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November 2020

Treatment Plan #5: Allowing Positive Patterns

SkeliHappy Day After Thanksgiving weekend, insanely interesting Writerly Women. Do I even need to say that I am insanely grateful for you and this community? It is indeed one of the most valuable treasures I have discovered this year, and I hold you all close to me. I hope Thursday  found you feasting in some way, despite the restrictions we're all having to observe. Maybe it lends to more quiet gratitude, yes? (But for heaven's sake, I hope you had some mashed potatoes and gravy. Not to is unAmerican. I hope Skeli, Natasha, Emii and Colleen, who are in non-U.S. countries, also dished up some and gave thanks!) 

As we reflect on the celebration, we don't necessarily want to dwell on those limited patterns we talked about in our last post, important as they are. Go ahead and give yourself a break before you get back to getting deep into yourself and discovering the root of what keeps you stuck in patterns that prevent you from writing. A few of you have already done that --

   AMALIE says the biggest pattern she's uncovered so far is not giving herself space, not disciplining herself. to stay in one place. She learned to multitask for survival in her childhood, but that is not healthy for an Enneagram 5. (If you're not familiar with the Ennagream, you might want to put The Road Back to You by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile on your Christmas list. It's a wonderful introduction to the concepts Amalie has studied in depth.) It moves her into a scattered place, a place of conflict between doing something she wants to do and doing what she "should" do, and launches her into some ADHD! We'll get back to Amalie in a moment.  

EMII shares that one of her patterns is that having a dream is a lot more attractive to her than a reality. So, why would she plunge into a second draft when she likes the idea of being a published author better than that possibly actually HAPPENING? Another thing that makes it difficult is simply not knowing what to do. This past year she had a writing goal each day and she wrote her words every single morning. (now THAT is impressive ...)  But now that the first draft is done, she doesn't know how to show up at her desk each day because trying to fix a draft is a lot harder than smashing out a thousand words. It feels like a waste of time, to be honest. She can't see any progress, so why would she do it? EMII will want to go a little deeper and see where that pattern comes from. Is it fear of success for some reason? That isn't uncommon. Praying for you, Em, as you take a deep breath and go on in. Emii

It takes a while to (a) discover your patterns and (b) find out where they come from. I'm not suggesting that you should have accomplished that after reading one post! When I say " a while" I'm not talking just days or even weeks, though some of you may slide into this more quickly because you've done a lot of self-examination before. And even once you use some of the techniques we talked about in our last post to get to the root of the issue, just naming it doesn't resolve it. 

When you DO have an epiphany about this -- God being an inherent part of the process -- what do you do about it? You can't change the root. If you had a critical parent, for instance, or a series of hard-nosed teachers or you experienced any kind of trauma that forced you to find a way to protect yourself, you can't make that go away. It happened and it is part of you. 

But it doesn't have to drive the bus.

How, then, do we get a limiting pattern out of the driver's seat? Again, we don't want to jump ahead and start fixing when we don't have a complete picture of the problem. But the day before a major holiday, a time of focusing on giving thanks, I think it's appropriate to consider something positive. And that is this ...

Changing a negative, self-limiting pattern involves replacing it with a positive one.

This is not the same as distracting yourself. You can't get yourself to write so you go out for a caramel machiato and a cinnamon bun -- that's not a new, positive pattern. That's part of the old one. Delicious as it may be and as lovely as it feels at the moment, it doesn't get you closer to working on your project. It actually takes you farther away.

Nor is it the same as spiritual bypassing. Shrugging your shoulders and saying, Now that I have confessed my pattern, God will transform me and I'll know when I'm ready to get back to the keyboard. This is a partnership between us and God. Jesus never said, "You just sit there, eyes closed, and I'll do a total healing." He said "Follow me." "Take up your cross and follow me." "Pick up your mat and start walking."

AmalieA positive pattern to replace a negative one looks like this for Amalie:

    * She GIVES herself intentional permission to carve out time to write

    * She ELIMINATES distractions

    * She HIDES her to do list in a file cabinet in her brain

Those are ACTIVE steps. Creating new patterns requires us to DO something.

SKELI, who is represented by that awesome picture at the top of this post, named two of her writing challenges (i.e. patterns) as I suck at endings and I write epic monsters, like 900-pagers. She has begun to create a new pattern by truly looking deeply at what she KNOWS to be true so she can get to the end of the story. These are a few of the truths on her list:

           * There is grace available even for monsters; even for the worst, creepiest, vilest human. It is a spark inside us wired right into our DNA, a flaming wire along every nerve. We can't throw it out no matter how hard we try.

