free the pen, a blog for writers

May 25, 2018

The First Time

Filed under: memoir — freethepen @ 2:35 pm
Tags: ,

Young mother and daughter with lettuce Write about the first time you remember doing something with your mother. Perhaps she showed you how to grow lettuce, or bake a cake, or shop for sales. Write it all, what you liked, didn’t like, wanted more of, had enough of.

Keep the pen moving,


June 7, 2013

Just One Word!

Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 2:29 pm

The other day I met with a friend for lunch. She remarked that she was frustrated because she couldn’t find time to write. A story was burning inside her and she couldn’t get it out of her mind. She went on and on and on about not having time to write and it was clear that she was about to give birth but just needed someone to tell her to push.

I ripped out a page in my little notebook, handed her a pen, and told her to write one word about her story that needed to get on the page. She looked up at the ceiling and within a few seconds wrote something. I told her each time she thought about her story to take out the paper and write just one more word-just one but to keep her pen moving on her idea.

Last I heard she was busy writing her story. Write – just one word at a time – but write.

Keep the pen moving,




December 4, 2012

Write Out Your Holiday Stress

Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 10:01 pm
Tags: ,

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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