It’s Paul Auster’s Birthday

Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac shows up in my email every day with a fat smile on its face, a provocative poem, and news of the writing world. News, as in birthdays and deathdays of the writers and thinkers of the world. Today, I am happy to report, is my all-time favorite writer’s birthday. And without Writer’s Almanac, I would not know this. And neither would you. So if your soul longs to know when momentous events like Chekhov’s birthday are upon us, get thee to Writer’s Almanac and subscribe.

But for now, let us celebrate Paul Auster, who said:

“Becoming a writer is not a ‘career decision’ like becoming a doctor or a policeman. You don’t choose it so much as get chosen, and once you accept the fact that you’re not fit for anything else, you have to be prepared to walk a long, hard road for the rest of your days.”

And

“I don’t know why I do what I do. If I did know, I probably wouldn’t feel the need to do it. … Surely it is an odd way to spend your life — sitting alone in a room with a pen in your hand, hour after hour, day after day, year after year, struggling to put words on pieces of paper in order to give birth to what does not exist — except in your head. Why on earth would anyone want to do such a thing? The only answer I have ever been able to come up with is: because you have to, because you have no choice.”

I think he’s trying to get us NOT to want to be writers, but his words just inspire me to sit down and write. And write. And write some more.

Although my craft at its highest will not, can not, touch the wizardry of City of Glass. No matter how many times I read it, I am at a loss for how words on the page create a world and then a world within that world, and then, well, no one really knows what else. Because at the end of the book you realize that you know NOTHING. Not who the character is, not where he is, or what he is, or if he is. Oh my. If you haven’t read City of Glass, horray for you. A great adventure awaits. Want a little champagne to go with that? Get the unbelievable graphic novel by Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli. It was the first graphic novel I ever read and no graphic novel has touched it since. The two together are perfection in word and image.

All right, all you writers. And writer wanna-bes. A toast is in order to the master. Happy Birthday, Paul.

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What Teach for America can teach writers

Following my usual Sunday ritual, I spent a couple hours this morning curled up in my favorite reading chair devouring french press coffee and the Sunday paper. I always find something that makes me think. Really think. The stimulus today was an article titled “What makes a great teacher” in the St Pete Times.

I felt drawn to read it for several reasons.

A. I was a teacher. Maybe not always a great one, but I did strive to make a difference. The year my profoundly gifted and profoundly deaf 9 year olds tested out reading at the high school level…,well, that was a proud moment indeed.

B. I’ve been frustrated to the n’th degree by the range of quality of teaching my son experienced in his education from pre-school to college from superb to god-awful.

C. I have a gut feeling my son will be a teacher of some kind some day.

And D. I still teach. I just teach deep soul writing and working in The Intersection instead of third grade.

So I read the article. As I read, I stumbled upon a paragraph that popped off the page. It spoke directly to me and to all writers, that is, all writers who are commited to being great. The paragraph distills Teach for America’s findings on what made teachers great. See what you think:

“…great teachers tended to set big goals…. They were also perpetually looking for ways to improve…. Great teachers constantly re-evalaute what they are doing.

Superstar teachers had four other tendencies in common: They avidely recruited students and their families into the process, they maintained focus…, they planned exhaustively and purposefully–for the next day or the year ahead–by working backward from the desired outcome; and they refused to surrender to the combined menaces of poverty, beaurocracy and budgetary shortfalls.”

What does that have to do with writers trying to write well and get published? Everything. When we work in The Intersection we are accessing the creative power of the universe, but that doesn’t mean that it flows to us without some effort and action on our part. The upcoming telecourse Plug In! The Intersection for Writers is about what actions to take to ensure endless access to that glorious creative flow.

In the last few blogs I talked about my real job for 2010. My job is to create the conditions that allow that flow to happen. And creating those conditions does take focus–relentless repeated focus. Every day we writers rise and renew our commitment to write and write well.

We do the same things Teach America, we
set big goals (getting published in todays world is a HUGE goal)
perpetually look for ways to improve
constantly reevaluate what we’re doing
recruit our friends and families into supporting our writing life
maintain focus (this shuold be number one)
plan how to get to what we want by working backward from it (to get a contract, I need an agent, to get an agent, I need a proposal, to write a proposal, I need….)
refuse to surrender to all the menaces around us

Are you a writer? Is this the year you create your writing life? Find your voice? Get published?

If you’d like to know more about working in The Intersection, visit Writing Down Your Soul and view the course outline for Plug In! We begin on February 2nd.

Whether you join Plug In! or not, take whatever wisdom you can from the Teach for America research. Are there any parts of it that resonate for you?


The Power of Five

The Voice and I were just talking about LESS. LESS is my focused attraction description of the attributes of people who love Writing Down Your Soul.

