Blog Posts

in praise of the Mental Health Day…

burned out- exhausted- just not feelin'

Do you ever have one of those days when you don’t want to get out of bed?

When the thought of sitting down at your computer and actually doing something productive is about as appealing as shoving a red-hot poker in your eye?

When, as much as you want to, as much as you need to, as much as you know that you absolutely, no-questions-asked HAVE TO, you just…


I have some semi-radical advice for you.  Don’t.

Instead, take a Mental Health Day.

The Mental Health Day is the reason neither of my boys ever brought home one of those coveted “Perfect Attendance” awards when they were in school. They were basically good kids who generally did what they were supposed to do. But every couple of months, one of them would hit that wall where the thought of getting up and going to school and sitting at a desk for six hours just about drove them to tears.

As a mom, I knew my job was to get them dressed and out that door and into the hands of the public education system, where they belonged. But this subversive little voice inside me couldn’t help asking, “Why? What would be so bad about letting the kid have a day to hang around in his pajamas and eat cereal on the couch and play video games until his eyes glaze over? What harm would it do?”

And thus, the Mental Health Day was born.

Every so often, one of my boys would announce that he was taking a Mental Health Day, and then stay home and do pretty much whatever he wanted. And yeah, since my husband and I both worked at home, it occasionally drove one or both of us crazy. But eventually, the day would end, the kid would go back to school all rested and happy and grateful, and everything would go on as normal. Better even.

So. If it worked for them…why can’t it work for us grown ups?

Of course it can. Not only that, it does. At least it does for me. When I have one of those days where it feels like I’m dragging my body through quicksand, I give myself permission to just STOP. I banish all pressure and judgment and embrace my inner pajama-wearing, non-showering, video-game-playing slug.

And the next time you hit the wall, instead of running into it over and over again hoping it will somehow magically disappear, I invite you to just try, just one time, to do the same thing. Not that you have to wear pajamas or play video games – your inner slug is YOUR inner slug, after all. Just let your lazy flag fly – or just hang there…

You might not win a Perfect Attendance Award. But you’ll probably have a MUCH better day tomorrow.

Oh! And if the wall you hit happens to involve writing, you might want to consider downloading the FREE guide i call The Positively True Actual Professional Writer’s Guide to Beating Writer’s Block HERE.

You can even do it in your pajamas.

Blog Posts

on idols and writer’s block…

If I’m getting stuck doing the thing I’m

You know that favorite writer you have? The one who constructs sentences that somehow reach deep inside your soul – or who makes you laugh so hard the person sitting next to you on the plane asks what you’re reading?

Or both?

Well, re: that writer, I have four words of advice for you:

Don’t write like that person.

Yes, that was five words. It’s Friday and I’m halfway out the mental door… 🙂

But as for my point, I’m serious. And this is not any sort of judgment as to whether or not you can, in fact, write like this author-you-admire. I just know no matter how hard I try, I’m never gonna be Joan Didion.

I also know that the act of trying to sound like someone you admire can be exhausting. You’ve already set the bar at “impossible,” so all that’s left is to reach for it over and over and over again.

And the super fun part? You never get there.

But even if you did, what would you have? A really good imitation of someone else. Instead of a 100% genuine peek inside your own brain and heart and soul. To which I know some of you are instantly yelling back at your computer screen…


Well, welcome to the club. Do you think I believe that every word that flows from my fingertips is interesting? Or even passable? That’s where writer’s block comes from – that reaching, that striving, that pushing to reach some literary nirvana – and then mentally shutting down when you realize you aren’t even close.

A better way, if I might make a gentle suggestion, is to just be honest. Express what you have to say in the true and genuine way it comes to you. Don’t worry if that’s the way Joan Didion or Elizabeth Gilbert or insert-literary-idol-here would say it. (And yes, I noticed I always seem to use the word “say.” Maybe because, to me, writing is like talking, only not out loud.)

When I work with people to help them write better, it’s all about helping them find their true voice, their sharpest perspective, their most quintessential turn of phrase. Because that’s the way they’re going to touch the heart or the soul or the funny bone of the people who need to hear from them.

It’s the way you’ll touch the people who need to hear from you.

And isn’t that what your readers deserve?

