We all need an outlet these days – a way to escape this wild world we have found ourselves living in – if only for a day, a few hours, a few minutes even. Of course there are the usual suspects: wine, Netflix, social media…more wine, more Netflix, and more social media.
Whatever your particular escape may be, ask yourself this: Is this escape route I have chosen actually helping me to release all of the pent-up frustration, exhaustion, anger, and fear that has built up inside me over the course of 2020?
Be honest with yourself.
If your answer is no, might I suggest another outlet?
Pick up a pen, grab a notebook or a journal, and write that shit down. ALL OF IT.
And if your pen won’t write fast enough, type it out. ALL OF IT.
If we want 2021 to be a better year (and don’t we all want that?), then the year we have just lived through needs to come out of us. All of that energy that has built up and had nowhere to go except to drown itself in the bottom of a wine glass – it needs to be released. Physically. Mentally. Fully and for real. Write it down so that you can understand what you’ve gone through this year, process it, face it, forgive it, and let it go. Write it down so that you can move forward and look toward a brighter future.
For many of us, this year has been about survival. And living in survival mode for a prolonged period is insanely draining and disheartening. BUT, if you look deep enough, you will find the gems. And that’s where the writing comes in. When you start to write down and release all of the pent-up emotions, the ridiculous stories, and the madness that has gone down in your particular corner of quarantine, you will begin to understand something about yourself:
No matter how this year has played out for you, you are strong. You are loved. You are capable. And you have a story to tell. A story that matters. A story that will not only help you to heal and survive, but that will help others to heal and survive, too.
It was Maya Angelou who wrote, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Haven’t you found this to be true? I certainly have. Stories pull at me, push me, prod me, beat me over the freaking head – all day long. They are relentless, and I never feel less myself than when I am not writing.
I know many of you feel the same. You have come to me, telling me you have a story you want to write. An idea for a novel, or perhaps a memoir. You’re not sure if you should tell the true story, or mask the truth in fiction. Either way, the story is there, sitting over your shoulder, waiting for you to get the courage to write it down.
And guess what, that story is NOT going away. Because it’s yours. And YOU are the one to write it.
So cork up the wine, turn off the Netflix, stop scrolling through the madness of social media, and honor the part of you that needs to be released through the gift of writing.
If you need help along the way, I’m teaching a 6-week motivational “Kickstart Your Writing” course with the Paris Writing Salon. We’ll be meeting on Zoom every Monday from November 9th – December 14th, and writers at any stage of the game are welcome and encouraged to join. I would absolutely love to see you there.
What is The Paris Writing Salon? An amazing and supportive online writing community designed to help you get writing, get published, and get more readers. With a monthly or annual membership, you will have access to writing workshops taught by bestselling authors, exciting author chats, and regular writing sprints. You can join anytime, and if you a miss a session, no problem. Everything is recorded and available online.
We’re offering my MasterClass to members of the Paris Writing Salon as part of our launch—a $297 value for just the price of 2 month’s membership. It’s a steal.
So if you need a kick in the pants, join the Paris Writing Salon, and let’s write while the world goes crazy.
Happy Valentine’s Day friends! In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d write a post about…yes, you guessed it: love and books! The two go quite well together. After all, most of the books I’ve written are love stories based upon my own love stories, or love stories I hope to have one day. Even the rather twisted love stories that play out in my thriller, All the Beautiful Bodies, have hints of the love stories I’ve experienced in my own twisted and beautiful life.
Twisted love stories, you say? That’s not the kind of romantic, dreamy Valentine’s Day love we should be celebrating today! And here’s what I say to that: love is not always–or ever–the straight-shot fairy tale we were all fed as children. You know the one. It goes something like this:
Boy meets girl, they fall in love, everything is perfect, they get married, they buy a house with a white picket fence, they have 2.5 children (What does a 1/2 child look like anyway?), and they live happily ever after into old age where they die peacefully in their sleep holding hands (The Notebook anyone?).
That’s a sweet story, but it’s really boring and totally untrue. We all know that, of course. In this wild world we live in, there are all kinds of love stories: short ones, long ones, devastating ones, joyful ones, sexually awakening ones, friendship loves, love stories that lead us somewhere we never wanted to go, love stories that lead us somewhere we never expected to be, and everything in between. We love our pets, our children, our parents, our siblings, and sometimes we have a hard time loving those people. The pets, though, they’re never hard to love. You know why? Because they teach us unconditional love. The best kind.
