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The Spiritual Power of Routine

Recent retirees tend to speak of having mixed feelings about routine. On one hand, they enjoy being free from the externally-imposed schedule of their work lives— they may choose to sleep later, to travel during the week, to eat meals when they fancy them instead of hewing to a strict timetable of meetings and business […]


Enthusiasm over Discipline

“It must take so much discipline to be an artist,” we are often told by well-meaning people who are not artists but wish they were. What a temptation. What a seduction. They’re inviting us to preen before an admiring audience, to act out the image that is so heroic and Spartan– and false. As artists, […]


It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again

Twenty-five years ago I wrote a book on creativity called The Artist’s Way. It spelled out, in a step-by-step fashion, just what a person could do to recover— and exercise— their creativity. I often called that book “The Bridge” because it allowed people to move from the shore of their constrictions and fears to the […]


Finish Something

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As artists, we often complain about our inability to begin. If only I had the nerve to start X– a novel, a short story, the rewrite on our play, the photo series we’re “thinking” of. I would like to suggest that you start somewhere else– start with finishing something. There must be some obscure law […]


Accepting Ourselves… and our true delights

Sometimes as artists, we practice a self-loathing aesthetic that is like what adolescents do in terms of their physicality. This is a self-loathing that sets in and says whatever we are, it is not as good or as beautiful as whatever it is the other one has. If we are small, dark and exotic, we […]


Drama

Drama in our lives often keeps us from putting drama on the page. Some drama happens and we lose our sense of scale in our emotional landscape. When this happens, we need to reconnect to our emotional through line. We need a sense of our “before, during and after” life. This tool is a personal […]


The Silver Lining

“Gain disguised as loss” is a potent artist’s tool. To acquire it, simply, brutally, ask: “How can this loss serve me? Where does it point my work?” The answers will surprise and liberate you. The trick is to metabolize pain as energy. The key to doing that is to know, to trust, and to act […]


Outrunning your Censor

All of us have an inner Censor, that nasty voice that tries to discount what we are doing. A lot of times people think they can outsmart their censor, but that’s not my experience. My experience is that as you get smarter, your censor gets smarter. But what you can do is outrun your censor. […]


Do you worry about “the odds”?

I wil be blunt: I think “the odds” are a drink of emotional poison. No one invokes “the odds” who isn’t trying to keep you from committing creativity. For one thing, your odds of succeeding immediately increase if you try succeeding. Your odds of publishing a novel, for example, are a lot higher if you write […]


Prosperity is Free

Setting aside your skepticism for a moment, make a list of ten actions you could take, right now, that you suspect might make you feel more prosperous– and that cost nothing. Example: 1. Taking a walk in nature 2. Going for a run and taking a long, hot shower afterward 3. Cooking soup using leftovers I […]