free the pen, a blog for writers

August 23, 2018


Filed under: writing techniques — freethepen @ 1:33 pm

Thinking Cute Kid Girl Looking. Instagram Effect Portrait What is your vision for your future? It might be a vision for tomorrow, next year or 30 years from now? Write it out in full detail. Study it. Make a collage of it and stare at it daily. But first, write it clearly.

Keep the pen moving,


June 30, 2018

The Act of Writing

Filed under: writing techniques — freethepen @ 1:43 pm

Janhawaii2015 Wherever I go I take my journal and when I can find a second I sit and write. The act of writing is a way to meditate on your experience in the moment. It is a way to resolve the past. It is a way to dream of the future. Best of all it is a way to get to know the self that lives within you. All this and more can be accomplished through the use of your pen, not the computer, but the pen. The process is not the same. The pen vs. the computer use different parts of the brain.

When you write, write without stopping, no censorship, nor editing. Let the self speak. Let the mind have its space to move around on the page. Write and watch the mind unfold.

Take a deep breath. Pick up your pen and start with where you are in this moment, this very moment. Breathe in and out and in and out and let thoughts show up on the page. This might take some practice but if you are not writing, you are in the way. Get out of the way and let whatever thoughts you have right now show up on the page. Now, keep going.

Keep the pen moving,


June 27, 2018

Wild Writing

Filed under: writing techniques — freethepen @ 12:59 pm

babywithbook Take your favorite book whether poetry, fiction, non-fiction or any other genre and find a sentence that makes you think, feel, or experience. Write that sentence on a clean page. If it reminds you of something you lived continue the sentence into a piece of your own. If the sentence makes your imagination run wild, write out scenes you are imagining.

Keep the pen moving,


June 20, 2018

Yarn, Lace, Tomatoes

Filed under: writing techniques — freethepen @ 1:09 pm

Vegetable garden - little gardener with harvests of organic toma Yarn, lace, tomatoes – put them in one written piece, fact or fiction of at least 300 words. Be creative. Maybe your piece will become a lovely poem, or a piece of prose, or the start to a sci fi novel.

Keep the pen moving,



May 17, 2018


Filed under: writing techniques — freethepen @ 1:42 pm

Kids with chef hats preparing the cake dough - mixing ingredient Continuing a theme I put on my other blog, yesterday, write out a list of activities you would love to do with your friends. Maybe Friday night you can have friends over to join together to make pasta, or perhaps everyone can bring a CD of their favorite music to listen to or some such activity that involves sharing and getting to know each other better.

Look at the month of June and designate a few times to bring people together. Write out your plan for what you would like to do and who you would like to invite. Writing out plans make them manifest. Just thinking about them is not enough.

The power of writing can be used in all situations.

Keep the pen moving,



May 2, 2017


Filed under: writing techniques — freethepen @ 1:23 pm

Janhawaii2015 Okay, let”s put this myth to rest. There is no such thing as writer’s block. When you sit staring at the page, tune in. Are you pushing your mind — well — stop it — our minds don’t like to be pushed. Instead, stretch, drink some water or tea, walk in meditation, or write about how the blank page makes you feel. Pushing words to form is ineffective. Everything stops for a reason. It is not a block, it is a moving in a different direction. I speak more about this in my book, The Mindful Writer, Still the Mind, Free the Pen. Next time you think you have writer’s block, write about the feeling of the ‘block’. You’ll see. You will be writing in no time.

Keep the pen moving,

Jan and

April 30, 2017

Point of View

Filed under: writing techniques — freethepen @ 1:57 pm

jan pen ink for web Try this! Take an experience in your life, one that has some emotional juice. Write it out in all its glory. Then rewrite it in the third person. Then rewrite it again back into the first person. Now look at the two first person pieces. Notice how you wrote the second first person piece in more detail or started at a different point or even wrote with more emotion. This is a great technique for letting go of the experience , to gain some distance from it allowing you to drop down deeper into it by rewriting the first person.

Keep the pen moving,

Jan and

April 8, 2017

He Said – She Said.

Filed under: writing techniques — freethepen @ 1:58 pm

Boys Fishing Ever overhear a conversation. “And then she said,” one person would say. “And then I said,” he would explain. Write out a dialogue that you witnessed. If you can’t find one, write one in which you were part. Put in details such as tone of voice, dialect, pitch, volume, smell of breath, form of mouth, teeth description, lip size, or other details. Get out your Thesaurus and find alternative descriptive words. Writing takes one thing and one thing only: practice.

Keep the pen moving,


March 23, 2017

Flash Fiction

Filed under: writing techniques — freethepen @ 2:41 pm

Long Stem Red RoseA single rose.   callalilly A tall and regal calla lily.   KODAK Digital Still Camera  A cypress tree.

Write a flash fiction piece, between 250 and 750 words, about what it means for a character named Alice to plant these in her small backyard just as she was embarking on a healing journey from a broken heart.

Keep the pen moving,


March 16, 2017


Filed under: writing techniques — freethepen @ 2:33 pm

idea Ever wake at 3 in the morning with an idea and think you’re going to remember it when you wake up? What happens? About dinner time you remember you had some idea that you can’t remember and wish you had written it down. So, keep a pad and pencil by your bed. You can write in the dark — in the morning you will have some notes to help you recall what woke you up. I’ve written many pieces that woke me in the middle of the night. Those are the ideas with power. No need to turn on the light and don’t take time to turn on devices. Just write and . . .

keep the pen moving,


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