free the pen, a blog for writers

December 29, 2012

Promises to Write

Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 4:29 pm

The new year will be here soon and you are already trying to figure out how you are going to get yourself writing. You promise yourself every year that this time you will follow through and get those haunting stories onto paper. You promise yourself you will get up an hour early and devote time just like John Grisham did — and look at his success! It all seems so set in stone until that cold morning when you just don’t want to get out of bed. You promise if you think the story intensely enough it will show up on paper some time during the day — but it never does. You forget about feeling lousy about not following through, but that’s okay, you will do better tomorrow but tomorrow has demands of its own.

I wish I had a magic bullet to make you follow through on your self-promises. All I can say is get yourself out of bed no matter what the weather. You can put a pen and paper in the bathroom to write during quiet moments, you can set it by your coffee cup so when you sip you can write. You can leave it on your pillow with another promise that you will write before falling asleep.

Kill the mind games. Don’t let your mind work through excuses. There are no excuses. None. Pick a word: roads. Write for ten minutes – go! (p. 59 of The Mindful Writer, Still the Mind, Free the Pen

Topic: Holding hands (p. 121 The Mindful Writer)

Finish this sentence: I know that I can’t tolerate . . . (p. 117 The Mindful Writer)

Just open The Mindful Writer, Still the Mind, Free the Pen, take the first word, sentence, topic, or page number your eyes land on and write. Still the Mind, Free the Pen is the subtitle. You can do it. I have faith that you can do this.

Until next time,


December 4, 2012

Write Out Your Holiday Stress

Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 10:01 pm
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Many of us will go home for Christmas traveling many miles, making promises to get along with everyone, hoping that our presents will be received with appreciation. But holidays are not really TV commercials. For too many people holidays with family can be stressful and dreaded but, nevertheless, we courageously set out to see if maybe this year we can change how the holiday season plays out. I’m all for positive thinking but a systemic dysfunction is still a systemic dysfunction. Do what you can then when the need arises do something different.

Here are some tips:

1. write out the holiday you don’t want to relive

2. write in detail the holiday you would like to have

3. write a list of promises to yourself, not what you want others to do and say differently for you sake, but what you can do and say to take better care of yourself if matters get stressful.

It is okay to leave the house, take a walk, do something creative like build a snowman if there is snow or walk around the neighborhood to see other people’s decorations. Go take a break and visit a neighbor or take yourself out to lunch. Do not try harder to make things right; when holidays have never really been right.

Be patient and kind with yourself. If you relapse into crazy reactions – well – perhaps it is because you are putting pressure on yourself to be sane in an insane situation. The only way to keep your sanity is to get out or view it as someone else’s family.

Until next time,

Happy Holiday,



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