A Halloween Writing Challenge

Oct 29, 2019

Dear Writerly Woman,

As Halloween approaches and the days grow ever darker, I've been drawn more and more to the magical side of myself.

This is the part of me that loves picking oracle cards, engaging in magical meditation, and doing cacao ceremonies.

A couple years ago I wrote a piece on Samhein, which is the Celtic pagan festival that happens on October 31.

I just re-read the piece and had to share it here (below). It's a sweet invitation to experience the magic of the thinning veil between the worlds.

I also offer you a fun Halloween writing challenge in today's postscript. Hit reply to this email and let me know how it goes. I love celebrating your creativity!! Or, if you're feeling extra brave, share your Halloween piece in The Hearth & Pen, our kind and safe community for writerly women.



Of Samhein and Other Worlds 

Originally written in October 2017

The nights are getting longer. My cozy pajamas have come out, and I am craving drawing inward to other...

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Sad Days

Oct 26, 2019

Dear Writerly Woman,

I feel sad today, and I don't know what I'm sad about.

Does that ever happen to you?

Some days I wake up and sadness is flowing through me.

I hardly ever know what I'm sad about.

But here's what I do know.

I learned from Karla McLaren in The Art of Empathy that the gift of sadness is it helps you release what no longer serves you.

I also learned from Martha Beck in Steering By Starlight that there are two types of pain: clean pain and dirty pain.

Clean pain is when you experience pain from something real that happens. And the pain, though it hurts, doesn't make you go into deep existential suffering, because the pain is a true thing about you in that moment.

Dirty pain is when you experience pain from something that is not true. This is the kind of pain that is angsty, blah, yuckness. It's like the pain you feel you when you think something terrible, but totally untrue, about yourself.

Today, my sadness feels like clean pain.

It's not causing my...

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Doing This Can Change Your Writing Life

Oct 23, 2019

Dear Writerly Woman,

Do you wonder if you'll ever write?

Like, you probably wrote stories or poetry when you were young, and you always thought you would write when you were older, but it just hasn't happened?

And maybe you're starting to think it will never happen?

I want you to know that I know this particular pain, or, rather, I know it as a sense of dried up, withered numbness.

That's how it was for me.

A few years back, when I had a Dull Gray Cubicle job and I wasn't doing any creative work at all, I had stuffed my desire to write so far away that I didn't even feel it anymore.

I went numb inside. I gave up hope that life would ever get interesting, that I would ever write a book, or that I would ever feel like my soul wasn't dying.

It was so freaking hard.

This kind of numbness sucks.

But here's the deal with creativity - the thing I want you to know.

There is always a choice.

No matter how numb you feel, at any moment, you can decide to write.

In fact, you could put pen to...

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Why I'm Taking a BIG Break From Social Media

Oct 20, 2019

Dear Writerly Woman,

I took a week-long break from social media a couple weeks ago. During that week, I emailed a series of letters to you about writing in peace, but I didn't post anything on my social media pages.

And you know what?! It was the best. thing. ever!!!

Writing to you without posting more online gave me a sense of inner quiet I haven't experienced in a long time.

It felt like the quiet you experience in the woods on an autumnal day, or the soft quietness that comes after meditation or getting a massage.

I was free from the cacophony of social media, and it was wonderful.

Now, I'll say right up front that I'm usually a big fan of platforms like Instagram and Facebook Groups.

I'm into the high energy play that can happen there, and I love the sense of connecting to a giant community.

But after my week-long social media break was done, I couldn't stop thinking about that beautiful quietude. I wanted more of it. A lot more.

In this gorgeous season...

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Draw Yourself Closer to the Fire, Dear One

Oct 18, 2019

Dear Writerly Woman,

Listen closely.

Draw yourself closer to the fire, dear one.

It is time to speak some truths of hearth fires and fairy tales.

In all of us there are the beating heart, the yearning, and the light.

Sink in.

Sink down.

Go way down into your belly.

It is there that many truths abide.

The truths of candle light and darkness and torture and breaking free.

Our bellies hold our deepest stories.

Imagine your belly as a bowl, it is full of all the vastness of life.

And imagine this bowl tipping, overflowing when you laugh by fires and tell your stories and share your precious words.

And then imagine your bowl filling back up as you breathe and live and feel and your heart beats and the sun rises and sets and your bowl gets filled with all the things of life.

It gets so full that once again it overflows into your journal, into conversations with friends, onto social media pages and into books and poetry.

Being a storyteller means tending to this bowl, this belly...