  •     *But to understand this, we have to let go the idea of punishment, of the savour of vengeance for wrongs done by others, or to us, or done ourselves.
  •     *The truth is people wither under shame, and rise under love.
  • We need to see and promote the good in each other, and stop giving voice to the ugly. To quote Star Wars: "That's how we're gonna win. Not fighting what we hate, saving what we love."
  • The good is attractive all by itself. All we have to do is clear the garbage and show it.
  • So much energy is wasted assigning blame, scoping the borders of an offence. That solves nothing.
  • Simply sweep up the debris, repair the damage and move on to building the next good thing, uncovering the next treasure.
  • There are some things we can only learn in the storm, in pain. It sucks, but there it is.
  • There are some questions that don't get answered here. Why is often one of them, and the answer doesn't matter anyway. We only need to know why when we have no one to trust, no one who loves us, no one who cares. If God is who He says He is, this is never the case.
  • Sometimes pain is so great there is nothing to be done, except be with the one suffering. No words are required, just a willingness to be there in it, helpless, and knowing there is no fixing it. But there nonetheless.

I think she can write that ending now.

Are you up for another challenge, even if you aren't quite there with the last one? If so, here you go:

What is the opposite of your root-driven pattern?

What one thing can you do to take that opposite action?

An example might help:

    NEGATIVE PATTERN:  I get stuck in "I haven't written anything for the general market since the 1980's.  I might be "too old. I'm basically starting over when most of my friends are collecting Social Security and playing with their grandchildren and taking up watercolor. Maybe I'll create an awesome writing lesson for Maeryn or make yet another writing schedule. At least I know I can do that.

    ROOT OF THE PATTERN: For a number of reasons, I grew up believing that being loved was conditional on doing something spectacularly well. In fact, doing a lot of things spectacularly well. It doesn't take Sigmund Freud to see the link between that belief and the negative pattern.

    OPPOSITE OF THE PATTERN: Not doing it spectacularly well. Just doing it for fun.

    POSITIVE REPLACEMENT PATTERN: I have ABANDONED the idea of being published again. I CREATE ways for my work on my novel to be fun. I WRITE in a journal before and after a session (because I love journaling.) I RECAPTURE the week of purely living the writing life when I was in Concord in as many ways as possible -- wonder walks, coffee/tea/Matcha as rituals, time to savor every word, every image, every piece of dialogue because I don't have any deadlines, only alive lines. Orchard Houser

Is it hard to stick with that? Actually no, because those are all things I WANT to do. Things I LOVE to do. And, ironically, they are things I do WELL. I do NOT love combing the market for trends, researching agents, reading blogs about how to write a killer query letter, or talking about the dismal chances of actually getting a book in print. Will I need to do those things later? Probably -- but as long as they interfere with the joy of writing right now, I'm not going there.

After all, I am driving the bus.

And so are you.

Now that the turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie have been digested, do a little dreaming and share a possible positive pattern with us. I'll be so grateful.


Nancy Rue     


Treatment Plan #4: Get To the Root

          Asher plannerHey, Insanely Interesting Writerly Women (our name keeps getting longer! ) You provided so many pertinent topics during our Zoom session Saturday, for a minute I didn't know what to use first. I decided that the subject of scheduling time to write is a logical place to start.

    After making that choice, there is nothing else logical about "making time to write."

    We think it has to be logical and organized, and why wouldn't we? The picture you see here was taken by one of the girls on my TEEN BLOG several years ago. She couldn't have been more than 15, and she was clearly a gifted artist, but she had the whole make-a-plan-and-stick-to-it thing down to a science. She lived in China (if I remember correctly) and had an Asian mom and a British dad, so there was a natural propensity there to be precise. But she was -- and is -- not unlike the rest of us who are surrounded by the pressure to plan. Go into any craft store -- like Joann, Michael's or Hobby Lobby -- not to mention the calendar section at Target, Barnes and Noble, Wal-Mart -- heck, even Dollar General -- and you'll find a full display of planners, stickers, stamps and books on how to put it all together. We can't just insert our important dates on Outlook anymore -- we have to make it look good enough to post on Instagram.

