free the pen, a blog for writers

November 25, 2014

There is a Way!

Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 8:23 pm

bigstock-Winter-Forest-56265137Holiday stress – we have experienced it and unfortunately tell ourselves it is a part of  the holiday reality. What if I told you holiday stress can be minimized or even eliminated? What if I told you that the tools you need to create a new way to a happier holiday are sitting on your desk or table? It is true. Don’t you have a pen and paper on your desk or table – that is all it takes.

Write out what usually causes you stress during the holidays.

Write out how you want to feel instead of feeling stressed.

What would you have to do differently to make the holidays feel better?

What is just one thing you have to do in order to create a better situation?

Take a deep breath, muster up some courage, and make a different decision.

We get caught up in the fear of change. What will others think of us if we change a tradition? But think: your change just might be something for which others will be grateful.

Happy holidays everyone,

keep the pen moving,


Jan, CEO and Founder of About the Author Network

November 18, 2014

Whether You Are the One Who Harmed Or the One Harmed – Write!

Filed under: writing and healing — freethepen @ 2:28 pm

65thThose who write every day know the power of writing. Those who write deeply about their pain and use the pen to sort out their internal distress know the power of writing to heal. When we shut up the voice others hear and we listen to the inner voice that only we hear we get to the raw part of who we are and in that process we find out what has truly happened to us, or what we have done, and hear what we honestly need to get on the road to recovery.

When I teach expressive writing through the provocation of journal writing and therapeutic writing I find that whether you are the one who has been abused or you are the one who abused someone else, the healing effects of the writing process works the same way. Anyone who has abused has been abused – that fact isn’t new. Prisons are packed with men and women who have suffered traumas of their own.

Trauma brings numbed feelings and so the acting out and reacting behaviors will continue until something in the individual is awakened, acknowledged, and healed. Veteran centers all over the country are learning about the power of writing and healing by watching veterans with PTSD heal through writing their stories, both what happened to them and what they did to others.

Writing your story heals and there is no doubt that when you set yourself on a course to heal through writing it is powerful. I always recommend that when anyone embarks on such an intense internal process, because numb feelings will be reawakened, that they put themselves in therapy with a therapist who knows how to walk them through this process. PTSD results from many different kinds of traumas and abuse. Write all you want, write every day but do get help for going deeper. Talk therapy and writing is a wonderful combination.

For more information contact

Keep the pen moving,

Jan, LCSW, Author of 11 books, CEO and Founder of About the Author Network

November 17, 2014


Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 7:36 pm
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anduze2004When you sit to journal write, there are basically two ways to do it:

1. Write what you are already thinking. If you are mentally working out a problem, a plan to make, a decision to organize, your mind already has a path where it wants to go. Write it out in detail.

2. You aren’t thinking of anything but you want to write for practice. As soon as your pen touches the paper begin to write and don’t stop until you feel completed with the energy. In other words, you put your pen to the paper and begin:

I’m not sure what I want to say today except  that it is a warm morning and the birds have been singing while I continued dreaming. Oh, that reminds me I have to get bird food and yesterday I had the weirdest dream.

Number 2 is the free-write style. You don’t stop writing to deliberately think where you want the writing to go. In Number 1 you direct your pen but in Number 2 your mind directs your pen and you let loose your thoughts and follow them without censor. You don’t tell yourself you can’t write something or you have to write something, you just write.

Do this everyday and watch your mind, watch how you direct your mind, watch how you control your mind from having its imagination, its creative source, and its power, and practice letting it go.

Keep the pen moving!

Jan, CEO and Founder of About the Author Network

November 12, 2014

The Pen Speaks

Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 9:16 pm

Are you watching your pen freeze in your hand? Can’t think of a thing to write? How can that be? Are you struggling to come up with a brilliant idea? Geez — do you think that could be the problem? Are you trying to control the pen or the mind? They are not the same. So start with what you mind is saying, not what you want it to say. The mind is speaking to you. I know because you are thinking as the mind is always talking to us about something. We get so used to our inner voice that we often don’t realize we hear it. Take a breath and listen.Write out what the mind is saying then go from there. If you want to write don’t stop the pen by thinking too hard. Just breathe, listen, and write. Perhaps your next thought is: I always liked my father’s brown wing-tip shoes but you think that that statement is too dumb to write. Write it anyway. You might just wind up writing the best piece about your father. Writing lets the inner voice speak, the voice that only we hear, the voice that disregards the ego so let the pen be its trailblazer. Don’t censor, don’t edit, and don’t stop writing. Let the mind wander if it wants. Let the mind take you where it wants to go — you never know where you will wind up. Keep the pen moving, Jan – CEO and Founder of About the Author Network

November 8, 2014

Journal Writing

Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 10:18 pm

anduze2004 I am a huge proponent of daily journal writing, even if it is for only 2 minutes. With repetition you will watch your mind struggle to go deeper into a part of your life that needs healing. Journal writing is an excellent way to study your own mind. When you write pay attention to the times when your feelings get heavy, your mind wants to change the subject, or you find yourself distracted with a thought that you have to take out the garbage, now!

It is at these times that it is important to write what you want to avoid or the pain that wants to be avoided. If you have written for two minutes and find that you are didn’t seem to get to the point write out what you would have said had you not feared dropping deeper. Sometimes it is not even our minds we are afraid of but rather criticism that we imagine might come from someone else.

There is no better way to watch your mind, grow from your own psychology, and to find ways to move on than to pick up your pen and write yourself there.

Keep the pen moving!


CEO and Founder of About the Author Network

Author of 11 books  The Mindful Writer, Still the Mind, Free the Pen

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