No One Ever Died From Writing

“Digging up the dark world, the things you don’t remember, releases a lot of energy. Brings to light things that have been covered up for a long time and they snap and crackle. Usually we try to control what we remember. Control leads to dull writing. “…Lose control. Let the mute, the silent speak. Your memoir should be a large field, capable of embracing whatever comes up. If you avoid a corner or crag, the reader will feel it. “No one every died of writing in her notebook what is hidden or dangerous. You might cry—or laugh—but not die.” --Natalie Goldberg, Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir

Make a list of things you keep hidden or that feel too dangerous to write about. Then ... [Continue Reading]

The Edge of Your Comfort Zone

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” --Neale Donald Walsch

Take a large sheet of poster paper or butcher paper, some markers, crayons or pens. Draw a picture of your comfort zone. Be sure to mark the boundaries and also include what is outside those boundaries.

Draw your comfort zone as if it were an actual landscape—a neighborhood, an ecosystem, a country--with topographical details, as if it were a real physical place.

This exercise is not about being an artist or drawing things to scale; it’s drawing as a prelude to writing. So forget whether or not you know how to draw; just do it. Take half an hour to complete this part of the exercise.

When you’re done, it’s time to write: Look at your drawing and tell me ... [Continue Reading]

The Five Wonderful Things

"They had invented a game: 'the five wonderful things'. Each evening you had to name five wonderful things [that] you had experienced along the day: the patterns of milk and chocolate in cocoa, four raindrops in a row on a blade of grass, a snowflake on your sleeve, the one-legged pigeon, the sound of Rice-Krispies in milk, the scent of new Crayolas..." --from a novel by Doris Dörrie

Try this as a practice. Every night, take five minutes to make a list of five wonderful things you experienced during the day. Even in the midst of a really “awful, terrible, no-good day,” keep up this practice. Try sharing your list with a friend, a partner, a child or a family member. Watch how it transforms your perspective over time, how the cup grows half-full, instead of ... [Continue Reading]