be, but just you. That puts you in a very powerful position to do whatever it is you want to do, whether it’s right.
Amber Annette: So much more than writing.
Allegra Huston: Yeah, bring a product out into the world or a service out into the world or, you know, create some other kind of difference in the world. Maybe you’re an activist of some kind, but you need that basis within yourself and, as I say, until a few years ago I didn’t realize that what we had actually had that value to it, as well as simply the writing value.
Amber Annette: Well, I can promise you I’m assuming it’s on Amazon. I’m hoping it’s on Amazon, it is reader 65, razor I have a beautiful collection of books about writing that I cannot wait to grab yours and add it to mine. I mean that, and I’m super excited for our audience to grab it too. It’s right what you don’t know. And it’s a book, it’s a method and a course, and I cannot wait to dive more into that and it’s all of the things that you’re creating the course isn’t.
Allegra Huston: Obviously the course isn’t on Amazon, it’s on Teachable. But if you go to imaginativesstormcom that’s our method, it’s called the imaginatives storm method You’ll find links to the course, to the book and to the workshops that we teach in person, both live on Zoom and live in person.
Amber Annette: Perfect, and we’re also gonna leave a bunch of notes inside, or a bunch of links to your books and your website inside of the notes section of the podcast. So I just this was a fantastic conversation. I love having creative entrepreneurs on here, and I just hope that our audience takes something away from this that can inspire and spark them to have their own, their own writing practice, because, I don’t know, sometimes I really believe like writing has saved my life in so many ways. So, and I just appreciate you taking the time to be here with us so now we’re recording this episode in July, the end of July, and Allegra has still not seen or has not listened to any of the podcasts yet, so she doesn’t know what’s about to be unfolded in front of her here. So, in true the business psychic fashion, here’s how we wrap up our show. I am going to give you, I’m gonna tap in here and give you some insight, some psychic insight, of what I see and sense for your business for, I don’t know, maybe the next six to 12 months, and then I’m gonna ask you a super important question and we are gonna wrap up. So are you ready? I’m ready, all right, so I just need kind of a second here. Okay, so, okay. So the first thing that I’m hearing is the word improv, and I’m not sure if this is something you already do or have done before, but maybe it’s something you’ve done before, because I feel like the universe is kind of showing me like dust this, like kind of dust, it off the shelf kind of thing, and it’s improv writing, an improv writing class, versus like an improv acting class. But this is an improv writing class that I see you hosting and I see you doing it in two different ways. Number one, I see you doing it like an online masterclass or something along those lines. But number two is I see people starting to hire you to come to their own retreats, to their retreats or other high level workshops with other writers, where it is like one of the go-to, like in-person experiences for the improv writing. So I’m not sure if that’s something you’ve ever done before or have thought about doing, but I love it and the energy behind it is really good and I feel like it kind of pushes you out of your comfort zone a little bit. So there’s something about that. The second thing that I really am feeling for you is like a soul writing retreat where it’s maybe taking, and this feels like it’s something just you hosting. I love your business partner. For you he feels amazing. But this feels like something intimate for you, something deeper, something more expansive, that you can really spend some time with I don’t know between six and 10 women in this. It just feels like a super cool vibe. I would say like I’m gonna go Italy. I’m gonna say Italy because that’s just what I heard. So I feel like there’s something in that space for you that can just set your heart and soul on fire. I mean, it definitely feels profitable, but it’s more what it does talk about like a green light activity. I need you to like, I really need you to sit with that vision, because it is a way I am seeing you shine that I feel like you’ve never had the opportunity to shine before. And then the third thing is I do see some new collaborations coming Now. Whether that be tied to the improv writing, I don’t think so. I think there’s a new collaboration coming for you. It feels like around November this collaboration is going to lead to a collaborative book effort. That is like the power of writing something in that genre of and it’s you’ve got some great energy of what’s about to come and what’s kind of unfolding here over the next six to 12 months, but a bigger one that me, a bigger one that I’m not. This is a bigger one. I feel like you are also being invited to revisit publishing, or co-investing in a new publishing maybe a publisher that’s wanting to sell there’s something like that that’s gonna be coming, I would say February of 2024. And you need to say yes to the opportunity when it comes. It is a yes, even though on paper it might look like a no. Analytically it might look like a no, profit and loss, it might look like a no, but I am telling you it is a yes. You are going to buy it at a low and you are gonna like turn it into a high or at least be a part of somebody who does at least be an investor in it, something along those lines. Because I think there’s something that’s missing right now from your business, which is you have such an innate eye for talent, talented and gifted writers, and I just feel like you have the right connections and the right amount of mentoring in you and the right amount of magic to bring all of that together to really bring some gifted and talented writers to this world. That might have went unseen.