There are love stories that stretch across sexes, races, cultures, and any silly boundary our ridiculous world has invented to keep us all separate. Personally, those are my favorite love stories. Because they illustrate the one essential point that is behind the true feeling of love:
That we are all one.
And that one–you, me, all of us: we are loved.
And not only are we loved, we are love.
At our core, we embody love. That is actually who we all are. That is who you are! Underneath the mess of human emotions, the pain, the suffering, the laughter, the romantic love, the illnesses, the beautiful bodies, the sick bodies, the trauma, and the joy, there is a soul beneath all of that which is made of a kind of love that is lasting and forever. A love that never changes. It’s unconditional. It’s always. And it’s always in us. This is who we actually are.
Most of us have forgotten this, which is why romantic love becomes so important to us. So consuming. So end-all-be-all. There are times in our lives where we think we need that kind of love to survive. “If I can’t be with this person, I will just die!” We’ve all felt that rough feeling at one point or another, am I right? And if there is one day of the year we feel it, well it’s certainly Valentine’s Day.
But the true love story behind all of that is that we are love. And we are loved. Period. There are no exceptions to this. We don’t need to seek it out and die trying to find it. We can go within and trust that we embody the very love we have been spending our entire lives trying to find. We have it already, loves! We are love! This is good news, indeed.
So whether you are in the middle of the greatest love story of your life right now, or broken down on the bathroom floor because your love story has just ended, or cuddling with your cat while you spend another night alone watching Netflix, or kissing your kids goodnight and going back to an empty bed, or looking at the one you’re with and thinking you’d rather be going back to an empty bed, or loving someone you can’t be with, or mourning the death of the one you loved, or whatever your own twisted and beautiful love story may be, you need to know something: you are loved. I love you. You love you. You may not feel that, but it’s true.
That is the only true love story I have come to know. Love will show up in our lives in all different ways. And typically it won’t involve 2.5 children, a perfect spouse, or a picket fence. Typically it will involve some really intense emotions followed by loss followed by more love and more loss…and the story will continue on throughout our wild lives. But through it all, and even through the perceived loss of love, you are loved.
One of the biggest love stories I have had throughout my life is with stories themselves. I love hearing them, reading them, watching them, and I especially love writing them. I live in a constant state of dreaming up new stories, and wanting to write them all. So many books to write and so little time! One of the love projects I’ve been working on this past year is getting the rights back to all of my Paris books, and re-releasing them with new beautiful interiors and new beautiful covers. I’ve learned how to create my own cover art using an awesome design site called Canva. I’ve learned how to format all of my own books for e-book and print using an amazing software called Vellum. And I’m finally releasing the fruit of my love labor with these first four print books: All the Beautiful Bodies & my City of Love series.
To celebrate, I’ll be giving away one signed copy of each of these four print books to four lucky winners. The winners will get to choose which book they’d like out of the four. To enter the contest*, just email me at email@example.com with this in the subject line:
I am love.
It may be hard for some of you to write this, but that will be my Valentine’s Day gift to you. Reminding you of who you truly are and how amazing and wonderful that is!
If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you can also enter the contest there by commenting on my post with “I am Love” or by tagging someone you love and telling them you love them!
Four of you lovelies will win a signed print book, and all of you lovelies will be loved by me. You already are. I already love you. Happy Valentine’s Day, my loves!
*The contest will close for entries at Midnight EST on Sunday, February 23rd. Bonne chance!
Bonjour friends! So, lately I’ve been having loads of ideas for topics I’d like to write about on this blog. Not the least of which includes stories about dating in France and all of the ridiculousness that entailed (in your wildest dreams, you cannot even imagine!); how and why I moved to the Land of Love and Croissants; why I’m not there now…and much, much more.
So why have I been so damn quiet for so long? Well, here’s what’s been happening: an idea flies in, and instead of running with it, I let it fly away. Every. Single. Time. This has been happening for a few years now. I mean, I was living in France for a year and a half, dating French men and stumbling on cobblestone streets and eating chocolate croissants nearly daily, and I had an IMMENSE amount of writing material flying into my world on the regular. Yet, I stayed quiet. Again, why?
