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Returning to the Wonder of Childhood

The part of us that creates is childlike. It is filled with awe, alert to new experiences, and mesmerized by the sensory wonders of our environment: the otherworldly blanket of fresh white snow, the enticing smell of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven, the crispness of a new pencil, the mesmerizing allure of a […]


The Wall

Writing begins with enthusiasm. We launch into a long project with optimism. We have an idea, we trust our idea, we set about putting it to the page. All goes swimmingly for a time— until we hit The Wall. The Wall occurs, in most writing, about two-thirds of the way into our work. Put simply, […]


Keep the Drama on the Page

Drama belongs on the page. We have a mythology which tells us writers’ lives are dramatic, but this mythology does not serve us. Writers’ lives are best non-dramatic. It serves us to keep drama at bay. Today I woke up tired and crabby. I didn’t fall asleep until 2:30 AM, and this morning I was […]


The Memoir Tool

from It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again THE MEMOIR One especially heartbreaking sentence I have heard over and over from my newly retired students is, “Oh, my life wasn’t that interesting.” The truth is that every life is fascinating. And when we are willing to look at, and thus honor the life we have […]


Morning Pages

The bedrock tool of a creative recovery is something I call Morning Pages: three pages of longhand, morning writing about absolutely anything. They are to be written first thing in the morning, and shown to no one. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages. I like to think of them as windshield wipers, […]


Clearing a Path: the magic of decluttering

With more time on our hands, we may find ourselves at home much more than we have ever been. Spending time in our homes, we notice the things we want to improve: the unfinished doorframe, the “junk drawer” in the kitchen that always seems to be jammed shut, the worn doormat that we’ve been meaning […]


Lowering the Stakes

All too often, when we think of writing a project, we think of writing the whole project, and we find ourselves daunted. “I’d like to write a novel,” we think, “but it’s so much work, and what if it doesn’t sell?” Thinking this way, we talk ourselves out of our creativity. We have set the […]


Using Our Time

It is all too easy to put undue pressure on ourselves and criticize how we use our time. We rush from this to that. We call ourselves “lazy” when we “waste time doing nothing.” We don’t have “enough” time or we have too much. We regret past uses of time— time spent worrying about things […]


Pain as Energy

The truth is that turning our pain into energy for good can be one of the great assets of age. We can draw on stores of experience— and heal our wounds— as we work to create the life we want. Task: Pain as Energy Pain does use our energy, but we can consciously channel it […]


Honoring Our Stories

Many people retire only to feel overwhelmed by their own space, a space they may have been blind to while they were distracted by the busy-ness of their work life. Sam, a Broadway actor, began working with the Memoir tool when he turned seventy. “I was still auditioning,” he says, “and still getting myself out […]