Allegra Huston: Okay, well, thank you. Some of those I already recognize, like the collaboration in November about the power of writing. I know what that is. That’s amazing, that I definitely know. And, of course, improv writing that’s one of the words that we’ve used to do. I mean that is what we’re doing. It’s absolutely improv. You don’t know what you’re gonna write. You set a timer for 10 minutes, you give yourself a writing prompt and let’s see what comes out. So it is improv. We didn’t use that word because I think we found that there were other people using it or something, and so we wanted to keep to the words that were authentic to the 20 years that we’ve spent doing this. But it is absolutely what we do. Very cool. So yeah, and going to other people, sort of parachuting into other people’s retreats this would be really fun. I mean, I do my own. I teach a memoir five day workshop in.
Amber Annette: Nova.
Allegra Huston: Scotia. I just did one in May and the next one is gonna be October 2024. October next year, but I think we’re gonna be doing one. Navi and I, together are gonna be doing one in Taos, here in Taos, new Mexico, where I live, next April. So we haven’t set the dates for that, but we’re working with this beautiful old bed and breakfast which you know all a number of writers have lived there DH Lawrence. Oh cool and it’s this beautiful nine room bed and breakfast. So, and also, when you said six to what, did you say six to 10 women? Absolutely All of our workshops max out at 10, sometimes at eight, yeah.
Amber Annette: And.
Allegra Huston: I do work writing workshops.
Amber Annette: There’s an intimacy, for sure. I could feel that.
Allegra Huston: And it’s important to you know to feel when you’re generating raw material. It’s important to feel safe with the people that you’re in the room with and it’s not possible to feel that, however wonderful 20 people are, there’s just too many people.
Amber Annette: Yes, yes, I agree, I love to keep. I host retreats also and I love to keep them as intimate as possible to make the biggest impact as possible. We should hang you and I should do one together. Sounds never, I agree, we’ll have an offline conversation for sure. Okay, are you ready?
Allegra Huston: for the question. I’m ready for the question. Hit me.
Amber Annette: If you could connect to anybody in spirit, a past loved one, a celebrity, anybody at all that has crossed over and receive a message from them, who would it be? My mother, okay. So I’m gonna tap in here and I’m gonna connect with her, and so the first thing that she presents to me and I get this image often from our past loved ones that are women, whether it be our mothers, our grandmothers, great grandmothers, ancestors but she presents this beautiful rose to you, allegra. So I don’t know if that’s something that you’ve ever connected with her or sensed or seen from her, but from here for sure and going forward, I want you to really feel the energy and her spirit around you. Whenever you encounter, anytime you encounter, roses. It’s just a beautiful, beautiful feminine energy that she sends. And there is she, just. She shows me the image of like taking your face and kind of cupping it in her hands, except it’s the face of you when you were a child, and she is just showing me how just precious you, just how that’s her word that she uses just how precious you were to her and there was so much that she didn’t get to say and that you didn’t get to do. But she has been. She has been your guardian angel. She’s showing me like she’s been your wings in times that you didn’t know that she was your wings and you’ve never been in the shadow to her ever, she says. You’ve never been in the shadow, so I don’t know what that means or if that means something special to you but, she yes, I just got that. Just a beautiful energy around her. So I don’t know if she passed when you were quite young I was four, you were four Okay, and she shows me when you like, she shows me you coloring. Do you remember? On the floor it feels like a blank piece of paper and did you? I mean, most little girls do. That’s not an uncommon image, but and it just feels to me. She’s showing me like all these different acts. It’s almost like this quick timeline of your life, from this point where you were a little girl coloring on the ground all the way till now, like she’s always, always been there, always.
