Amie Mcnee on Journal Coaching: from the very beginning I wanted to be a storyteller

It is a great pleasure to have Amie McNee for our ‘Behind the Book’ segment. For the unknown, Amie is an Author, Creativity Coach, Speaker and Book DoulaHer first fiction book ‘The Rules Upheld by No One‘ is soon to be out.

Journaling is a form of expression, but how did you consider converting it into a full-time profession?

Amie- I look back at my childhood, and I see that I’ve always been drawn to storytelling. I look back at what I found divine as a kid and what I was naturally magnetised towards. It was always telling stories. It’s been in me from the very beginning that I wanted to be a storyteller. I was stubborn. I decided this is what I want to do with my life, and I just gave it all I got. 

What is a regular day in Amie’s life?

Amie- I’ve recently formalised the structure of my days. Now that I’ve been full-time writing for nearly three years now, it’s been essential to get a structure into my days; otherwise, there’s no boss, there’s no one looking over my shoulder, so I can get all over the place. I wake up around 7:20am. My husband James, who is also an author, walks down to our cafe, and we have about an hour and a half of creative time. He writes his novel, and I do half of the journaling; I always start the day with a journal, and then I write my book. I like to prioritise that as the first thing. After that, we go to the gym; it’s a chance to remind myself that I have a body as well, and I need to treat it right. When I come home from the gym-we take our breakfast. If we’re feeling up to it, we do a second creative session. I’m not sure if it’s a bit too much, but we’re trailing that. After that, we get into the business side of things, and I start working on business, content, marketing, and everything I do until about 4pm. If I leave it to myself, I get terrible decision fatigue. I’m finding that if I take away those decisions and plan them well, I have more energy left. 

What keeps you pumped up on some not-so-great days?

Amie- Some days are just so hard, and I must let myself cry and allow my emotions to be what they are. I literally permit myself to be pretty upset. 

You and your husband James make for a fantastic team. Do you guys go through creative differences? If yes, how do you resolve them?

Amie- Of course. Whoever you work with- whether a colleague or partner, there’s always going to be issues. Every Monday, we have a meeting, so we squeeze in a meeting this morning to ensure that we are all on the same page about what needs to get done and what needs to get created. This week we’ve decided to be very clear about what needs to get done. We put in some due dates so that we’re all on the same page. It’s constantly evolving and requires so much communication. 

How did The Unpublished Podcast happen? When did you develop the idea?

Amie- I love talking. I love it nearly as much as I love writing. I really enjoy it. A long time ago, I started the business on my own. But then, when James dived with his creative work, he had so much to say, and we were having such great conversations. We discussed the possibility of James joining me in this venture, so James joined me on the podcast, and it’s just great to have someone bounce ideas off. We decided to join forces, and we’ve been doing the podcast together for about a year, even longer. It’s so much fun.

Are there any unfulfilled dreams?

Amie- Oh, hundreds of them. I don’t think I will never not have any. I’m a dreamer. I’m constantly dreaming up things that I want to bring into life. I like to daydream, to imagine what it is I can get up to. I’m excited to be releasing my first physical book soon and writing more books. I want to travel around the world and get to see other creators in different countries. 

You lost a job and then started journaling around it. Looking back, do you consider it a blessing?

Amie- Of course. When I was trying to write full-time, I had so many jobs to try and pay the rent. My last job was as a waitress. I was really bad, and I hated it. I didn’t care about it, and that was my problem. I lost that job soon after; my boss just pulled on my shifts and told me, ‘we’ve got someone else; we don’t need you’. I remember that day. It was the strangest emotional experience. I remember walking home; I was living with my in-laws because I couldn’t pay the rent and ended up having to move in with them. My brother-in-law was standing in the kitchen, and I remember crying, but it wasn’t like an upset cry but more a release. It was something I’ve never had an experience of. It was the realisation that I was moving into that next step, and this was the time to be handed an opportunity to take what I am doing seriously and level up. It was a real pivoting point for me. Even though it was stressful because I lost my income, it was also like having another chance at life to do what I always enjoyed doing.

It can be so hard to see at that moment, and you’ve just got to be gentle with yourself and validate whatever it is you’re going through. It is painful but have that deep trust that this is intentional, and it would be going in the right direction. 

The current pandemic situation can be so stressful. How do you cope with the anxiety of not seeing your family or loved ones? 

Amie- My anxiety got worse. In all honesty, it’s been so hard for anyone living away from their loved ones. A lot of my coping is just validating that it’s very reasonable to be very upset about it. It is so valid that you’re scared for your parents, and it’s so valid that you’re grieving for your old home. I do a lot of journaling with myself. I try to take care of myself. I tell myself that my parents are safe, they’re inside their house, they have everything they need. I try to tell my anxious brain that they’re doing safe even though they’re far away.

Do you often go back into your pages and read what you’ve been writing all these years?

Amie- I think that for most people, you shouldn’t. I recommend anyone who starts journaling, never re-read, to give yourself a long time because we need space to write without fearing future judgment. We don’t want to be in fear about our future selves when we write. As I’ve gotten older, I feel I’m in a better place, and occasionally, I will look back. I’ll go like three years back, so I give myself space in the past, and I’m not judging myself from three weeks ago. I might look back at three years and witness how far I’ve come if I’m feeling particularly reflective. There is a sacred practice; we just need space to be whoever we are in that moment.

How is your fiction book coming along, and when will it be out?

My book is called ‘The Rules Upheld by No One‘, and it is historical fiction. I wrote it a while ago, and I’ve just decided to release it myself. It’s going to be available at the end of this month. I’m also writing another murder mystery historical fiction. So that’ll be fun to read.