In the United States it is that time of year again: the time for the thank yous.

Thank you to me has become old and worn. We use it constantly and without much thought.  Thanks; Thanks again; Thanks so much; Thank goodness; Thank heavens; Thank God; Thanks for everything; Thanks for nothing; Thanks a lot.

It has become what I consider a “surface” word.  A surface word is one that is out there all of the time and comes from out mouth frequently without considering much below the word. I use thank you a lot and try to really mean it when I say it.

But the word I have come to feel more deeply is GRATITUDE.  Gratitude is that feeling way deep inside that almost hurts- like the grrrrr motor feeling/sound from inside of a happy loved kitten.  It’s that attitude of contentment, appreciation and pure love. You can feel this at any given moment when you choose to be at peace in your own silence. At any given moment you can find gratitude within, just as you can find something to be truly happy about.

So during this week be thankful for food, planes, things, rain, snow, family, friends… Then go beyond for yourself. Take time to nourish your spirit in a silent moment- time to feel and enjoy your very own GRRRRR…..ATTITUDE.



Adding New Posts: A chicken and egg moment

There is “something” about writing directly into the Add New Post “text box” that adds to my sense of “freshly pressed” and “emotionally charged” when a reader clicks that link that takes them to a post. (To be a fly on that wall and watch their body language as they read my latest offering if only but once.)

I must face what is true, I am a risk taker at times. I write in the Cloud.

Sure, I’ve opened Word docs to start my writing adventures. It is certainly always the easiest way to assure that I capture my content-thoughts-words in a personally archived and secure location. BUT writing directly into the WordPress “box” for a new post feels especially energizing, ESPECIALLY if I am primed to post my off the cuff entry “right away.”

Mind you, in these instances, I easily give myself permission to write quick, edit for clarity and post pronto on pieces that are less fact-based and more about sharing perspectives and insights. My thoughts and typing fingers are in sync after all the years of typing what I experience between my two ears “in the moment.”

Release your Inner Chicken from its Egg

Release your Inner Chicken from its Egg

If as a writer you can’t EVER do this for fear of not being error free, the writing coach in me suggests you challenge yourself and take on doing this very thing. How uncomfortable is it? That says something too.  Why try this on? To show yourself you can write in the moment and that you can also like your spontaneous writing.

What will it take to make you an Agile Creative Writer? It is a good skill to have and it can be cultivated.

Should I? Wisdom like an Owl in the Corner “watching” advises I sit with my writing for a moment longer than three seconds, so as to publish an edited and grammatically pristine piece. The good news is thanks to WordPress and other DIY platforms, should I publish then find an error, it IS easily fixed. But the “should I” question is a tricky one. For it circles around the themed question: how comfortable are we with putting ourselves out there in the moment? The longer I write and the more I write both self-published and unpublished works, the more I get clear that my voice can make a difference but only if and when I express it.

An imperfect thought is like the sort- of- but- not- quite- a- chicken- type animal.

Could I? I know in fact if I push that “publish” button I increase the likelihood of seeing the typo I missed when I select “view page.” After seeing “the typo (OMG)  I can ALSO fix it uneventfully. And I have the satisfaction of knowing it was sent forth to do its work in the world and hopefully cause a smile, inspire an action or solve a dilemma. My hope, again as the writing enthusiast and catalyst/coach, is that YOU will, to develop in you a self-confidence that travels with you as you comment on other blogs, write your own, and speak with people you meet in the world. A mentor of mine used to say, “How we do anything, is how we do everything.” If that is true, then I am guided greatly by intuition and almost 40 years of writing practice these days.

Will I? Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. Mostly I do. When I don’t it is more often because I got distracted and forgot to come back to it. (Bright shiny object syndrome as Nancy Hellstrom of Interior Shift called it for her at a workshop.) I f you could have heard her say it that wonderful, quirky, mischievous way she did.

How much of a risk taker are you? I invite you to post a reply you didn’t linger too long over to see where you are at on a scale of 1-10. Ready. Set. Write On.


Stupid Comments and Spam (with apologies to Dr. Seuss)

I am John, John I am
I do not like stupid comments and spam.

I would not like them here or there.
I would not like them anywhere.
I do not like them, John-I-am

I do not like them in a house.
I do not like them with a mouse.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere.
I do not like stupid comments and spam.
I do not like them, John-I-am.

Not in a box. Not with a fox.
Not in a house. Not with a mouse.
Not on a train! Not in a tree!
Not with a goat. Not on a boat.
Not in a car! Let me be!
I do not like stupid comments and spam?
I do not like them, John-I-am.

I do not like them in a box.
I do not like them with a fox.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them ANYWHERE!

I would not read them here or there.
I would not read them anywhere.
I will not read them with a mouse
I will not read them in a house.
I will not read them in the rain.
I will not read them on a train.
I would not read stupid comments and spam.
I do not like them, John-I-am.

