Writer’s Yoga

Writing is like stretching. It is a good thing to do and something we are naturally inclined to do. But we tend to forget to stretch. This forgetting has consequences. If you want to write (like your body wants to stretch), then write. Resistance, doubts, fears, forgetfulness can stop us from writing. It is not a lack of talent that stops us––if you want to write this is reason enough.  But, Who are you to write this book? What right do you have to share your story? Who cares? You are a human being. You have a desire to stretch … Continue reading

Write the Truth

In the old television show Dragnet, Sergeant Joe Friday’s catchphrase was, “Just the facts, ma’am.” But what he got was some version of the truth. Don’t even try to write “just” facts. Facts by themselves are boring. The sky was blue. That is a fact. She shot him in the head. That is a fact. Boring to read. No story. No truth. Write the truth. And in writing the truth you write a story. In every form of writing it gets down to telling a good story. Good stories are full of relative and universal truths. The sky wasn’t blue … Continue reading

What To Neglect In Order To Be A Writer

You can’t do it all. (Really, you can’t) And in order to write you must be willing to neglect something every day.  We are encouraged to make “to do” lists every morning, which we often ignore or forget. Writing tends to get placed at the bottom of the list anyway, if it got on the list at all. You know you want to write, or at least, you want to have written. I recommend that we writers create a quick list of what to neglect. Neglect these “chores” and responsibilities until you have gotten in your daily writing time. Here … Continue reading

The Spiritual Writer: Spirit into Word and Action

Spirituality I take to be concerned with those qualities of the human spirit—such as love and compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness,contentment, a sense of responsibility, a sense of harmony—which brings happiness to both self and others. While ritual and prayer, along with the questions of nirvana and salvation, are directly connected to religious faith, these inner qualities need not be, however. There is no reason why the individual should not develop them, even to a highest degree, without recourse to any religious or metaphysical belief system. This is why I sometimes say that religion is something we can perhaps do without. What we cannot do without are these basic spiritual … Continue reading

Habit-Forming Words (How Conscious Writing Transforms the Page)

In our writing and in our relationships, habits can interfere with a genuine expression of our ideas and our emotions. Habitual ways often handicap our ability to understand others and to be understood ourselves. On the page, as writers, we rely on habitual words. In our daily life, as people, we rely on habitual behaviors. Unless we are willing to identify these habitual patterns, we will remain a bit duller and flatter in both arenas. Recently I resumed work on my novel. When I had stopped working on it some weeks ago, I inserted the word “here” at my stopping … Continue reading

The Arrogance of Certainty (Or, How to Wake Up the Soul)

A classmate of my daughter passed out pamphlets on his religious belief at the school’s entrance. (It’s a public school). He is fifteen years old. Every chance he gets, he talks about Jesus. At first I wasn’t sure what bothered me (the most), pushing his religion on others or his arrogance. (It doesn’t help that he is exceptional at everything and likely to be voted as best of something.) Of course, arrogance and forcing our ideas on others go hand in hand. Recently an angry atheist called me a stupid, boring c***  during  my first (and last) twitter debate about … Continue reading

Ten Ways To Show Up Consistently and Write

YES “It could happen any time, tornado, earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen. Or sunshine, love, salvation. It could, you know. That’s why we wake and look out–no guarantees in this life. But some bonuses, like morning, like right now, like noon, like evening. –William Stafford, YES, from “Learning to Live in the World”   Anything can happen. If we show up, something will happen. My novel, now in its lengthy stage of rewrites, won’t write itself. (I know, duh). But this relationship with my novel reminds me just how important it is to show up. And, how hard it is … Continue reading

No Lesson Here (The Problem with Problem Solving)

It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau In the spiritual arena people often search for the reason a given tragedy happened. “What is (the Cosmic Force) pointing to here?” they might ask, or “What is the lesson this event is asking me to learn?” In the business and corporate arena, too often such a search is for someone else (or somewhere else) to blame. No one wants to say, “The buck stops here,” and in so doing, take responsibility for their role in the fiasco. … Continue reading

Here It Is

Welcome to the launch of ALL WRITE WEDNESDAY: “WORLD INTO WORD” BLOG Writing is a big part of my life. I began writing in a journal at the age of sixteen and my first book, Hidden Victims/Hidden Healers, was published in 1989 (and self-published subsequent to 1995). I went on to write three award-winning books for teens, including my first spiritual book for young adults, The Thundering Years, which contained a message from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. That book also launched the genesis of a new imprint, Bindu Books, at Inner Traditions International, the publishing company that publishes many of … Continue reading

False Memory Syndrome is False (And How To Grow A Tale)

I’m not concerned about false memory syndrome, because the memory contains a meaningful story, and to me as a therapist, it’s the story that matters. I work with the stories people carry within them because it’s these stories that direct behaviors and choices. Even if you try to leave the past behind, it presents itself in how you live today. As Neil Gaiman says in The Ocean at the End of the Lane, “Memories were waiting at the edges of things, beckoning to me.” We are who we are as a result of the stories we believe about ourselves. Charles Baxter puts … Continue reading