Permission

How many times have you heard that the secret to being a great writer is to sit your butt in the chair and write?

Easy enough. 

So, what keeps you from a.) getting there, b.) staying there?

Perhaps the answer lies not in the external chaos of children, schedules, and bills to pay. In fact,  I’m placing my bet that your butt-planting challenge has more to do with internal chaos due to fears and inhibitions that well up inside of you a minute or two after you sit down.

We struggle with permission. Not from others—but from ourselves. 

  • Permission to pursue a craft without a price tag. 
  • Permission to be still.
  • Permission to attend our creativity in the wake of others’ needs.
  • Permission to “dive in” for the sheer joy of it.

(I’m always pleasantly surprised at how many husbands and wives are super supportive of the creative they are married to).

Which of these areas of permission are most difficult for you? Are there others that trip you up that I haven’t mentioned?

What are you designed-called-fashioned to do? Are you currently doing it with all your soul and strength? 

I’d love to hear about it. 

Fantasy

I love that Natalie Goldberg will tell a fantasy lie to a total stranger whom she will never meet again. “I have four children,” says the mother of zero with a pleasured smile. 

Do you find my response odd being that I’m a doctor of the Church, a seeker of truth and goodness? 

Goldberg writes in Old Friend from Far Away: the Practice of Writing Memoir that she used to encourage her students to lie or exaggerate in order to shake them out of their predictable ways of seeing… to be curious—fascinated even—so they might fall in love with their lives. 

Doesn’t this sound daring and delicious? Am I’m still too tied to the earth and the heavens to dive so deeply into make believe? I didn’t have imaginary friends as a child. Even my daydreams proved flimsy and quite boring. 

Now that I watch movies and Netflix, Hulu, Starz, HBO…my imagination has more color and action, more plot. Yet, still I have to beat down the wall of concrete thinking, right/wrong, truth. 

Maybe my worse confession to date is that I have yet to spin a big one. A humdinger. A fabulous fib. Except maybe on airplanes. 

Back to fantasy, and waking up, and falling in love with life… while high above the earth, and a stranger’s elbow brushing my sleeve, I trace the letters of the travel mag directly in front of me, or I read books on my phone. I snooze. But sometimes, when the chemistry is right, I set about memorizing the side of a face in profile against the bright light streaming past the window shade, and while blocking out a child’s wails or the cologne of a man across the aisle, I’ve let my imagination spool. Between bites of pretzel and listening, I’ve told about writing with a film crew in Hawaii. Being a novelist. A memoirist. A professor. A doctor of the Church. Coauthoring with one of Forbes most powerful CEO’s under age 40. Hiking, biking, skiing. International travel. Writing with celebrities, one who has a castle in the Mediterranean. Riding horses. Owning properties in Montana and Nashville. 

Crazy thing, all are true. 

Maybe I should tell about my camino, and our trip down the Colorado River, or that time in Croatia. Yes, even if my lively exposé doesn’t rank in the fat or juicy tale category, can I lean into the future and claim in advance what is currently out of reach, but is sure to be? If only I can set it in my mind’s eye like those tales my kids boldly spin for me to step into—fantasies of great daring, of adventure, music, dance, martial arts, and even of being still and content.

And, one of these days I might put on my thespian face and tell that humdinger to a stranger. I’ll choose the man across the aisle with the smelly cologne. 

What is the difference between fantasizing and envisioning a reality that you want to lean into and make it yours? Goldberg would ask, what fantasies can you admit to?

12 Reasons to Write Even When it’s a Time Hog

Who knew this venture into the unknown worlds of your imagination, that stroll down memoir lane, or the pull of the blogosphere would soon overtake all other passions, casual outings (bull riding, garage sale-ing, hang gliding, storage unit organizing) and rob you of sleep and sunset strolls.

12-Reason-to-WriteIn spite of its rooting up black dirt of your life like Bertha the pig happily looking for truffles, there are countless reasons for writing, many of them honorable. Below is a list of a dozen proven truths to justify what otherwise seems like a pork-ish endeavor: Continue reading “12 Reasons to Write Even When it’s a Time Hog”

Blitz Blockers: 7 Questions to keep you from Getting Slammed, Part II

Are you perpetually stuck in crunch time?

Does you work extend past 8-10 hours per day? A blitz of concentrated effort is the way to wrap a scene, launch a product, slam dunk a fundraiser…once or twice a year. But if your work days extend past 8 -10 hours any more frequently and for longer periods than a week or two, you are establishing a dangerous lifestyle design, a recipe of great and enduring fatigue and loneliness.

My mom used to say, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” She was right. It is time for you to choose, to give yourself some love and come up with a new plan, a new way of pursuing your mission.

Missions are not accomplished on auto-pilot! Continue reading “Blitz Blockers: 7 Questions to keep you from Getting Slammed, Part II”

When Life Becomes The Blitz


Do you find yourself putting life on hold “just until you finish this project?” Until you are on the other side of “that impending deadline?” Seasonal blitzes are the way we get things done, dial it in, focus, knock it out of the park. A blitz of concentrated effort with all hands on deck is the way to go…once or twice a year. But what happens when life itself become, “the blitz”?

When I was a collaborative writer for celebrity authors, my life was entirely deadline driven—always someone else’s deadline. Notice I didn’t say, “my work day” was deadline driven. No, I allowed years of priceless time with family, friends, neighbors, community outreaches… to pass by because my days were perpetually in CRUNCH TIME. Continue reading “When Life Becomes The Blitz”