One Line Manifestos on a Writer’s Life

It’s not about trying to fit into our clothes, rather, having clothes that fit. Every scene in our life holds the potential for presence and connection. Vulnerability is our best protection. A little yoga goes a long way. If a sentence, job, scene, or relationship doesn’t work stop trying to force things along. There are no secrets. We have nothing to prove to anyone (and everything to learn). We are here to discover. Grief takes as long as it takes. A divided life is exhausting. (If you are living a divided life you are likely exhausted). Practice meeting everyone and … Continue reading

Writing From Life

I tend to write more from my life than about my life. Journal writing is a way to be in conversation with all that is going on around us and inside of us. That’s one reason I don’t leave home without a field notebook. Often my blogs (as you have likely come to realize) are about what is happening right now, what I’m figuring out or encountering at this time. This is how I’ve written most of my books and now how I am approaching my novel. I have developed what I call a Conversational Arc that helps writers explore a … Continue reading

How to Begin Again by guest Blogger Rebekah Young

    I think this is a good time to repost this helpful blog by writer Rebekah Young. After seven months away from writing my novel, I re-joined Julie’s monthly writing circle ready to begin again. I’d finally finished the first draft on Christmas Eve, 2015. The next step was clear: spend the next year writing the second draft. Julie uses the analogy of climbing a mountain to frame our approach to our writing and writing circle. We were at the base camp, about to begin our climb. What’s our intentions as we begin this journey? What keeps us going? What do … Continue reading

Write to Me

Dear Writer,  Good Morning, or Good Afternoon!, (if you get to this later in the day.) I could have addressed this Dear Reader, because you are that to me as well. I just finished listening to the audio book: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The entire story is written through the exchange of letters. The main character is a writer. If you haven’t read it or listened to this delightful novel, do! I now rely on audio books to accompany me on my drives throughout Wisconsin as I travel for my work. My father was a traveling salesman back in the … Continue reading

Getting Out of Our Own Way

“Our spiritual task is to discern the ways in which our heart is at variance with God’s heart. We see how our own subjective perceptions and intentions are compromised or violate our ultimate destiny in love. By this graced recognition, we are released and liberated.”  -Richard Rohr A Repost from a previous Zero Point Agreement blog (Here, Take This Gift): For life to happen we have to receive the first breath. For life to continue we have to receive the abundance of light, nourishment, love and care offered us. If we don’t know how to receive, we will starve. When we … Continue reading

Giving Up

“Give up on all hope for results.”  #28, Lojong Slogan, taken from The Practice of Lo jong: Cultivating Compassion through Training the Mind, Traleg Kyabgon.  (Another way this is said is: Abandon any hope of fruition.) This slogan may be a challenge for us Western ears and for us writers. But it is at the core of buddhist teachings as well as the 12 step program. Of course we want results, and we want to remain open to what is possible. But an obsession, or a clinging to results means we are stuck in our expectations of outcomes rather than giving … Continue reading

This Moment in a Broken World

  Snow Geese (by Mary Oliver)   Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last! What a task to ask of anything, or anyone, yet it is ours, and not by the century or the year, but by the hours. One fall day I heard above me, and above the sting of the wind, a sound I did not know, and my look shot upward; it was a flock of snow geese, winging it faster than the ones we usually see, and, being the color of snow, catching the sun so they were, in part at least, golden. … Continue reading

Ideas of the Shipwrecked

These are the only genuine ideas, the ideas of the shipwrecked. All the rest is rhetoric, posturing, farce.” –Jose Ortega y Gasset   Breakage BY MARY OLIVER I go down to the edge of the sea. How everything shines in the morning light! The cusp of the whelk, the broken cupboard of the clam, the opened, blue mussels, moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred— and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split, dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone. It’s like a schoolhouse of little words, thousands of words. First you … Continue reading

The In-Between of Life (and Writing), by guest blogger Christie Gause-Bemus

  When my writing Sherpa (Julie) said to me, “you want to consider this rewriting, not editing.”  My heart sank at what my head inevitably knew all along.  A novel that I “finished” several Aprils ago, was not finished…until it was finished. I had gotten caught up with the end goal, to be a published author, and all the perceived joys that go with it.  The accolades, the riches, the interviews on Oprah, the recognition, the book readings, the seeing my words in one complete package of the hardbound book in the hands of others.  These end gains had become more important, and … Continue reading

Heeding The Call

Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.  -Steven Pressfield,  The War of Art If you begin a spiritual, creative, or inner journey and don’t go all the way with where it wants to take you, then you may end up worse than when you began. We, writers and spiritual seekers often encounter adversity and resistance along the way, and somewhere in the middle of our effort it can become quite a challenge to stay with the journey. We are enthused or motivated in the beginning, and then something happens. It gets … Continue reading