Here’s how I got LESS. I was writing on Jan 12th after a glorious inaugural booksigning at Wings Bookstore in St Pete, and I told DG that all Writing Down Your Soul needs is more Sharon Jebbens–the manager. What is Sharon? I asked, and immediately my hand wrote:

Loves the book
Embraces the practice
Sees the potential
Spreads the word

I laughed. All this book needs is LESS. (A whole new take on the adage “less is more,” don’t you think?)

Then I realized that Writing Down Your Soul’s readers are also LESS. So are all the guides, like coaches and therapists, who encourage people to start writing down their souls. Bottom line is everyone who falls in love with this book is LESS.

So the Voice and I were talking about getting more LESS. And the Power of Five showed up on the page. As soon as I saw the words, I knew what it meant:

If each person who reads this blog forwards it to five people…

If each person who gets the Writing Down Your Soul newsletter, forwards it to five people… (Don’t get it? Sign up here)

If each person who loves the book, tells five friends… Or gives it to five people as a gift… (You can get a signed copy at my website.)

If each bookseller tells five people who come into their store…

If each coach, therapist, hypnotist, acupunturist or other professional guide tells five clients…

Writing Down Your Soul would reach the hands and hearts of all who seek it–nevermind, make the NYT Bestseller Advice/How to list.

I know you have this power. I recently traced over 200 readers to one woman, Gwynn Kelley who came to a pre-publication Writing Down Your Soul workshop at Unity Church of Palm Harbor. She told a friend, Polly Memhard, in Riverside CT, who told her friend, Martha Howland. Between Polly and Martha over 150 people have been to Writing Down Your Soul workshops and events in CT. PLUS, Gwynn told her daughter who told a life coach in south Florida who called me to help her put together a women’s soul writing class.

I have story after story like this of one person who contacted another and another and suddenly a whole room full of people are reading Writing Down Your Soul.

I may have written the book, but you have the power to get it into people’s hands. Thank you for being the Power of Five. Five, by the way, represents change and anyone who engages in divine dialogue with their wise, loving, inner Voice is going to be guided to wise loving changes in his or her life.

Does the idea of having the power of five make you smile? Please start talking, forwarding, sharing, encouraging…spreading the word. I’m inviting everyone who demonstrates the Power of Five to contact me for a special invitation-only teleclass on Dec 29th to create the Soul Day that will call in a magical new year. Just send me an email at janet@writingdownyoursoul.com and tell me how you are the Power of Five.

Want to learn more about Focused Attraction? I learned it from Rev Lauren McLaughlin of UnityNow.


Guess we’re not journaling anymore!

Here is the third of four youtube videos produced by Bizz Buzz Video in conjunction with Jennifer Hill Robenalt of HooplaMedia when I was in Austin Texas. Man oh man, but they did a great job. Not only are the production values superb, but it was an effortless experience. When we were finished recording four of these, I said, “That’s it!?”

This video answers the question: What is the difference between journaling and writing down your soul? The answer in a nutshell: just about everything!

The chart I mention that compares traditional journaling and deep soul writing is on page 246 in Writing Down Your Soul. If you want it in color check out writingdownyoursoul.com.

The second question on this video is about the value of deep soul writing for professional writers. But it’s not just writers who love the flow that deep soul writing generates. All creatives love deep soul writing because the creative force of the universe is available in theta. I feel like a cheerleader for theta. Go theta!

How about you? What mysteries of the universe do you unlock in theta?


Why writing down your soul? And why now?

I didn’t learn writing down your soul. I didn’t read about it in a book or hear about it from a friend. I didn’t take a class or find it in a magazine article. I stumbled upon it–with a little help from Harley, my Great Dane puppy. Hey, as far as I can tell, heaven is always in on the act somewhere, guiding, supporting, and, OK, nudging when necessary. I just took a little more than the average nudging.

But I did finally respond. And just like everyone who makes a big “aha” discovery, I was where I needed to be, I followed my instincts, I took the plunge and tried something new, and then–this is important–I paid attention to the results. That’s how the process of deep soul writing was discovered.

But, so what? I mean, does that matter? Does that matter to anyone but me? I think so. I think it matters now more than ever. Because it seems that right now everyone has questions. Everyone is looking for answers. Everyone could use a little more wisdom, a little more direction, a little more love.

Could writing down your soul help you? See for yourself.


OK, now let’s all do what Ellen did

Ellen with Johnny

Ellen with Johnny

Ellen DeGeneres woke us all up. My last post, the one about her commencement address at Tulane, attracted a huge spike of readers. I think I know why. Ellen laid out a way — an incredibly simple way — to SEE your Life Around the Corner, by “seeing” it on the page in conversation with God. Ellen saw herself sitting next to Johnny Carson on the tonight show. Given Ellen’s situation at the time, that could have been labelled totally absurd, possibly delusional. But, guess what? It happened.