We're surrounded by information about making the most of our days. I don't know about you, but I've read more books on time management than I care to admit now. Not all of them had titles like Getting Things Done (it's an actual book). Some have been geared to the creative mind -- Cultivate What Matters, for instance. I've even picked up ideas from some of them that have stayed with me, but for the most part none of these systems is sustainable unless you have a full-time personal assistant to keep the thing flowing. I'm sure I would drive that poor person nuts. Cultivate

Here's the thing: whether you're a natural planner like me or you would rather chew glass than make a daily schedule or you fall somewhere in between, what goes on a calendar doesn't always apply to things creative.  How, then, do we write on a regular basis?  I'd write a book called  Getting Your Writing Done, but I don't think it would be any more effective than Nike's "Just do it!"

The reason is that creating a writing schedule and trying to stick to it is an act of WILL, and I'm learning that willing yourself to do something. Does. Not. Work. As one of my yoga teachers says flat out: "Accountability is for amateurs." Sure, you can force yourself to do something once. Maybe twice. Perhaps even three times, but you won't do it regularly.

    That's why New Year's Resolutions are forgotten in a week, if you get that far with them.

    That's why most diets don't stick.

    That's why year long Bible studies  can go by the wayside.

    That's why anything you make yourself do is doomed to failure. 

Let's look for a moment at why some diets do result in weight loss and some studies of Scripture become habitual and certain people can quit drinking, go off drugs  or give up an unhealthy relationship for good. It happens because the person WANTS to do it. If a gal gets a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, she WANTS to shed those pounds so she doesn't, I don't know ... DIE! If  a woman realizes she's lost and only God can restore her to sanity, she WANTS to dive into that Bible and find her truth. If someone hits rock bottom and there is no one there to pull her out but AA, she WANTS to go to 90 meetings in 90 days. 

The situation doesn't have to be that drastic for this very basic principle to apply: we do what we truly WANT to do.

"I WANT to write!" you may be wailing (and weeping and gnashing your teeth). "So why don't I?"

We've established that we can't make ourselves do something for very long, even if we want that end result. What then, do we do? We find out WHY. We discover what exactly is standing between us and that thing we long for. And we do that by processing the patterns.

The best way I can explain that is with an example from my own situation.

    * I closed my mentoring business for a number of reasons, one of which was that I WANTED to return to my own writing. 

    * Once I had the space and time, I reworked my entire outline, reorganized my office and turned it into a studio and made a master plan on my giant vision board. That took four months.

    *  I wrote during that time, though not with the intensity I'd planned. Stuff kept niggling at me. The feedback I got from Donald Maass, which while encouraging wasn't the "Let me be your agent" I'd secretly hoped for. The fact that I haven't written anything for the general market since the 1980's. The creeping doubt that I might be "too old." The realization that I'm basically starting over when most of my friends are collecting Social Security and playing with their grandchildren and taking up watercolor. Yeah, I WANTED to write. But some days it was easier to create an awesome writing lesson for Maeryn or make yet another plan. 

   Melissa * And then because a health issue demanded it, I started working with a yoga therapist, who did a whole lot more than design a practice for me so I could get rid of a two-year headache. I'll spare you all the details, but this marvelous Indian-American woman raised Jain has helped me come closer to my God and to myself than I thought possible. We have uncovered my patterns of shame and the need to be "special" -- my sense of not-enoughness and my endless striving to be worthy -- my fear that I may be a fraud and my constant search for my true self. I still work with Melissa, and I'm enrolled in a year-long program to deepen my yoga. The result is a better understanding of the teachings of Jesus and the realization that all that "stuff" is my false self desperate to spare me from humiliation and failure.

    * I retired in November 2019. This genuine shift became apparent in August 2020. That was when I revived our blog. When I shaped a writing rhythm that has been working for me ever since. When I started keeping a writing journal so I can clearly see when those old patterns are creeping in. Because the patterns are never completely gone. We can just get better at recognizing them when they try to drive the bus.   

I'm not saying that you should all find a therapist, a counselor or a spiritual director to help you get down to the patterns that are keeping you from doing what you want to do -- although none of those is a bad idea. In fact, if you start digging deep and discover something really upsetting, getting that kind of help is essential. But most of the time we can take steps on our own to begin to uncover what's holding us back. 

Want to try some?

    1. I recommend going to God in whatever way you best connect to the Divine and laying the whole thing out. Journaling works for me. I can hear Pam shuddering at the very thought, and if you can relate to that, you might go with praying out loud while you walk or hike, using prayer beads to focus your attention or even drawing what you're feeling. Those are all ways of asking God to reveal the blockages.

  2. You may find one, perhaps two patterns. I discovered four. I don't suggest dealing with them all at once, but one by one. Spend as much time as you need to writing about that pattern, visualizing it, observing it in yourself. Awareness won't automatically erase it, but unless we are conscious of what we're doing (or not doing!), we have no hope of its being changed.

