Not Just Another Thing I Have To Do




I think writer Brenda Ueland had it right.

She said, “The imagination needs moodling,–long, inefficient happy idling, dawdling and puttering. ”

It’s all about play and slowing down.

Writing is enjoyable. Even during a long dry spell. Even when the words feel heavy and meaningless.  Even during these times, it is important to remember that I do like to write. 

When I don’t rush.  When I slow down like I do for any mindful activity like walking or meditating. When I slow down to let the words fall good or bad on my page. 

Writing is joyful.

In my Developing a Writing Habit class, I tell students to think of writing as not just one more thing you have to do. It’s what you choose to do. It’s what you want to do.

Writing is about exploring, expressing and playing.  Writing is about making discoveries, solving problems, creating new worlds, and feeling a whole spectrum of emotions.

Never make it seem like it’s just a chore that you need to do or you’ll never do it.

Yes, there will be times when it’s frustrating and difficult and you won’t feel like doing it.

 But hang in there just a little longer and things will change.

They always do.  

And when it does the magic of writing will return.

As Sherlock Holmes once said to Watson, “The game is afoot.”

Writing Is Not Foolish


I hear those voices in my head almost everyday. You don’t have time to write. There are more important things you need to do with your time. You are no good.  What do you have to say?

Why bother?

But today I decided that these words will have no effect on me.

Why?  Well, it’s April Fools Day!

When the words try to return tomorrow, I will remember what  my mother used to say, “April Fool’s past. You’re the biggest fool at last.”

Those negative voices do not serve me and are not real unless I let them in. They are truly the fool.

So I will continue to write and invite in my muse. Fill myself with what makes me creative and happy.

I hope you will also leave the fool behind when you write. There is no room for negative voices interrupting what you love to do, today or tomorrow.

But since it is April Fool’s Day, I cannot let the day go by without a good joke:


What do you have when you throw books into the ocean?

ANSWER:  A Title Wave

Write on!




Writing is Always Worth It


When leading a class on Creating a Writing Habit recently, I was once again reminded about how when you are writing, the creative imagination may not always be there when you want it, but that in the end, by keeping at it (writing), it will always be worth it,

Even during our driest days, writing is always worth it. Because if you stick to it, if you are persistent, inspiration peeks its shy face out and gives you the best beaming smile you could ever imagine.

It reminds me of Brenda Ueland’s classic book, If You Want to Write. In it she writes, “Everybody is talented, original and has something important to say.” Her words are just as encouraging to any writer today as they were when she wrote them in 1938.

Those words are what I try to tell writers in my class.

So in that same writing class, a woman shared her own words about our class. — the atmosphere, the people and the community that formed in just a brief six weeks.

She graciously agreed to let me share her words here.

Thanks Mellany for capturing the mood of what a writers workshop does for all of us as we strive to continue to write and to develop a writer’s habit.

And thank you class for a wonderful experience!

What really made that night special was that they understood.

Writing is worth it.


My Writing Class

by Mellany Zepelak

It could almost begin like a joke: a Rabbi, a Kenyan, and a Christian walked into a writing class… Yet it’s not a joke. It’s fact. Add to that a lady from Argentina, a lady who is a professional class taker, a pilot, an artist, a lady who’s taken this class before, and an open, encouraging instructor; and that sums up the remnant of class since the first day.
This has been a blessed experience. I’ve found extensive creativity – What is ever going to happen to that guy at the bar? Discovery – knowing where we’re from and reflecting on those we won’t see in this life again. Raw honesty – how hurtful people can be. There has been mystery – Who took the candy bars? And fear – X marks the spot. There’s also been humor along the way.

All the while each for their own vision and purpose seeking to create and sustain a habit of writing. Where will these writings go? What will become of their practiced habits? Who will the writers themselves become as a result of their writing? Future time and the consistency (or lack thereof) of the habit will answer these questions.
In the midst of it all I’ve learned the beauty of listening to and encouraging others in what is important to them.

I’ve learned about the Shivah and the beauty of grief and reflection. I’ve learned about Kenya and how it can still be home to an American. I’ve learned about bravery from a lady writing in her second language. I’ve learned about word play, repetition, and fun. I’ve learned the great gift of doing something for myself in a season when most of my day consists of doing something for others. I’ve learned writing is an adventure, a gift, an opportunity, and a responsibility.
I’ve learned that gathering in a room with many different than me in age, talent, preferences and more, can teach me, humble me, and bring forth growth within me. I’ve learned that God has a time for everything and the time to grow in writing is now. And I’ve learned that He’ll use many around me to hone the craft. Like perhaps a Rabbi, an American Kenyan, a lady from Argentina, a professional class taker, a pilot, an artist, a lady with an established habit who has taken the class before, and an encouraging instructor.


Happy April Fool’s Day Mom!


Today is April Fool’s Day. You know the day well if you had a mother like mine who lived for the annual April Fool’s Day joke.
Her practical jokes were often corny but simply meant to be fun. Once– and this is in the old days with dial, land line phones,– she would dial the operator and ask her to call our phone number so it would ring. When she picked it up, she pretended it was my friend, Joy. Then she’d say, “The phones for you Robbi. It’s Joy.”

My 10 year old self walked over to the phone on the kitchen counter and took the receiver from my mother.
“Hello. Hello?”

“APRIL FOOLS!!! I got you! “ Mom said snickering as she looked down at the floor, doing a little dance around the kitchen.

It was only 7 am.

Yes, my mother enjoyed April Fools that much and it probably is one of my favorite memories I have of her.

One memory of one single day. One happy day.

She kept to the strict rules of April Fool’s Day too. No jokes were allowed before or after the day.
And she recited to me more than once when I tried to play practical jokes on her on other days:
“April Fools coming you’re the biggest fool a running.”         Or
“April Fool’s past. You’re the biggest fool at last.”

On other days, she treated me to a new “Why did the chicken cross the road?” joke.

And she was prepared with a different answer each time she asked it. I never had the right answer.

But that’s another story or joke.