Allegra Huston: Can I share, and if you don’t have time, obviously you’ll cut it out, but can I share with you this extraordinary writing prompt that I was given as a gift came totally out of the blue. A woman named Erica Heller, who’s the daughter of Joseph Heller, who wrote Catchment 22, emailed me literally out of nowhere never met her in my life and asked me to contribute to a book, an anthology, that she edited and it’s published now. It’s called One Last Lunch, a final meal with those who meant so much to us, and the principle of this book is that she asked 49 people to imagine a lunch with someone they loved who is now dead. And she asked me in that very first email to write a lunch with my mother and I said yes, because there were other really interesting people contributing to the anthology. And then I immediately got so terrified because I thought it would just be emotionally grueling and I was like a wimp. And six months went by and I didn’t write it. And she hounded me. She really wanted me in this book, which was amazing to me that you know. She bothered to spend this time chasing somebody she didn’t know, who wasn’t doing what she, what they had said they were gonna do, and so eventually I sat down and started generating material for it, because I didn’t wanna not write it, because I was scared that was a really bad reason to not do something, did not do anything and, massively to my surprise, not only was it not emotionally grueling, it was one of the most rewarding, healing, joyful experiences that I’ve ever had, because I got my mom back and they had this incredible reversal in it because, of course, my whole life I lost her. when I was four. I wanted a mother to comfort me and then, as I’m sitting there across this, imaginary lunch table in a restaurant that was her favorite restaurant that I knew in London. She was 39 when she died, so she was in love with this one and with problems with that one and worried about her kids, and she was in the middle of all the turbulence that you’re in when you’re 39. And I was in my early fifties and so, having wished for her comfort, I could comfort her and tell her it would all turn out okay and that was the most incredible experience. So I just wanted to share that. I think maybe if you have time to talk about it and share that, I think maybe if you have time to include this in the podcast, your readers might enjoy the book. That book also is available on. Amazon or that prompt Last lunch. Well, the prompt. If you go to imaginativesstormcom, we are also on a platform called Circle and there’s a link that read what other people have written. It will take you to the Circle and I’ve made a place on the Circle, with Erica’s permission, for people to post their last lunches. Very cool. I’ve told other people about it and in fact I taught a course at the Taos Writers Conference about two weeks ago and one of the women there wrote a last lunch and she’s just posted it. So I have to go read that. I was off on a river trip, so I wasn’t. I had no electronics of any kind for the last few days, but yeah, it’s everyone who’s done it. I mean, and it is frightening, not that many people are willing to step up to this, but the people who have done it have all had the same experience that I’ve had, that they were so surprised by the integration that came to them as a result.
Amber Annette: By writing.
Allegra Huston: Yeah Well, thank you so you don’t have to put.
Amber Annette: I’m, of course, gonna include that. That’s a. I mean, not only was it a beautiful reading, but that’s a beautiful way for our listeners to be able to connect with their past loved ones too. And that’s so much of what I love doing with this podcast and with my gift and is connecting to those that have crossed over, connecting to creativity, and this podcast has just been amazing to kind of pull all of those components all into one. So I thank you so much for being here and for being a part of this. Can’t wait for our audience to hear it and we will have all kinds of different links and her website, allegra’s website, to go check out. I know I’m gonna be buying the right what you don’t know book as well, as, I think, definitely playing with that thought of the last lunch. So, allegra, thank you so much for being here. This was amazing. I can’t wait to have you back and hear about your business reading and hear how those things are going that I kind of had a psychic forecast for. And until next time, go be in your magic and I will catch you on our next episode. Thanks for listening to this episode. I hope it inspired and ignited your entrepreneurial spirit, in turn of your intuition and trust in the universe. Make sure to check out the show notes section for access to my transformation suite All of free resources, tools and content to help you grow your business while staying true to your soul’s purpose. Until next week, go make some business magic full sister.
Co-founder of Imaginative Storm Writing Workshops, Author, Producer
Co-founder of Imaginative Storm Writing Workshops
Co-author of book and course Write What You Don’t Know: 10 Steps to Writing with Confidence, Energy, and Flow
Author of bestselling memoir Love Child: A Memoir of Family Lost and Found
Author of novel A Stolen Summer
Author of How to Edit and Be Edited and co-author of How to Read for an Audience
Writer/producer of short film Good Luck, Mr Gorski