I do not like stupid comments and spam!
I do not like them, John-I-am.

Wednesday’s “Gentle” Reminder

SIXTEEN days ago when we launched this monthly challenge some ideas were offered to help you jumpstart your activity. Remember this “common sense” wisdom (that applies to a lot of writing once we are past highschool!)

Please write about what excites YOU to let people get to know a little more about you, the person who is the business owner, and do your best to offer associated business lessons gained through both professional and personal experiences. They will appreciate you for it.

I am struck by how wide the gap can be sometimes between the writer I experience on screen or on paper and the person I may meet in person. Congruency is a CORE value of mine.

In Tuesday’s Gathering, the conversation was both rich and philosophical AND practical. Some people are clear on why they separate content as much as they do and choose not to cross-pollinate personal posts with business material; and I respect that as much as I wish for them to “eclipse” a little more from time to time for the benefit of both them-writer and me-reader. Give me a way to know something of who I may be doing business with beyond a seasoned, professional who knows a particular skillset, for chances are we will be relating about more than the work alone (at least in my case.) Friendly people are known to ask questions outside the scope of business (smile.)

And as Judy Stoffel Loewen summed up beautifully, “What is right for you is right for you. We are all right in how we may do it.” And ask yourself though: what is my comfort zone and what does a stretch look and feel like?

As I was listening I jotted down two words that floated into my consciousness: Translucency and Transparency. And I noted mentally that I would look them up when I got home. And so I did.

There is a distinction between them that I appreciate. Relative to writing we do for business and the public we are always going to have to decide how translucent or transparent we will be.

More on this new metaphor for Authentic Writing from me later!

Am I being a bit mysterious? Why, yes I am.

I look forward to Wednesday’s offerings. Blessings.

November 15: A Writer’s Support Group for Reticent Bloggers (aka Writers)

Communication Gumbo….is the name of the game.

What makes one a clear communicator?

What makes communication memorable?

What are your strengths?

When do you shy away and from what?

What is between you and more transparency and relating to the invisible reader?

What are some of your favorite sites/blogs that leave you feeling like you just met the business owner? (Other than your own?)

These and other scintillating questions are how we break the ice tomorrow!



RSVP’s Appreciated!

Deborah – Authentic Writing Provokes

Publish or Perish? Really? (Part 1of 3)

Beloved author, Paulo Coelho has many fine quotes, as the prolific writer he is and I dedicate this series to the themes within this statement:

“Don’t expect to get anything back, don’t expect recognition for your efforts, don’t expect your genius to be discovered or your love to be understood. Act because you need to act.” ~Paulo Coelho


In an age when it is easier to self-publish, why not help yourself to it?

The name of the game this week for me is stay on task. Not only is there a manuscript to edit there is another to format and much to read and comment on. In this day of self-publishing, yes anyone COULD write a book but who actually does?

It is NEVER too late to start. There are many late blooming writers. Sometimes we first need the right dose and variety of life experience that helps us define our purpose clearly. And sometimes it takes big events and changes to catalyze the writing urge in us.

Self-publishing is not for the faint of heart. And while there may be a variety of do-it-yourself means to publish yourself, the fact remains you still must generate the idea, then the manuscript, thereafter the book, the play, the blog post before you can “publish” the beauty. There is a tremendous sense of self-satisfaction when writing is completed. It could be a singular blog post or a larger project and I say celebrate your writing with others.

I am a cheerleader and champion for writing for yourself. And while I also ghost write and act as “the journalistic medium” for those who are challenged to do for themselves with any consistency, I love, love, love being the editor to an excited author.

If I had my way all the time (smile), I’d turn every ghost writing client ultimately into a writer for themselves–for it empowers you deeply to write and speak as yourself, for yourself and with enthusiasm and self-confidence. A ghost or journalist can do a great job too but the closer to the source a message is born, the more potent it may be.

What stops you from communicating with EASE for yourself about your business, your passions, your hobbies, your causes, your personal writing projects?

I know what can stop me and what I work to keep out of my way. And it is my mission to help as many as possible get out of their own way too.

Call me Catalyst.

For the past 18 months I have been hosting a writing group that meets each Tuesday to TALK about writing and blogging and creativity and overcoming fear and resistance to writing for one’s self and one’s ventures, professional and personal.

Each week I am given the opportunity to “creatively unlock” not only myself but as many as two dozen attendees. Many come weekly and some since the beginning. One regular, calls the time her group therapy. We all laughed the first time. Now when someone new comes claiming they don’t “blog”  basically another term for writing) for who would care what they had to say and whatever would they write about, we regulars glance at each other and declare it time for a “creative intervention.”  And in shortly thereafter (most of the time) our reticent or would be writer is clear they have a perspective worth sharing with others. After which some jump right in and return reporting they are now officially blogging or getting set to start.