If you think you could maybe use some help finding your true voice, I would love to help. I offer this thing called Copy Therapy — it’s kind of like regular therapy, except instead of spending an hour talking about your mother, we talk about the thing you’re trying to say, and figure out the best, most powerful way to say it. In writing. CLICK HERE to find out how.

And if you’re looking for some other ways to break through writer’s block, and haven’t already, why not download The Positively True Actual Professional Writer’s Guide to Beating Writer’s Block HERE?

It’s not Joan Didion…but it helps.

Blog Posts

Is It Time to Turn That Writing Project Over to a Ghostwriter?

no time to write your book-no problem. (1)

You’ve been telling people about that book you’re writing for a year – or two or three. And you’re starting to panic.

Because in reality, that “book” is more like a collection of random musings, old blog posts and other files on your computer that don’t exactly make sense together…

Or it’s one single, lonely page you’ve started 25 different times, in 25 different ways…but it never comes out right…

Or it’s just an idea you really, seriously intend to flesh out SOMEDAY…as soon as you carve out the time to write 150 or 200 pages…and figure out what’s gonna be on those pages…

SO…how’s that book ever gonna get done?

I have a gentle suggestion.

Maybe you should hire a ghostwriter.

The right ghostwriter (yes, there are “wrong” ghostwriters – but that’s for another time) will take those random musings and half-formed ideas and anything else you might have swirling around in your brain and magically transform them into a coherent, cohesive book that presents them to the world in the best possible way. She (or he) will give your ideas a structure with a beginning, middle and end, work with you to dig deep into your story or “thing” to find the answers to the questions your readers are dying to know, and present it all in a voice that sounds like you on your best day ever.

Does it cost money? Of course (even ghosts gotta eat!). But it could be the best investment you ever make.

If you’re ready to stop telling people about the book you’re going to write, and start showing off the book you wrote, maybe we should talk. click HERE for more info.

And if you’re stuck on your own writing project and need a little help, download the positively true, actual professional’s guide to beating writer’s block HERE.

Blog Posts

Is it Time to Stop Writing Alone?

as of noon today,i will no longer bea (5)

I’ve been writing a lot about writer’s block lately. Which, maybe, you’ve noticed. All those posts about writer’s block, and do you have it, and are you wondering how to get rid of it? Yup, that was me. I wrote this little guide to dealing with it (that you can download here…), so I’ve been doing all I can to make sure Every. Single. Person. in the world knows it’s available. HERE.

But here’s the thing about the guide. It isn’t 100% foolproof. There are going to be times when you just get stuck. When your brain won’t budge no matter how many clever games you play with it. When you can’t get past the place where you are no matter how hard you try.

Those are the times when, maybe, you shouldn’t be writing alone.

I know, I know. Writing is kind of a solitary pursuit. But then again, sometimes you could really use another set of eyes to look at what you’ve done – and the other brain that goes with them to determine whether or not what you’ve done actually makes sense. Because something that makes perfectly perfect sense to you might look like a totally random assortment of words to somebody else.

And you definitely don’t want that.

Then there are those times when another brain would really help you catch what you might be missing, or make connections you’re not making, or find that perfect approach that, for whatever reason, you’re not seeing.

And those times when you need someone else there just to let you know you’re not crazy? Those are maybe the biggest.

So. Where does one find said person?

Well, a low pressure place to start might be asking someone you know and trust to read something you’ve written, or brainstorm with you. Or you might join a writer’s circle or challenge for a chance to share with other writers, and hold each other accountable, and maybe even get some group coaching.

Or if you want to focus on your results and yours alone, you might work one-on-one with a writing coach.

And…hey! I happen to be one of those.

As a writing coach, I work with struggling (and even not-so-struggling) writers to help them connect with their readers, focus their message and structure stuff so it makes sense and keeps readers reading (as opposed to drifting off in the middle). I help with all kinds of projects, from landing pages and websites structuring, developing and writing entire books. And everything in between.

All for a (very reasonable) fee. 🙂

If that sounds like something that might help you with your writing project, I’d be happy to be the help-er – just contact me HERE for more info.

And whatever your writing challenges might be, remember, you don’t always have to go it alone.

Even I don’t. I have my crazy husband sitting next to me all day long.