 3. Process with another person. My friends Loretta and Kacky and Zondra are my go-to gals, as well as my daughter Marijean. (My husband is amazing, but he wants to fix. Men do that.) Sometimes we don't know exactly what we're feeling until it comes out of our mouths. And wisdom can come out of THEIR mouths unexpectedly. It's a divine conversation, with God being a third party.  It was Kacky who pointed out that I am harder on myself than any other human being she has ever known. Loretta taught me about sitting in adoration of God, without asking anything; who knew the fruits of that could be so sweet? My daughter says things like, "You've been doing it this way for over fifty years. It's going to take a minute to change." Mj writing

4. Once you're well acquainted with the obstacle, you can dialogue with it (this is where it gets woo-woo, but bear with me). Give it a name. Write a script between the two of you. Tell it that it has served you well in the past but you're trying something different now.  The point is to be very, very gentle with yourself .

Notice that none of those steps involves your WILL. You don't have to make yourself do anything. Change will happen -- and we'll talk more about that in posts to come. For now, how about a challenge?

See if you can uncover just ONE pattern that keeps you from doing what you WANT to do, which is write.

For example:

I know it isn't going to be perfect, and imperfect makes me feel like a loser.

It feels selfish to write, but if I get everything else done first, I won't feel guilty.

I'm afraid if I do sit down to write, nothing will come, and then I'll know I'm not really a writer.

There's no guarantee this will go anywhere, and I can't do failure. I just can't.


There is no pressure to share that with us, but I hope you can trust this community enough to put it out there. I guarantee you that you will not be alone in thinking, feeling and fearing whatever it is. Are you up for it?



Nancy Rue



Zoom Follow-up

Andrea 2Hey, Writerly Women! Saturday's Zoom session with GLORIA, LORRIE, NATASHA, EMII, COLLEEN, ANDREA, LILY, JENNY, AMALIE, JENNIFER and MARGIE was quite meaningful -- at least for me! -- and I hope those of you who couldn't make it can join us next time -- in January. Many of you sent me emails saying how awesome it was to put faces and voices with names, which draws us even closer together as a community. Yes, we will do this again.

I want to start my review of the session by giving a huge thanks to ANDREA. I asked her to write down some of the quotes that came out of the Insanely Interesting Women as we talked, but Andrea took her recordings to another level and sent me an entire summary of our time together. Good on ya, Geology Lady. Couldn't have said it better myself...

We each shared an object or a thought that keeps us going with our writing. GLORIA'S was the Writer's Block she made at our last YWW in Glen Eyrie, and on it she wrote: "There is someone who needs this, and sometimes that person is you." That dovetailed nicely with AMALIE'S intention to simply write what she's learning, honoring her journey, without thinking about publishing. We all agreed that whatever it is you use to help you remain "on task" needs to be something that provides that shift from all the other stuff of life to this creative thing we're doing. The object or small ritual is especially useful when your writing space is also your kitchen, your workspace or the spot where you home school your kids. The aforementioned Writer's Block works, as does lighting a candle, turning on the playlist created specifically for your creative time or writing in a journal. Writing journal cover   

We talked next about how the blog has been useful to each of us and what we like about the set-up in general. Far and away the consensus was that here on Doorways we find a sense of community. As someone said -- was it COLLEEN, perhaps? - "It feels like a tribe." We are no longer isolated. We can process our thoughts with other writers without fear of judgement. Even when life interrupts and you have to be away from the posts for a while, you can come back, pick up where we are and still feel a part of the group.

Some of the most valuable input came from the questions each Insanely Interesting writer asked. From there we formulated a list of future topics, challenges and chances to showcase our work.

In terms of process --

    * What to do when your old process doesn't work. How do you find a new one? (GLORIA)

    * Marrying your journey, the one you're writing about, to where you want your reader to be. (AMALIE)

    * How to transition from one project to another when you have multiple pieces going simultaneously (LORRIE)

   Colleen * How to choose the projects you really want to do, especially when you feel like you're running out of time. COLLEEN put it beautifully: "What is my Holy Obligation?"

    * Finishing what we start (ALL OF US!)    

