Downsizing your joy? Stop that. Let us be happy for you.


When I was 17 years old, a lovely English teacher told me to read Anna Karenina.

For those of you who aren’t literature dweebs, like me, Anna Karenina is an 832-page novel by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy.

It’s very tragic and very dense and very “complicated,” in that way that makes you think, “This book must be a lot smarter than me, because I don’t really get what’s happening.”

I read it. As instructed. And then I wrote an essay that probably included the words “thusly” and “heretofore” way too many times.

And then I grew up + started writing books of my own.

After I wrote my first novel — which I awkwardly shared with my mom, my dad, and just a handful of friends — at age twenty-two, the people who loved me said: “That’s amazing! You did it!”

I said, “Yeah, well … It’s not exactly Anna Karenina.”

After I got my first book published — a sweet little collection of ‘thank you’ notes, with illustrations — at age twenty-eight, the nice folks at my launch party said: “It’s so cute! Great job!”

I said, “Thanks, but … It’s not like it’s Anna Karenina.”

After my second book came out — a daily journal for couples to share, together — an interviewer asked me how on earth I was able to write it in just a couple of days.

I said, “C’mon. It’s just a little journal. There’s barely even any text, in it!”

And just recently, after releasing a sneak peek at my next book — a sultry erotic novel, loosely based on my real life — friends + fans have gushed, telling me, “It’s soooo hot! More! When? And how the hell did you write it in just three weeks?!”

To which I’ve replied, “Well, hey … It’s just mindless entertainment, right? No big deal.”

And then I remembered something a friend said to me, once, after watching me downsize my joy in front of a room full of people:

“Stop doing that,” she said. “We want to be happy for you, and … you’re making it harder.”

Oh. Right.

Thanks to her words, I’ve remembered:

The world needs Anna Karenina AND Fifty Shades of Grey AND Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood AND Beyonce’s latest album AND your blog AND my books AND your cousin Patricia’s open-mic night poetry, too.

Whatever you’re making?

And whatever you do?

Be happy.

Be proud.

And let us be happy with you.


PS. What have you made lately that you’re REALLY proud of? (Share, down below. And don’t you DARE diminish your glee!)


Tired of waiting? Great. Start creating.


A few moments ago, I finished up a writing project for one of my clients — some saucy language to announce the pilot episode of her brand new TV show, which is bursting into the world in, like, minutes.

My clients launch things all the time — shows, books, digital programs, product lines. That’s not particularly unusual.

What’s unusual — and extraordinary — about this particular woman’s story is that she waited seven years before she finally said:


“I’m done wishing + hoping + praying for a TV network to sweep me away like a Disney prince and make my dreams come true. No more waiting. Let’s start creating.”


So she hired a video production team, collaborated with me to outline the first season and write the promo script + sponsor pitches, got herself gussied up with hair + makeup, pushed through her resistance and pulled it OFF.


No more waiting. Just start creating.


It’s so simple. So true. So necessary to hear.

You don’t have to wait for a publisher to offer you a deal. Just write your damn book + get it out there.

You don’t have to wait until you’ve got Hollywood celebs on speed-dial. Just finish your screenplay, fly down to LA and start working every angle you’ve got.

You don’t have to wait until you’ve got an avalanche of readers + fans. Just start sharing your ideas. Change one person’s life, today. And maybe three people’s lives, tomorrow.

You don’t have to wait for true love to arrive. You can do that epic road-trip, that trip to Paris, that volunteer adventure in Cambodia … NOW.


You really, truly do NOT have to wait.

Every breath is a new chance to create.


You don’t need permission, approval, connections or a magical genie to open the door.

Just start. And then finish.


What are YOU waiting for?



PS. I’ve wanted to publish a work of fiction for almost ten years, and guess what? I’m done waiting around for “someone” to give me a “thumbs up.” I finally sat down + wrote my debut erotic novel in three weeks, flat.

The story is DONE — just running through a quick round of proofreading — and OOH! Here is a sneak peek.

Very, very soon … I’m self-publishing this baby. No parking, no waiting. Just delicious creating.


How to write a book. (See also: complete anything.)


Wants + dreams, scribbled inside a journal I wrote for Potter Style. Photo by Leslie.


Couple days ago, a Twitter pal popped a question, aimed at me + another writer whose work she admired:


“I really want to write a book but don’t know where to start. Please help!”


My reply?


“Start by writing it.”


A little blunt, I’ll admit.

But honestly … what else is there to say?

If you find yourself looping around the words “I really want to ___________,” over and over, but never progressing, the ONLY solution is to start doing ___________.

And if you can’t / shan’t / won’t do ___________, well … maybe you don’t really want ___________ as much as you thought.

Which is completely OK.

Wants + dreams change all the time.

But give yourself (and the rest of the world) a break, admit it, and move on to something you do want. Urgently. Arrestingly. Passionately.


“The best way to do it, is to do it!”
–Amelia Earhart



With that … I’m diving back into my latest passion project: a sultry erotic fiction novel about a writer + pastry chef, loosely based on my real life. (Think: 50 Shades with less bondage and more crème brulée.)

And on the subject of ‘how to write a book’ — or complete anything that tugs at your heart — that’s all I have to say.

Have a wildly productive day.



Craving s-p-a-c-e to focus on that One Big Project? Last call to write + play in a magical island paradise. (Meet me there.)



When the friendly folks at the Madeline Island School of the Arts reached out to me, and asked if they could host one of my writing workshops in their space, my very first thought was:


“Gee, that’s very sweet. And flattering. But, um … who’s going to want to travel to an island in the middle of Lake Superior, to hang out with me?”