Because I have been waiting for the perfect moment to launch myself back into writing, social media, and blogging. I just wanted it all to be PERFECT before I reconnected with readers in such a vulnerable way again.
What do I mean by perfect in regard to my writing career? Well, I’ve been working my little croissant ass off behind the scenes for a while now, completing some big projects: writing and releasing my super sexy thriller, All the Beautiful Bodies (a 3-4 year project that is still not completely finished on the release end); getting the rights back to all of my Paris books and republishing them under my own imprint (this includes reformatting all of the books so they are Kindle and print-ready, designing cover art, and much, much more behind the scenes work); giving my website a new do; writing a new thriller for my agent; writing the prequel and the sequel to All the Beautiful Bodies; writing the true story of what happened once I moved to France; and continuing to write books in my Paris series which I plan to self-publish (Charlotte, Chloe, and Jillian have so much more to do!!). It’s important to note here that I am mostly a one-woman-show in all of this–as many writers are–and an insane amount of work must happen to accomplish it all. Work that I love, but work nonetheless.
So, you see, I wanted to have most of these projects completely finished and polished and perfect before I really let my voice loose again online. But tonight, I had a nice realization–it’s something I already knew, something we all know, but it’s worth the reminder:
Nothing is perfect. Nothing will ever be perfect. There will never be the perfect time, the perfect life situation, the perfect relationship, the perfect career, the perfect you, the perfect me. Sure, life would be simpler if it was all perfect, all the time. Simpler, but boring as hell.
Sometimes, from deep within the mess of life, this is where we thrive, this is where we find our voice, this is where we find our strength. This is where we laugh, where we make fools of ourselves, and realize we’re all the same, deep down. We’re all connected, which means we all share the imperfect perfection of this life. And waiting for things to be perfect, as in totally flawless, will just never happen.
The perfect moment does exist, however, and that moment is NOW. This is what Charlie is telling you in his intense glare below. Do you feel it???
So, this is me and my cat Charlie, having a perfectly imperfect night with our Christmas lights still up in late January, which I plan to leave up all year because they’re cozy and they make me feel good. Stretching my writing muscles again makes me feel good, too, even if it’s just to share how scared I am to show my imperfections to all of you imperfect, wonderful people. Below, you’ll find a sneak peek of the new cover I’ve designed and the brand-new print edition of All the Beautiful Bodies–I’ll be announcing the official print release soon, but I couldn’t wait to share this sexy cover!
And so, I’m breaking the ice with this first post. There will be more to come on pressing topics such as: needing to buy bigger jeans because of excessive chocolate croissant and butter consumption, and because of an absolutely fabulous Brazilian roommate–we’ll call him Alberto–who made me the most decadent dinners and desserts nightly in our adorable Lyon apartment (yes, this man actually does exist, and I will never, ever share his true identity for fear that women everywhere will try to find him and lock him away in their kitchens forever!); what to do when you finally have a really good boyfriend and he wants kids, but at the ripe old age of (nearly) 38, you’re not sure if that ship has sailed…maybe it has, but perhaps it hasn’t…; and how a walk down the cobblestones one night in Vieux Lyon led, not to the love of my life as I thought it would (not at that moment anyway…), but instead to a surprising spiritual journey which ultimately led to the meditation I did tonight, which then led me to write this totally imperfect post. And voilà! We’re back…
Love to you all and à bientôt!
I’m thrilled to be featured on the Why We Wander Podcast this week! Tune in to hear our chat about the fantasy vs. the reality of moving abroad, what my biggest fears were when I decided to move to France, and more on creativity and expat life! Thanks so much to Shannon and Tamara, the wonderful hosts of Why We Wander, for having me! You can listen to the podcast on SoundCloud, and you can also find our talk on Spotify, iTunes, and Stitcher. I would love to hear your stories and dreams on moving abroad!
Juliette Sobanet is the award-winning author of six Paris-based romance and mystery novels, five short stories, a poetry collection, a bestselling memoir, and the screenplay adaptation of her first novel, Sleeping with Paris. She is represented by Kevan Lyon of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. Stop back often for news on Juliette’s latest releases and appearances and to read her latest blog post!