    * How to quiet your mind and write when the world around you is in chaos (MARGIE in a follow-up text)


The discouragement dilemma --

    * When so much of what we hear about publishing is negative, how do we keep writing through the discouragement? (ANDREA)

    * How to deal with REJECTION! How do we keep going with a project when everything seems to be going against it? (LILY)

    * The stamina vs. stuckness thing. (NATASHA)  JENNIFER suggested we discuss expanding our toolboxes to help here

    * Highlighting the positive. Remembering that we don't always know the positive effects our writing is having on readers (AMALIE) Amalie


To schedule or not to schedule --

    * Very few of you even try to schedule your writing time. much less stick to it. But how, then, do we get the writing done? (MARGIE)

    * Establishing a rhythm, which is different from a schedule (recommended reading: The War of Art) (NANCY)


 The market --

    * How to make the switch from the CBA (Christian market) to the ABA (General market) (LORRIE)

    * The differences between the two markets (LORRIE)

    * How to handle the issue of "platform" and the social media requirements imposed by many Christian agents and publishers (ANDREA)


The craft --

Gloria * Beginnings: how to start the story and introduce characters to an audience that doesn't know them, when you are intimately acquainted with them as the author (GLORIA)

    * The transition from the creative writing of an early draft to the editing of a final one  (LORRIE)

    * How to move from the first draft to the second draft; steps to making that process less intimidating (JENNY)


Possible changes in the blog itself --

   * My job is to slow down the challenges a little so I'm not providing too many opportunities in one week. Duly noted! (JENNIFER)

    * NATASHA suggested a forum of some kind so you can post questions and create discussion among you, rather than having to plow through all the comments. I'll look into that. Natasha

One of you (GLORIA?)  shared a marvelous quote from the new  Little Women movie:  "I like adventures," says Jo Marsh, "and I'm gonna find some." I don't know about you, but this community IS an adventure, and it inspires me to seek even more opportunities and challenges and fun forages into the unknown. I can't wait to sort out all these marvelous topics and create a way for us to look at each one thoroughly as part of our Treatment Plans.

If you have anything to add to the list please do, either in a comment or via an email to me. Whatever you suggest, I know it will be Insanely Interesting, because that's so you.



Nancy Rue




Insanely Interesting Preparation

AmalieHey, Writerly Women. Below you'll find a list of the things we've talked about here on the blog since its revival on August 28. One of the things I hope you'll share with us in tomorrow's Zoom session is what, if anything, has helped you the most in our discussions and challenges. Of course feel free to mention anything that isn't shown here. Sometimes the best stuff happens in a comment.

Here you go:

  •     * Expressing HOPE in our work, in our art and in ourselves. What hope are you expressing in your writing?
  •     * Our purpose here on the blog: To create community, give practical help with discovering individual process and provide spiritual support for the deeper writing and creating issues. How are we doing with that so far?
  •     * If not you, who? If not now, when? What won’t leave you alone that must come out in your writing?
  • Writing nekkid (naked). What if we wrote without editing and second-guessing? (The results of this exercise were amazing)
  • Being as humble as Hildegard. We each made an exhaustive, unedited list of the truths we want to tell. Again, the results were some of the best pieces of writing I’ve seen.
  • In more naked writing, we made lists of what we do WELL as writers. It was hard. Very hard. But you did it. Has it helped? Gloria
  • Sadly, it was easier to make nekkid lists of our challenges as writers. We went at that by asking, “What are we not seeing because we are seeing what we’re seeing?” We limited ourselves to five things. How are you doing with those challenges, ladies?
  • Once we’d diagnosed ourselves, we learned to “let go of the banana.” We wrote down ten expectations of ourselves as writers and of our writing careers, but we were only allowed to keep five – and those five had to be things over which we actually have control. Are you still letting go of those pointless bananas and only maintaining realistic intentions?
  • The next step in the Treatment Plan was to focus on our OWN intentions (our bamboo shoots) rather than being distracted by what other people are doing. Are you doing that? Or like the elephants are you swinging your trunk around all over the place? It’s worth doing a self-check.
  • Lily 2020That was followed by organizing ourselves to support our intentions – and that meant internal organization. Finding out why it’s hard to stick to a plan, why it’s difficult to claim time and space to write. We came up with baby steps. Have you taken yours? One at a time?
  • In setting intentions, we had to be careful to set “alive-lines” rather than deadlines. We figured out what time ranges would keep our intentions alive.  How’s that working for you?
  • We realized that some of our intentions needed to include time and space to dream, ponder and be inspired. To that end, we each named five things that inspire us, and used THOSE as inspiration for what we are now calling “Space – Dream and Soul.” Have you taken your first one yet?
  • We began to create an Insanely Interesting Book Shelf. Anything to add to that?