And then they sent over the photos.

And I thought:


“Oh. YES. I get it.”



My Write Yourself Into Motion workshop on Madeline Island is going to be … a little slice of wonderful.


It’s the longest workshop I’m teaching this year. Nice + spacious. 5 days, 4 nights.

It’s definitely the most serene + inspiring setting — an island in the Midwestern USA, close to the shores of Wisconsin.

I’ll be debuting some brand-new material.

We’ll all get a summertime tan.

It’ll be grand.

It’s also … a rather generous arrangement. Your registration will range from $1250 – $1450 — depending on your room selection — and that flat rate includes your sleeping quarters, breakfast + lunch each day, a wine + cheese reception AND small-group instruction with me. Not too shabby.

So, if …

: There’s a book burning inside of you.
: There’s an e-book or program that needs to be born.
: The language on your website needs some good lovin’.
: Or, you’re just craving some SPACE to sit down + focus on that One Big Project.

… I can’t think of a better place to do it.

The workshop is happening Sunday, May 18 – Thursday, May 22, 2014.

We kick off Sunday evening. We wrap up Thursday around noon.

Circle the dates + come get what you need.

If you’re IN, go HERE to register online or simply email [email protected], and they’ll sort you out. (Just takes a 25% down-payment to hold your spot, and our friends at MISA can even arrange an airport shuttle for you and make the whole journey silky-smooth.)


See you on the island.


I can’t wait to work, write + play with you — and give you a dose of momentum + speed.

And most of all, permission to stop over-thinking your writing — and just let it happen with ease.



Dreaming about leading a workshop or retreat? Here’s a checklist to keep it simple (for your brain) + gentle (on your heart).


Beautiful humans from last year’s workshop tour. First shot by Kyeli. Others by Catherine.


Want to teach something? Good. Then you definitely should.

You don’t have to be an expert. You don’t have to be a master.

You just have to know … a little bit more than the people you’re teaching.

Enough to save them a little bit of time, a little bit of confusion, a little bit of suffering. (A “little bit” is still a gift.)

Start with love. Keep it simple. Teach what you know + care deeply about.

You really can’t mess it up.

But if you’re (still) worried that you will … here’s a checklist to ease your mind + heart.


Step 1. Make sure you want this.

You think you want to teach a workshop, a class or retreat. And maybe you do.

Or maybe you’re just craving human connection. Or a sabbatical from your computer screen. Or a healthy dose of attention.

Maybe, really, you want to start a book club. Or throw a potluck dinner party. Or grind up against somebody cute at a dance club.

Whatever you want … is beautiful. Just be clear about what it actually … is.


Step 2. Find the space.

And if at all possible, find a space that’s free … or cheap.

Your backyard could be magical. Your mama’s living room could be perfect. Public parks are … open to the public.

If you’ve got a budget to work with, eVenues is a simple place to start your search. AirBnB works, too — particularly for cozy, slumber-party-style gatherings.

A pro tip: call a local hotel and say, “I have a group of ___ people. We need a conference room for ___ hours, and we’ll need food + beverages, too. Do you allow people to book board rooms in exchange for meeting a food / bev minimum? If so, what’s the dollar amount we’d need to hit?” They may be happy to work out a deal. And you’ll essentially get a “free” venue, in exchange for buying food. Which you probably would have bought anyway. You’re welcome.


Step 3. Decide what it’s “all about.”

Don’t overthink it, or feel like you’ve got to overexplain it.

Maybe your workshop is all about … squishing your toes in the mud + learning how to take photos in the rain. Because water from the sky is amazing, and making art feels good.

Or maybe your workshop is all about … learning how to write love poems that make people blush.

Who gets excited about complicated, endlessly-long, brain-hurting curriculums? No one.

The simpler your concept, the better.


Step 4. Surrender to whatever it wants to be.

Even with the best venue, the best concept, the best of intentions (and promotions) … ultimately?

Whatever’s going to happen is going to happen.

I’ve had workshops sell out in less than three hours — with a waiting list. And I’ve had workshops I couldn’t fill to save my life.

I’ve led workshops that felt like sensual, poetic jamfests. And I’ve led workshops that felt like get ‘er done motivational crank-a-thons.

I’ve taught workshops where nearly everybody cried. And ones were we couldn’t stop giggling. And ones where people (literally) burst out singing.

You can’t force the sales. You can’t force the feeling. You can’t force … anything, really.

All you can do is set the stage + come prepared to share.

The very best thing you can do? Is actually care about the people who are there.


Step 5. Be humble + be generous.

There are 365 days in a year, 24 hours in a day, and infinite things we can all do with our time.

When a fellow human is willing to spend a portion of their LIFE in your company — giving YOU their full attention — that’s an honor.

Be humble + be generous.

Give them something to remember.



P.S. Workshops. You like ‘em. I teach ‘em.

My 2014 Write Yourself Into Motion tour is in full swing, with 3 countries and 10+ cities … and a sparkly, fresh + simpler curriculum. (Yep. Debuting some new material. ‘Tis different from last year.)

Write Yourself Into Motion is a place for people who don’t write as much as they’d like, as well as they’d like, as fast as they’d like.

It is especially wonderful for business owners, bloggers, aspiring authors, or anyone with a big mission that’s tricky to put into words.

Here’s everything you want to know: (Thank you + I can’t wait to meet you. Or meet you, again.)