Gratitude is abundant in our weekly time together and the most striking feature these days of “Circle” as some call it or “Tuesdays with Deborah,” is the community blog of the same name spawned out of Tuesday conversations. What is striking about it is the variety of posts and the enthusiasm of the contributing writers. That enthusiasm is what it is all about cultivating for me.

The secret ingredient to the success in this instance is “community support.”  We are better individually for how we interact as a group. We are a growing and extended family. We come weekly wanting to write authentically, boldly and consistently. Or we come to find the motivation to try to begin. We are all at different places and stages. And all are welcome wherever they are in their Writing Pilgramage.

The act of writing is not always easy even for the natural writer (like Me!). And support makes all the difference. Let me say again, “Support Makes All the Difference.”

Again I ask, in an age when it is easier to self-publish, why not help yourself to it?

More to come. Stay tuned for Part 2 and 3. And if you are thinking you want to write but don’t have a clear sense of your voice and vision and purpose for your writing, may you seek out support from someone and soon. I am actively listening for one!

I Wrote A Paper in 7th Grade That Changed My Life

We walked into class that day, and my English teacher gave us a shocking assignment. She walked to the front of the room and calmly said, “Today, you will be writing your guiding principles for life. You have one hour. Starting now.”

And I froze.

After years of penmanship, and book reports and weekend stories where I was taking information and just writing it down or transcribing information from other people, or books this time it had to come from me. From inside my head, my heart. No notes.

The clock on the wall got bigger and bigger and louder and louder with each tick of the second hand.

“Ten minutes gone”, she says.

I looked down at a blank piece of paper.

Small beads of sweat had formed on my brow.

All I heard were the brilliant thoughts of the other students. Ideas and thoughts were popping out of their heads, pumping through hearts, moving down through arms, their hands, through their pens filling page after page after page with brilliance.

Twenty minutes gone.

I still had nothing.

I sat next to the window in that class and usually it was not a problem. Today however, it was like a magnet. My eyes locked onto the boys gym class. They were running track. It was a beautiful, sunny, spring day. My mind wandered and I began to think. I hate running. I hate running to a timer. I hate sweating. What is the purpose anyway of just running in circles, anyway? Or trying to jump over those high hurdles, who in their right mind would want to do that.

While my mind wandered, the teacher moved from her desk and began going around the room to each student. Sometimes she would touch a shoulder. Other times she would touch a shoulder and lean down to say something to someone.

She had made great progress while my mind was meandering, and she was just two students behind me.

I panicked.

Thirty minutes gone.

I have nothing.

As I felt her hand touch my shoulder, I frantically wrote down a word and a period. She leaned over, read the word, nodded and went back to sit down.

I could not believe it. I was so relieved.

Relief however, did not bring any brilliant stream of consciousness. Nothing was popping out of my brain, pumping through my heart, down my arm, through to my pen to my blank page. Nothing.

Forty minutes gone.

The window magnet beckoned me again. This time I noticed a couple laying out under the trees in the shade. They were ditching class, they always did, I could tell who they were. They were ‘The Couple’ of the school and they were making out. I mean really making out. I looked back around the room to see if anyone else saw this. No one, they were busy being brilliant.

We had just learned that the best and most memorable stories come from what you know, what you experience, what you see. So I wrote down two words. Making out.

Forty-five minutes gone.

Suddenly, the teacher stood at my desk. I hadn’t even noticed her get up from her desk. She was like a cat, so quiet. This time she touched my shoulder, read my words and leaned down to say, “You might try passion here
instead.” I had been holding my breath, waiting for her rip up my paper and to send my to the principals office and I had to think and figure out how to breathe again for a minute. I looked down, thought about it and crossed out making out and wrote passion.

The other students around me were finishing up and looking at me now because I had not been frantically writing and flipping pages, and producing any popping brilliance into the room.

Instead, I was watching the boys gym class end and they were horsing around, tripping each other, having fun.

Fifty-nine minutes gone.

I wrote down one last word.

I ran out of the room, embarrassed, face red, sweating.

Two days later, the teacher read three papers, and mine was one of them. My heart was pumping now.

She read: “Purpose. Passion. Play.”

She turned to me and said, “Joni, you nailed this assignment in a very unexpected way. Congratulations.”

I think often about that day, and how unprepared I was to be taken out of my comfort zone. About that hour and how agonizing it was to not keep up with the students around me. And about that teacher who gave me two gifts that day. My guiding principles for life and my work, and the support and kindness I needed to find them inside of me.

I have added one more over the years – possibility – which comes from a quote that sits above my desk today from a favorite author of mine.

“Dwell in Possibility”, Emily Dickinson.

Thanks Emily and to all teachers for the gifts you give daily. You are brilliant.

Repost By Joni from: follow: @jdkovarik