And now here we are, about to have our first Convivium of Insanely Interesting Writerly Women.

As we come together to talk about Brave Authenticity, do think about one question you’d like to ask and one thing we’ve covered in these 2 ½ months that has been especially helpful to you.

I’ll also want suggestions for future topics and thoughts on how to make the blog as a whole more applicable to you.

You have made this a vital community, ladies.

I hope you feel as blessed as I do.

Nancy Rue  

Central Time!

20 minutesJust in case you read yesterday's post about Saturday's Zoom session before I went back and edited it, we will begin at 2:00 p.m. CENTRAL TIME, not Eastern. Thank you, Amalie, for catching that.

If you haven't requested an invitation and you'd like to join us, you can do that now. Just email me and I'll get that off to you pronto.

To make mental preparation for our session easier, tomorrow I'll post a list of all the topics we've covered since the end of August. That way you don't have to comb through past posts. Seriously, who has that kind of time? 

Can't wait to see your wonderful and Insanely Interesting selves. And by the way, using that term does not imply that you have to try to be fascinating. The point is, Writerly Women, that you already are. God doesn't make boring. I have that on the best authority.



A Convivium of Writerly Women: Getting Ready

YWW crazy pictureThe time has come! On Saturday, November 14, at 2:00 p.m. Central  Time, our insanely interesting group of Writerly Women will come together using the magic of Zoom. I don't know about you, but I cannot WAIT! 

Fortunately we have a few days before we gather, which gives us a chance to prepare. And if we're to make the most of our community time, there are some things we can do ahead.

  •    * If you want to join us for any or all of the 90-minute convivium and you haven't emailed me, please do. As soon as I receive your email I'll send you an invitation.

    * Our topic is Brave Authenticity (and the obstacles between it and you!) This will be a culmination of all the things we've talked about here since the blog was revived on August 28, 2020. Feel free to skim through the posts to refresh your memory and possibly come up with questions or comments you want to share.

  • Each person will have an opportunity to ask a question, hopefully pertaining to the general topic. That bears thinking about before hand. 
  • During the course of the session you can also either "Raise Your Hand", which I'll explain how to do at the beginning, or type a question or comment in the Chat. When I call on you, I'll unmute you. Otherwise, you'll be muted so that mass chaos doesn't reign! Frog in tea
  • This first Zoom meeting will also be a springboard into what comes next here on the blog, so if you have ideas, suggestions or possible topics in mind, either post them in a comment, email me or have them ready on Saturday.
  • If you have ANY questions at all, please feel free to contact me 

I also think we should have a bit of fun SO, if you feel so moved, bring an object that helps keep you going when you get distracted, frustrated, discouraged or have "Why am I even doing this?" moments. As you each take a few minutes to introduce yourselves, we'll want to see that item in case you want to share.

This being our Maiden Voyage, so to speak, I'm sure we'll learn more about how we want to shape our sessions in the future. But with all of us together, our faces lit up on the screen, I don't see how it could be anything but ... INSANELY INTERESTING!


Nancy Rue

In Case of a Tie ...

Andrea 2Hey, Writerly Women. In our "election" of a new name for artist dates that suits a group of Insanely Interesting women writers, I have counted every vote -- six or seven times -- and the fact remains that we have a TIE. BOTH Dream Space and Soul Space are winners. We could vote again, but I'm thinking ANDREA (Dream Space)  and COLLEEN (Soul Space) each deserve a prize.  I'll contact you ladies to set up critiquing and a one-on-one session via Zoom. Congrats!












Although ... that still leaves us without a name for our creative excursion break thingies! Just goes to show that writers, as Emily Dickinson would say, dwell in possibility. PAMMY suggested combining them, so we could call them Dream Space for the Soul, though that's a mouthful, right? DSS sounds like a mental health diagnosis, which isn't entirely inappropriate here but doesn't have a creative ring to it. So what if we do this?

Let's just call it Space. "I'm going to make Space this afternoon." "Where can I block out Space on my calendar this week?"  In yourself you can decide if the Space you're taking is for your Soul, or it's just to Dream, or both.

Dancing in autumn

The point is that we TAKE that Space. On a regular basis. Even as challenging as it is to figure out where to go as we experience another wave of CoVid-19. We can do this. I mean, seriously, we have shown ourselves to be highly creative women.  Andrea makes a chai latte and gets out the paint pens. Cathy takes Intentional Musing walks and listens to Christmas music. Lily takes pictures of doors and coffee shops. Margie has tea in period costume. Emii curls up in front of "Enola Holmes."  I turn on the faux fireplace in the sunroom, Matcha green tea latte in hand, wrap in a blanket and look at the old photographs I just unearthed from a closet we're tearing out. (Speaking of renovations, in the re-do of our kitchen, the only casualty has been the ceiling of said closet starting to cave in, and me accidentally flushing a plastic measuring spoon down the toilet. Don't ask ...)

