Keep Your Creative Flame Alive

This month on The Gift of Writing I’m exploring the challenges – and offering solutions – for keeping your creative flame lit, even when life, inevitably, gets in the way.

gift of writing

I was inspired by a quote from the classic book, Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. This book cracked open my creative life when I discovered it last year, and I return to it often, thumbing through the many dog-eared and highlighted pages.

Here is an extended version of the passage I quoted in my essay:

“Most of us would do better if we became more adept at watching the fire under our work… Too often we turn away from the pot, from the oven. We forget to watch, forget to add fuel, forget to stir. We mistakenly think the fire and the cooking are like one of those feisty houseplants that can go without water for eight months before the poor thing keels over.

It is not so. The fire bears, requires, watching, for it is easy to let the flame go out…

Without the fire, our great ideas, our original thoughts, our yearnings and longings remain uncooked, and everyone is unfulfilled.”

I have this quote prominently displayed on my writing bulletin board as a reminder, a warning, because I’ve let my flame go out before, more than once.

Read about my loss of fire on The Gift of Writing and how, over the years, I’ve come up with several practical ways to keep the creative coals hot no matter what else is going on in your life.

Hope to see you there!

13 thoughts on “Keep Your Creative Flame Alive

    • It’s such a great book, the kind you pick up and read a few pages or passages at a time. I tried to read it in college, but I don’t think I was ready. Skim or skip, basically read it however feels right. Let me know what you think!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks for this. My fire has gone out numerous times. It’s only recently that I realized how vital to my survival it is that I keep the fire going…I’ve never read that book- definitely going to check it out this week. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s only recently that I realized how important it is for me, too, keeping that fire alive. And once you do, it changes the game, you know?

      If you get the book, know that it can be dense at times and best read in bits and pieces. I tried reading it in college and totally failed. I don’t think I was ready for it… But when I picked it up this time, I knew I needed to get through the prologue/intro, and I gave myself permission to skim as needed, or skip around, and by the time I hit the second chapter, I was IN IT. Trust your intuition with it, and let me know what you think!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Renee, I know how easy it is for that to happen when you have young children. All these snow days have really put a cramp in my writing routine, and I’d best take some of my own advice 🙂


  2. Dana: I left a comment on your piece, but want to say thank you again for your honesty and practical advice on navigating the space between writing and not-writing.


    • Thanks so much Rudri, your lovely words mean a lot to me. I’m going to take some of my own practical advice since all these snow days are putting a crimp in my writing routine.


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