Opening Up the Boxes

The second part of my month long series about unpacking creativity is now up on The Gift of Writing.

After a long break away, the first step in returning is making a new commitment to writing. I’ve mentioned here before that I stepped away from my novel for five years (!). An extreme situation, for sure.

But every day that passed made it that much harder for me to return until – ironically, it became easier not to write. To believe my dream of being a writer was a mistake.

But that was a lie I told myself, based out of fear.

Click on over to read more about how I got back on track and how you can, too. I’d love to hear what you think, so please comment on the post if it resonates.

The gorgeous lake we've been swimming in while away this week in upstate NY.

The gorgeous lake we’ve been swimming in while away this week in upstate NY.

Steering Clear: Guest Post on The Gift of Writing

This month over at The Gift of Writing I’m advising writers how to avoid pot holes – and I’m not talking about the ones on the road.

You know the kind I mean. You hit a pot hole every time you think you have nothing original to say, when you feel blocked, too busy to write, or bogged down in research. The thing about pot holes is once you know what they are, you can avoid them.

In my article I discuss the four most dangerous ones, including my biggest pot hole as of late, Distraction (I’m talking to you Facebook), and how best to steer clear.

Click on over and let me know what you think!

Fighting and Writing

Today I’m really excited to share my guest post on The Gift of Writing with you.

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As some of you may know, BK (before kids) I was a self-defense instructor in Manhattan for six years at a company called Prepare Inc.

I loved my job. I loved watching my students, women and children, learn how to save their own lives, physically and psychologically. Those years were formative for me. I learned so much about strength, power, and resilience – my students’ and my own.

Find out how writing is like self-defense here, “Fighting, and Writing, for Your Life.” I am so curious to hear what you think!

And for those of you who might want to take an actual self-defense class, the studio where I taught is still going strong. Check out their website if you’re in the tri-state area (of the US), or the national one, to see if there is a class near you. There’s one in the UK and Israel, too. I’m also always up to chat about it, if you want to know more.

Finally, this post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include some actual footage of me kicking butt. (Skip to minute 2:35 to check out 10 seconds of my five minutes of fame. I’m still waiting for the rest.)

The clip is from the deleted scenes of the Jodie Foster movie (that you probably don’t remember or even heard of) called, The Brave One. I had the chance to film this during my last year of teaching. Fun and surreal. Directors actually yell, “Action!” and you really do sit around for hours

Hope to see you at The Gift of Writing!

P.S. As I’ve recently learned, Canadians spell self-defense with a “c,” so that is how it’s spelled on the site.

Starting Again

I’m honored to be over at Literary Mama today as a guest blogger for their “After Page One” column.

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“After Page One” is a section devoted to short but sweet essays intended to motivate, inspire, and encourage fellow writing mamas. I wrote about how I managed to scratch my way out of the deep writing hole I found myself in after having my first child.

Below is a brief excerpt:

“Starting Again”

In the months leading up to my daughter’s birth, I wrote my first novel. That makes it sound so easy, doesn’t it? But it was as much of a labor as the one I was about to have. My belly bulged as I walked down the sidewalk clutching my freshly printed manuscript to my chest. I had three weeks until my due date. Plenty of time to read it. Or so I thought. Two nights later I went into labor and by morning I was a new mother.

Click here to read the rest… Thank you!

 

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.

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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!

What Keeps Your Door Closed?

Today I’m over at The Gift of Writing with a guest post about the challenges of excavating our past, of choosing to sift through painful memories and then writing them down for all to see.

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I’ve been a fan of Claire De Boer and her site ever since I first came across a guest post she wrote about the importance of writing your personal story. At the time, I was primarily writing fiction, but it reminded me that the more intimately we know ourselves, the more authentically we can write about others.

I’m honored to be one of Claire’s regular contributors and I hope you will visit The Gift of Writing to read my post, “What Keeps Your Door Closed?”