The only prescription for Taking Space is:

Be intentional about scheduling it, or it probably won't happen.

Do it solo.

Think only of taking in, rather than producing something as a result. Eventually you will anyway.

I loved having a contest, so there will be more in the future. Meanwhile, don't forget Saturday's Zoom session. If you want to join us, let me know via email and I'll send you an invitation. Tomorrow I'll post some things to think about in preparation for our time together. I'm absolutely salivating at the thought of us gathering face-to-face. Yes.



Nancy Rue 

Voting Ends Tomorrow!

Gloria's treeGood morning, Insanely Interesting Writerly Women. It is a GREAT day! And it is made even more so by your involvement in what has become a very special community here.

We so appreciate your votes for the new name for artist's dates, and so far the count is VERY close. As in, closer than Georgia. Unlike my Southern neighbor state, I will stop the count tomorrow -- November 9 -- and we'll have a winner. So if you haven't voted yet, please post a comment with your choice or, as some have done, shoot me an email. If you're late to the party, the two choices are:




Whatever you're currently calling these mini-forays into imagination and creativity and away from work and responsibilities, Gloria is taking hers. She fulfilled an old childhood dream and bought herself a bonsai tree. Isn't it the cutest little ol' thing? GLORIA, care to share why this has been a creative goal of yours? You are, of course, insanely interesting.

ANDREA has also carved out some space for a little creative indulgence. As you may remember, she is in disaster management in Hawaii, which means her job is to follow the progress of storms, earthquakes and other things that rock the natural world. Andrea's latte 2She calls this her "needed a Chai Latte break because I'm so over Storm Season" creation. And BTW, Andrea, you're getting really good at this since you bought yourself a frother. I highly recommend them.

CATHY is finding her space in listening to the Christmas music her local radio station is already playing. We all know how much she LOVES the season. Normally I would say, aren't these stations rushing things a little? But right now, in the midst of the once-again rising Covid numbers and a week of anxiety over the election, we need to celebrate, and what better thing to decorate for and sing about and bake in honor of than Jesus's birthday? 

Because it's not terribly safe to go out and do stuff right now, I've been taking a Wonder Walk every day. Gibbs (my chocolate lab) and I set out at lunchtime for our one-to-two mile amble (okay, it's a little more brisk than an amble with his three-year-old self along), and I set my intention to notice at least one thing that makes me wonder in that magic way only nature can provide. Usually that finds itself into a haiku, which I can't wait to get home and write down. Not being what you would call Hiker Adventure Barbie, this is a new thing for me, and I'm finding it to be quite, well, wonder-full. It doesn't take much, ladies. 

If you haven't received an email invitation to the Zoom session on Saturday, November 14, from 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. Central Time, please email me. We'll welcome at that time newcomer LORRIE. And other-newcomer, LAUREEN, if you want to join us that day, please shoot me an email. ALL writerly women are welcome. It goes without saying that you are Insanely Interesting. Even if you don't know it yet ...


Nancy Rue


Choose Your Space!

Leslie's coffee shop spaceGood morning, Insanely Interesting Writerly Women. I have to say that we are better at counting votes than they are in Nevada. I appreciate their diligence and accuracy, but my WORD! I digress ...

Thank you for casting your votes for our own original name for those artist's dates we're all committed to taking. From those many great choices, you have shown an attraction for "Space," which I think tells us a great deal about what we want from our times away from the computer and other obligations so we can nurture our artistic selves.

  We have a tie between:

Dream Space


Soul Space


Let's set Monday, November 9 as the final day for voting in this run-off. Please vote in a comment for one of these awesome options by 4:00 p.m. Central Time Monday.

Meanwhile, if you're up for the Zoom session on Saturday, November 14 at 2:00 p.m.  Central Time, and you haven't emailed Savoring Saturday morningme already, please do so . As soon as I hear from you I'll send you an invitation. Looks like it's going to be -- what else -- an insanely interesting gathering.

