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Jill Jepson's Blog

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Jul.29.2013
“Imagine the writing process as a heart pumping blood,” writes Alice W. Flaherty in The Midnight Disease. Flaherty is a physician and author who studies the biology of creativity and, especially, all the complex things that go into the urge and ability to write. Her heart metaphor offers a fresh...
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Jul.26.2013
Zen teacher Charlotte Joko Beck calls them “concepts”: mental images of the way we think things should be. Another word for them is “shoulds.” Everyone is plagued by these stress-inducing demons, and writers are no exception. Most of us spend our entire writing careers thinking about what we ...
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Jul.24.2013
Concepts and “Shoulds” “To fulfill our concepts we’ll ruin families, nations, anything,” writes Charlotte Joko Beck  in Everyday Zen. “All wars are based on concepts, some ideology that a nation says is the Truth.” A concept is a mental image of the way we believe things should be.To...
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Jul.22.2013
I love the word “storycatcher.” For me, it says what we writers actually do. Not create stories. Not think them up. But wait for them. Nurture them when they come to us. Release them when they are ready. But what happens when they don’t come? When we feel like we’re walking through a story desert,...
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Jul.17.2013
Failure: the very word makes us shudder. And yet most writers—even successful ones—face a lot of it. I know both sides of the coin: I’ve collected my fair share of rejection letters and spent years on books that still sit unpublished on my hard drive, but I’ve also had dozens of articles and three...
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Jul.15.2013
I am not going to whitewash failure. It not only feels awful, in large doses, it can be debilitating. It can make you feel worthless and depleted. It can send a talented person off course—or even stop them completely. But, as most writers know, failure has hidden benefits. One thing that can help...
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Jul.12.2013
In the West, especially here in the U.S., we worship speed. You can’t watch TV for longer than a few minutes here without seeing an ad for a faster car, internet connection, or pizza delivery. Getting work done quickly isn’t thought of as a mere business advantage, but a virtue. “Slow” service at a...
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Jul.09.2013
“I want to write, but I don’t know where to start.” I have heard these words and ones like them dozens of times as I have coached and taught writers. I have known many aspiring writers who long to go to work on a novel or memoir, or even a single poem, and yet find themselves stuck because of that...
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Jul.03.2013
We all know what’s bad for our writing, right? Confusion, procrastination, fear. These are the things that plague us, torment us, block our creative process, and turn our writing to mush. We read blog posts about how to conquer them, we practice exercises to get around them, and we spend a lot of...
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Jul.02.2013
No matter what fans of The Secret might want to believe, thoughts don’t send vibrations into the air that affect the shape of reality. But they do have power: They influence the way we feel, how we see the world, the actions we take, and how we respond to people and events. Limiting,...
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Jun.27.2013
It seems these days, when writers aren’t talking about writing, they’re talking about social media. When to use it. How to use it. Whether it’s the greatest boon to writers since the personal computer or a plot to destroy what little dignity we have left. I’m often surprised at the number of...
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Jun.25.2013
Yesterday, I blogged about obstacles that aren’t. The ones we make up, magnify, imagine, or create. The little stumbling block we turn into the Great Wall of China. The crack in the sidewalk we see as the Grand Canyon. We all have them. For just one example from my own life, I once found myself on...
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Jun.24.2013
I spent three years trying to write a book proposal for Writing as a Sacred Path. The book was in good shape. I was proud of it. I felt I had something of value, and I longed to share it with the world. From September through May, when I teach, I would fiddle with it every chance I got. Then...
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Jun.21.2013
How do you deal with fear? There is a very simple answer to the question: You don’t. You don’t deal with fear. You don’t grapple with it. You don’t face it, conquer it, trample on it, or beat it into submission. What you do with fear is use it. I rather arrogantly assumed I had moved beyond the...
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Jun.18.2013
Yesterday, I posted about one of the most important things you can do to make your writing shine: Write with passion. Today, I’m going to write about a second way to add radiance to your writing: Authenticity. The authentic voice is the holy grail of writing. Passion isn’t a difficult thing to...
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