Monday, August 27, 2012


I've been thinking a lot lately about how to be fearless. It's been a bit of a mantra. Maybe it has to do with facing another birthday and not wanting to miss out on any of life's opportunities. Maybe it has to do with the rejection letters that keep showing up in my inbox for Welcome to Kata-Tartaroo.

What does it mean to be fearless? Is it literally, without fear? Mirriam-Webster says fearless means "free from fear." But couldn't it also mean being afraid and doing or facing that thing anyway?

I think of being fearless as being brave and one can be brave and scared at the same time. Go ask a police officer, fire fighter or a parent. It's not the same kind of bravery, but ask an author. They have to brave and are definitely afraid at the same time.  

I invite you to be fearless today. Not to live without fear, but to act in the face of it.

Monday, August 20, 2012

You Are The Teacher

Yoga teachers will say they are more a guide than a teacher. Your body and mind should dictate your practice for the day. Your yoga teacher will cue poses for you, but it's up to you to decide how hard to push or not. I knew this logically, but it wasn't until recently that I actually "got it." Everything came together like a perfectly tuned orchestra. My teacher gave the cues to the class, my body told me how far to go. Cobra became Up Dog. Bridge became Wheel. The practice was mine and mine alone as I glided from one pose to another.

It made me think about all of the "rules" in creative writing. Writers hear all the time in workshops to write the story that's in their hearts and not worry so much about the rules. No truer words have been spoken. Those "rules" are really guidelines to help you put your heart on the page and write the story you were meant to write.

Sure, some things have to be on the page. Conflict. Scene goals. Point of View. Speaker tags. You can follow the rules of writing and orchestrate a novel or story, but if you focus solely on the rules passion will be missing from the page. Just as a yoga pose can be stiff or painful or not on the edge enough if you follow only the cues.

Our hearts and our main characters are the guides in our stories. The rules of writing are simply the guidelines. When we throw caution away and trust that we know our craft that beautiful, magically story will come together. The story everyone will want to read.

Who is your teacher? What guides you?