“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Reach the skiesWhen I was about to leave my secure position working as a hospital employee to launch a business of my own, a friend gave me this quote scribbled on a scrap of paper. I posted it on the bulletin board of my new office and read it almost every morning. Ten years later, I sold that business and transferred that yellowed scrap of paper to my bulletin board in my home office. I dreamed that I could write a novel, and I wrote five during the next decade. Killing Trail will be the first one published.

What is your dream? What’s your inspiration?

The Artist Date

Last week I wrote about morning pages; this week I’d like to address the artist date. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron describes the artist date as a weekly block of time dedicated to nurturing your creative consciousness, also known as your inner artist. During this time, you’re to spend quality time alone doing something you enjoy. It might be seeing a movie, visiting a museum or gallery, or—in my case—taking a long walk with nature. These two pieces, morning pages and the artist date, provide the basic tools for creative recovery or for maintaining creative flow.

Bridge ViewThe artist date fills our creative well. Choose the kind of activity that speaks to you and fills you with the sensory images you need. Hiking works well for me since I write mysteries set in the Colorado mountains; it also raises my spirits and gives me some much needed exercise after spending long days at the keyboard.

While writing this blog, I realized that I’ve been neglecting my inner artist lately. Better take that girl on a date.

Please join me here for musings about life, writing, and the writing life.

Morning Pages

SunriseIn The Artist’s Way, author Julia Cameron suggests that people write morning pages to unblock creative flow. Morning pages are three pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing. They are unplanned and uncensored meanderings designed to drain your brain of unnecessary chatter, and they are advised for all creative types, not just writers. You’re not supposed to focus on the writing or try to create a masterpiece. Instead, you may let your thoughts spill out on the page in fragments or one long run-on sentence. Punctuation, mechanics, and spelling don’t matter. Morning pages might result in negative, whiny, self-pitying tirades that bring to mind the verse: Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray the Lord my soul to keep; if I should die before I wake, throw my journal in the lake. But that’s good. Don’t let the negative censor inside you influence what you write. Go beyond your conscious thought. Eventually, when you begin to write in the morning, you might ask yourself a question about a problem or concern and see if an answer or insight spills out. Please look to Julia Cameron’s books for more information and guidance.

I’ve used morning pages many times throughout the years to unblock creative flow, wake myself up to what’s bothering me, or release negativity. If you’re feeling stuck on a project or in life, you might want to give them a try. Do them as soon as you awaken and write as fast as possible. Don’t even think about what you’re going to write. Just sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and write!

Please join me here for notes on life, writing, and the writing life.


Many years ago I started a gratitude journal. All humans are bound to suffer sometime during their lifetime, and I felt like I’d been through some hard times. So at the end of each day, I would record ten items for which I could be grateful. A variety of things ended up on these pages. Some were small things that happened during the day like finding a quick parking spot; some were major, like gratitude for a loved one or for my health; most were just ordinary things that I felt lucky to receive like a hug from a client, a midday phone call from a family member, rain on a hot day. Over time, I began to view life events differently. Instead of focusing on the day’s trials or disappointments, I searched for moments of gratitude. Rather than waiting until the end of the day to write in my journal, I whispered thank you right there on the spot. Spontaneous gratitude became a habit.

This technique isn’t new, and I’m not the first one to write about it. But if you want to make an adjustment in your attitude and haven’t yet given it a try, I recommend that you do. It might change the way you look at the world.

Please join me here for musings on life, writing, and the writing life.