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Why The 8 Hour Work Day Does Not Apply To Writing

Oct 03, 2019

Dear Writerly Woman,

I went to the redwoods last week to take a deep creative inhale.

Have you ever done this?

Here's how it works:

In the middle of a creative process, when you've been writing and putting a lot of yourself onto the page, you stop what you're doing, go outside, and purposefully take in the world around you. You Inhale.

I walked around the redwood trail, letting my thoughts flow freely, instead of focusing on sentences and words.

I said hi to the trees. I drank a cup of hot cacao. I breathed. I let my mind and my heart stretch out.


Writing is a focused endeavor, where I put what is within me into the world, ie. I creatively exhale.

I can only write for so long, an hour tops, because after that my writing can feel like I'm trying to exhale twice in a row without inhaling.

It can feel forced and stagnant.

This is when I walk away from my project. I putter around the house or go for a walk. I open my focus.

When I return to my...

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A Mini-Pep Talk For When You Feel Unqualified To Write

Sep 27, 2019

Dear Writerly Woman,

This week's post is a mini-pep talk for when you're scared your writing idea isn't good enough, doesn't qualify as real writing, or is doomed to fail because it doesn't follow expert opinions.

Here is what I want you to know:

When it comes to your authentic self expression, there is no one more qualified than you.

You are the expert on your own voice, your unique point of view, and your writing style.

You are the only one who gets to decide if your writing is right for you.

The next time you're scared to write, say these three sentences to yourself, and begin anyway.

  1. I am the authoritative expert on my own voice, my unique point of view, and my writing style.
  2. I hereby grant myself permission to write exactly what I want to write and how I want to write it.
  3. I've got this.

You can do it. I believe in you.





P.S. I would love for you to join my Facebook Group, Hearth & Pen: A Community For Writerly...

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3 Steps To Stop Procrastinating and Start Writing

Sep 20, 2019

Dear Writerly Woman,

Do you ever find yourself sitting down to write, but instead going to the kitchen to grab something to eat or to the couch to turn on the TV?

Do you ever beat yourself up about this, wishing you could stop procrastinating and start writing?

Today, I want to share my best suggestions for how you can break free from this cycle, because I know how painful it can be.

I hate feeling like a failure because once again I watched an hour of Netflix instead of writing.

I hate the feeling that my writing won't ever get done, because I just can't get myself to sit down and type.

Here are 3 steps I take whenever I find myself avoiding writing. They help me calm my fear, so I can get more words on the page with more ease.

Try them out the next time you sit down to write!


Step 1: Acknowledge what's really going on

I've beat myself up a lot for procrastinating, wondering why I can't just force myself to write, especially when I get deep into avoiding a...

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How Getting Words On The Page Can Change Your Life

Sep 06, 2019

Dear Writerly Woman,

Writing my first blog post was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.

Up until that point, writing had always been on the periphery for me. 

Yes, I loved literature and was a devoted English major.

Sure, now and again a story would fly through me, get recorded on a Word Doc, and end up lost somewhere on my computer.

And, yeah, my bosses always complimented me on my ability to write a clear and concise email.

But writing, like the kind of writing I dreamed of doing, was something I put off for the future.

I knew I wanted to write someday, but I had no idea when that someday would be.


Four years ago, I found myself creating an online business and decided to start things off with a blog.

This was the first truly vulnerable writing I had done, maybe ever.

With all my English majoring and dreaming about writing, I hadn't once considered how terrifying it would feel to put my truth on the page.

I sat in front of the...

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When You Discover You're The Swan

Aug 29, 2019

Dear Imaginative & Writerly Woman,

When I was a kid, I talked a lot. Like, a LOT.

I didn't get great feedback about this.

Mostly there was a lot of sighing and "Emma, please stop talking," and "I'll seriously PAY you if you just PLEASE STOP TALKING!!!"

I couldn't do it. I loved talking way too much!


Looking back, I can see what I loved was expressing myself.

There were so many interesting things to think about, to notice, and to see.

It was invariably interesting to me to talk and talk about all the things!

As I got older, however, I started to feel the shame of all the awkward social situations created by my talking.

Whenever I talked about what I had been thinking about or what I was interested in, I always got weird looks from my peers and adults alike.

I remember being a teenager, lying in bed at night, and wishing I could stop saying so many embarrassing things.

You know how sometimes people ask what problems keep you up at night?

Well, figuring out how to...

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Do What You Are Meant To Do


For when you're totally freaking out about being stuck in your Dull Gray Cubicle job forever!!!