Her experience has really stuck with me. So, this morning, as I was saying my prayers, repeating my Covenant and my Writing Blessing, I closed my eyes and had a little chat with Spirit, or as Reverend Lauren McLaughlin, calls it, the Eternal Life Force — ELF. I was just saying something to the Elf, when I saw in my mind a bright white glowing light about the size of a basketball in my hands. Instinctively, I looked down into the white ball.

OH, I realized, this is how Ellen did it. She looked into the future, into her crystal ball, so to speak, or using my new favorite metaphor, into her spy binoculars and saw the Life Around the Corner. Clearly. She saw herself sitting next to Johnny Carson. Not wishing or hoping or “wouldn’t it be great if…” but saw it. Probably felt the chair beneath her. Felt the lights, saw his face close up. She simply was “there” inside her future experience. Did it happen because she experienced it a decade in advance or was it always going to happen and in that moment she simply got a peak? Interesting philosophical, metaphysical question there. And I don’t have the answer. Not an intellectual answer. And guess what? I don’t care how it works; I just want to have the experience.

So, looking into my white ball of light, I said, OK, I get it. I’ll sit down with my pen and have my own conversation with Spirit and SEE my future.

I asked on the page, “What is in my life around the corner?” Out gushed a bunch of things: Being on Ellen and talking about her experience, being on the Oprah Soul Series and on her TV show talking about deep soul writing, being interviewed by Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, shaking Neale Donald Walsch’s hand and hearing him say that deep soul writing is how he had his Conversations with God, and signing a half million dollar advance. All delightful. All powerful. All big.

But when I looked at the list, I said, “OK, I love them all and I DO see them all happening, but what ONE event, what ONE experience would be proof that all of this has transpired and more? What one experience sums up my Life Around the Corner?”

I knew immediately. I drew a bold dark blue ink square around the words: Walk into the New York city library and touch a shelf full of my books.

New York Library

New York Library

Even as I type that sentence, I feel tears. Tears are proof that this is THE apex experience I will have. I don’t know when. (When is not my job.) I don’t know how. (How is not my job.) Just know that it will happen. I am standing there right now, in my mind, in my white ball of light, smiling and reaching out and running my fingers slowly along the ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen books that I have written. I turn to my son and with tears in my eyes, say, “Here I am, permanently, in the New York city library. Guarded by the lions.”

Your turn.

Close your eyes, hold the white ball of divine light or the spy binoculars or become a hawk who flies ahead to see your Life Around the Corner. The image doesn’t matter. Just choose one that feels right to you and ask, “How will I know that I have achieved my Life Around the Corner?” Pick up a pen and start writing. See what images come through. No matter how wacky or amazing or unlikely or impossible — write them down.

Why? Because Ellen sat next to Johnny Carson. Because I will run my hands over my books in the main library in New York. (Oh, and be on Oprah and Ellen, and GMA!)

How about you? What are you doing in your Life Around the Corner?


How Ellen DeGeneres discovered Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen after she became Ellen

Ellen after she became Ellen

Last Friday, Diana Kyle, a friend from my old headhunting life, asked me to come to Blake High School Monday morning and teach kids about deep soul writing. Without thinking, I said yes. Why? I don’t know. I certainly wasn’t going to make any money or sell any books, but my job right now is to say yes. I figure Spirit knows how to reach the people who need what’s in Writing Down Your Soul, so Spirit’s job is to send them and my job is to say yes when they call.

So there I was yesterday, teaching small groups of school-weary teenagers what the theta brain wave state is and how to get into it through writing. After teaching the same thing for the third time, I was weary and wondered, “What am I doing here?” I could have gotten some sleep — and lord knows after teaching all weekend, I could use some sleep. I could have written a blog. I could have started my next newsletter… but here I am, talking to kids, most of whom don’t appear to want to do this anyway.

But there was one young woman who cried when she wrote. She didn’t say anything, just smiled sadly. She came back three hours later as I was leaving. I thrust my copy of Writing Down Your Soul in her hands. Last night, she emailed. She said she couldn’t put the book down. She was devouring it and underlining every other sentence. She said that that ten minute experience of deep soul writing awakened something. Now, she said, I want to “embrace a pen and never let it go.” When I read her email, I thought, oh, now I know why I said yes to Diana.

But it turns out I didn’t really know. Not fully. Jennifer Hill Robenalt, my heaven-sent media guru, sent me a video this morning with strict orders, “You have to watch this.” I watched.

I laughed for the first four minutes. Then, my eyes shot open and I burst into tears. Ellen found herself the same way the young woman at Blake is finding herself. The same way I found myself. The same way you are — or can — find yourself.

Your self is right there inside of you. Your vision, your purpose, your story — as it could be — no, as it will be. Ellen had a little chat with God on the page and found Ellen. And just look at what happened.

I needed a reminder today that Writing Down Your Soul matters. Here it is.

How did you (or are you) finding your self? I’d love to know. We’d all love to know.