trading memories

firetruck memories in a doorway in basel

Imagine sitting around a campfire at the edge of a village of tents. We stare into the fire, following the flames, breathing slowly. Once in a while, someone will stand up to nudge a log further into the heat. After the sun has fully set, a voice speaks into the fire. It’s one of us, we who are sitting here together, and yet in the dim, flickering light of the fire, … Read more

writing prompts for getting started

river guide in colmar, france

Though every step toward a desire counts, the first step is special. A first step, by definition, involves heading somewhere different. And no matter what we’re writing, writing it has the potential to change things. So experiencing a degree of performance pressure, getting stuck in the pause before initiating movement and change, is … Read more

writing through the shoulds

vines over a walkway

As a wee tot, I happily drew a tree by drawing a vertical brown line then adding a green circle on its top. I loved it. So simple! So true! So pretty! Then the teacher stooped down to tell me my tree was “wrong.” I remember going perfectly still with shock. Then I felt a rush of horror that I’d disappointed the teacher (good student that I was), a crushing sadness as I began to … Read more

hand-holding for writers

hand clip

Because the ways I most love to create require my hands, when my dominant hand was recently hurt, I freaked out. The problem peaked the day of a dinner hosted by a friend here in Germany. When I told the small crowd how my finger had swollen and turned purple, one of the guests, an occupational therapist, took a real interest and recommended a hand doctor she knows. … A few days later, standing at … Read more

tooting your own horn

trees in winter snow

“The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, which is responsible for the global strategic maple syrup reserve ….” Where do I begin? How about telling you that this sentence fragment quote is not fiction. It comes from an article in the Globe and Mail, the national Canadian newspaper. Next, I’ll tell you how delighted I am to live in a world that includes The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (FPAQ), because … Read more

tuning your song

tuning a song

The more I admit to and embrace what I actually love, the more conscious I become about my natural affinities, and the more I’m able to leverage them to improve my own creative expressions. … Read more

if you can think, you can write

an example of writing out a thought

The way out of fear and back to writing is to refocus on what you want to write about, to think about the topic rather than the words. … Read more

50 fiction prompts for curious writers

direction sign

The fiction writing prompts I find most motivating – the ones that inspire original scenarios, themes, and connections – take the form of questions. These 50 prompt themes include many more than 50 questions, organized by subtopic so you can scan for what’s pertinent. … Read more

dirty tricks for writers

dirty tricks at the littenweiler train station

When what you want to write resists the birthing process, outsmart the muse through subterfuge — from stating the obvious to herding dust bunnies. … Read more

writing and stitching

stitched tree branches

You don’t need to consider yourself “a writer” to use the act of writing as a sorting tool. Writing can gather and stitch bits into a whole, even if the “whole” is a journal entry or a scribble on a scrap of paper. … Read more