I'm finding it hard to settle down right now to anything creative in my writing. Rather than veg in front of "Father Brown", which isn't altogether a bad thing ... I'm focusing on active tasks, some of them related to my novel, so I don't connect to negative possibilities. Shall we all make it a thing today and maybe even tomorrow (if Nevada continues to count votes on an abacus, for Pete's sake!) to link to the positive -- in ourselves, in our actions and in our God? If you want to share what's positive for you right now, please do. This applies to you, too, Canadian Natasha and Skeli. We are powerful neighbors of yours; what affects us affects you too.

Thanks for being here, Writerly Women. You continue to rock.



Nancy Rue   

Our Own Voting Day

Big pencilI don't know about you, my Insanely Interesting Writerly Friends, but I have never been so anxious about a national election. I've barely been able to settle into anything all afternoon, and I want to go to sleep for about three days and wake up when the votes are all counted. But that still wouldn't make me any less fearful of the results or more concerned about our country's future. 

There IS one thing I CAN focus on -- an election for which the results will be nothing BUT positive and fun and joyful and lead to all manner of fulfilling and creative things. Actually, I feel better already having written that.

In case you're just tuning in, we're having a contest to design a name of our own for what Julia Cameron calls Artist's Dates. The deadline for submissions just passed moments ago, and it's time to cast your vote. The author of the name you choose as a group will receive a free critique and Zoom session with me.

You sent in SO many suggestions, I think this may have to be a primary! Please choose the name listed below which most resonates with you and post your vote in a comment Commentby 9:00 p.m. Central Time tomorrow, Wednesday, November 4. Thursday morning we'll take it from there.

Ready? Drum roll please ...


Benedictional Break

Calming Breaths

Creative Musings

Creative Musings and Serenades

Creative Rendezvous

Dream Space

Intentional Musings

Interactive Intake

Life Bursts

Obcordate Oasis (in Botany, obcordate means heart-shaped)

Soul Space

Triple R Rendezvous (refresh, restore, reboot)

Thank you for these great submissions, Writerly Women. I would be delighted to use any one of them for my next creative excursion.


While I have you, don't forget to email me if you want an invitation to the Zoom session on November 14 at 2:00 p.m. Central Time. I've received lots of responses already -- it's going to be an Insanely Interesting time!



Nancy Rue


Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!

Margie VictorianNow, seriously, don't you want to hang out with this lady? One of the items on our Margie's inspiration list is "dressing in historical fashions and enjoying tea parties." She says that takes her to a past world of beauty and elegance.  She is INSANELY INTERESTING!

So, of course, is Lily, who came up with seven items on her inspiration list -- from butterflies to singing opera to Pippi Longstockings (remember her?). She got so involved with it, she turned it into a blog post which you can check out here. As if that weren't creative enough, she swept up my idea of an A to Z inspiration list and made her own. A few  of my favorites there are craft chocolate, harpsichord and Schubert. I bet she'd share the whole thing if you asked her ...

The point is that a group like this needs to gather and share our marvelous insanity. So, it's time for a Zoom session. Here's what I'm thinking:

  • I probably can't find a day and time that will be convenient for everybody, so each month I'll choose a different time slot. Fair enough?
  • We'll have ninety minutes (I now have unlimited Zoom. Yeah, baby!)
  • If you plan to attend, you'll need to email me so I can send you the link. I may be able to figure out how to post it here too. Researching that  is on my list (though not my inspiration list! Technology does NOT inspire me!)
  • I'll also post the topic so you can prepare your questions and the things you want to share.
  • As with all Zoom sessions of any size, everyone will be muted except me, and when you "raise your hand" I'll unmute you. Otherwise, chaos reigns. You'll also be able to ask questions via the chat feature so we can cover everyone's concerns. 

    * In case you aren't familiar with Zoom, I'll go over all of this at the beginning of the session. If you have any questions now, post them in a comment, because I'm sure if you're wondering about something, a bunch of others are thinking about the same thing.

Okay, ready for the info? Drum Roll Please!

    DATE: November 14, 2020

    TIME: 2:00 p.m. Central Standard Time (3:00 Eastern, 1:00 Mountain, noon Pacific)

    TOPIC:  Brave Authenticity (and the obstacles between it and you!)

    DURATION: 90 minutes, give or take

    TO SIGN UP: email me and I will send you the link via email a few days before 

Hannah writing

We've been on our own for far too long. It's time we fixed that.

Meanwhile, don't forget to email me your entry for the new-name-for-Artist's-Dates contest. Don't know what I'm talking about?  click here  Entries are due by 6:00 p.m. Central Time TOMORROW! We have some delicious ones to choose from. But that is no surprise. You are INSANELY INTERESTING WOMEN!