Discover your natural gifts and a wealth of inner material to keep you creating

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Do you ever find yourself staring at a blank page or canvas or stage, wondering what to create next? Do you sometimes feel that all your old subjects and approaches have run dry and you don’t know where to turn for new ideas?

In this essay I will share with you a fascinating theory of time and how this relates to what I call the three great treasure-houses of inspiration for all artists.

With this, you can discover what kind of artist you are — how you tick, what makes you most inspired and brings out your best work — and how best to ignite your creativity and also grow in your art. …

Cultivate your mastery of these to write powerful poetry

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Photo by Susan Holt Simpson on Unsplash

The basic units of poetry are the word, the line, and the stanza. These are the building blocks that make a poem. By developing a strong feeling and deep understanding of each of these, you develop your mastery as a poet.

So, let’s take a good look at each of these building blocks.

Casting spells with words

A word is a collection of letters that forms a unit of meaning. A word may have many meanings and usages, both denotative and connotative.

The denotative meanings are the literal definitions of the word that you can find in the dictionary. They arise out of its etymological roots, the origins of the word. By studying these roots, you can get a deeper appreciation for the denotative meanings and the ancient currency they carry. …

How to heal yourself and your relationships of these toxic twins

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Photo by Gus Moretta on Unsplash

Among the panoply of human emotions, there are two that are profoundly toxic to our well-being and the well-being of others: blame and shame.

What do I mean by toxic? They act like poisons in our bodies, hearts, and minds. They poison us, they poison our relationships, and they poison our world.

But, we have a choice about how much we indulge in these toxic emotions or not.

Let’s look at what gives rise to them, how they work, and how to unravel them so that we can start feeling better and healing our world now.

Born or bred?

Almost all of us feel blame and shame at times. I don’t know if these feelings are innate or only learned, but I do…

A blockbusting tool for generating new writing, plus revision steps to make it shine

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from 123RF

Recently, I wrote an essay about my experience going to hear well-known author Pam Houston give a reading and taking a workshop with her the next day.

I share Pam Houston’s unique process for generating new writing and then structuring finished books out of those raw materials. You can read it here.

This got me to thinking about my own generative process and how I go from generating new writing to creating a finished piece.

I rely on a host of different generative processes for creating new work, depending partly on the type of writing I am doing — poetry, essays or fiction — and partly on my desires and needs at the time. …

A simple, daily, 4-step plan for staying sane and inspired in trying times

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Benjamin Combs on Unsplash

In these extraordinary and challenging times, the arts offer much-needed solace, connection, upliftment and inspiration.

Fortunately, many artists and arts organizations are making all sorts of offerings available for free online right now. So, just because you can’t go out doesn’t mean you cannot stay inspired and connected to the gifts that only art can give.

But I also want to address some practical things you can do to keep your spirits up and navigate this unprecedented time well.

In this post, I have collected a bunch of resources to help you stay well, sane and inspired. Read on!

A Simple Four-Step Plan for Balance and Well-Being

I called one of my neighbors, who lives alone and is retired, this past weekend to check on how she is doing during the Shelter In Place order. …

and entice their inspiration to strike more often

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by Dmitrii Shironosov on 123rf

Resistance to Routine

Many artists resist routines. They rebel against structures and systems. They don’t want to be confined or told what to do, even by themselves.

They want to live freely and spontaneously.

But often this resistance is actually masking fear and robbing them of creativity and fulfillment.

They fear they won’t have new, good ideas. Or that their work really isn’t good or won’t be accepted by others. Or they fear that if they really go for their big dreams, they will be disappointed and crushed, or will fail and look like a fool.

Sometimes, an unhealthy, unconscious love of drama is also at work in the worship of spontaneity and the resistance to structure and routine. By keeping their lives in a state of upheaval and chaos, they don’t have to look too closely within themselves, face their doubts and fears, or really go for the big dreams they have for their lives. …

The challenges and gifts of a creative life (and the costs of not answering the call)

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Photo by Felix Koutchinski on Unsplash

You set out on a journey of heart, following an inner calling, a desire, a need, a longing to be creative.

The destination is not certain. The results are far from guaranteed, the dangers real. But you must go. Your heart calls you.

Those who ignore the call do so at great peril and cost to themselves, to others and to our world. Deep inside, you know this.

But still you are afraid, terribly afraid. The comforts of the known and familiar, of your idle pleasures and bad habits, are so alluring.

The nasty voices inside, the doubt, the critic, are so loud and convincing. …

Surprisingly wise instructions from a nursery rhyme

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Image by Mabel Amber on Pixabay

Row, row, row your boat,

Gently down the stream,

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily.

Life is a but a dream.

These familiar lyrics offer surprisingly clear, wise guidance on how to live our best lives.

My husband, Dr. Don Williams, gave a talk on this some years ago. I want to share the gist of his insight and expand on the verse as it relates to living your dreams and walking your heart path to fulfillment, freedom, contribution and joy.

Row, row, row your boat

To live your best life, you do have to row. To row and row and row.

In other words, keep going, keep doing your part. Take consistent action on behalf of your dreams and what matters most to you. …

Tools to generate and structure new work, plus what upset me

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by Bogdan Dum on Unsplash

A couple of weeks ago I went to a talk and reading by much-loved author Pam Houston and then took her writing workshop the next day.

I came away inspired, with her latest memoir, Deep Creek, under my arm, and new tools to use and teach, but I was also troubled.

Houston is an engaging storyteller, a riveting writer, and a warm, vulnerable human being. …

You have the power within you

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by Allinoch on Pixabay

Love is what we are. It is what all things are made of in their essence. It is not outside of us, something we have to get and grasp, something we can lose.

But it is easy to lose touch with the awareness of love. It’s easy to feel unloved or unloving, fearful or bad. And when we do, life doesn’t flow very well.

Love is right here, available to us in every moment, with every breath. It is all around us and within us. And it is the most potent medicine for anything that ails us.

So, how do we tap that reality, especially when we are feeling low? How do we return to love when it seems distant? …


Maxima Kahn

Poet, author, firekeeper, creativity wizard. Powerful tools and inspiration for your creative soulful life @

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