GUEST POST: There Is Enough-For Everyone

Welcome KATHERINE DOWN, a fellow student at Seton Hill University. Katherine realized an uplifting moment during the recent January  2017 MFA residency. It falls right in line with the positivity ideal of Writer Wellness.

“There is Enough — For Everyone”

By: Katharine Dow

THE LAST BOOKSTORE riley-mccullough-152713


Bookstores are my favorite places in the world. Inside each new book is the promise of adventure, magic, and wonder. To quote C.S. Lewis, “You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

However, there are days when I blink, and the beauty of endless possibility disappears. Instead of a sacred space, the bookstore transforms into a nightmare in which the cacophony of millions of words written by superior writers drowns out my small, humble contribution to Story. In those moments, I remember the devastating suicide note in Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure, “Done, because we are too menny.” In those moments, I feel that there are too many books in the world for my books to matter, and I am a fool to try.

During a recent class on Emotion, taught by Maria Snyder at Seton Hill University’s MFA in Popular Fiction Program, we were asked to write down a list of our protagonists greatest fears. As I created my list, I realized that the root cause of each of my protagonist’s fears is the belief that there is only so much good in the world, life is a zero-sum game, and that if she doesn’t achieve the goal, her future is grim.

I realized in that class that I have a choice. I can believe, as my protagonist believes for the majority of the book, that the world of story is like a pie, with only so many pieces to be had, and none left for me. Or, I can choose to believe, in the immortal words of the band Midnight Oil, that “there is enough—for everyone.”

According to quantum physics, reality occurs on two levels: possibility and actuality. It suggests that there exists an entire world of possibilities, material as well as in meaning, and in feeling. If so, life is a series of choices and possibilities that are deeply and fundamentally creative. There is no one option. There is no last piece of the pie. It’s a theory we would all do well to embrace.

KAT DOW HEADSHOT 1606924_10152596584703782_446171816_n

Katharine Dow is a global nomad who has lived in eight countries as a student, aid worker, and diplomat. In 2017, she set her passport aside and enrolled in the MFA in Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill University, a choice which has become the most unpredictable and challenging adventure of all. You can find her under the twitter handle @suggestionize.

Thanks, Katherine!

Be well, write well.




Joy E. Held is the author of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity, a college educator, blogger, and yoga/meditation teacher. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Romance Writers Report, Dance Teacher Now, Yoga Journal, and Woman Engineer Magazine.

Photo: K. Held

Copyright 2018, Joy E. Held


Tuesday Tickle: Renaming Today “Muse-day”

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

                ~Stephen King, On Writing

Waiting on inspiration? Really? That writer must not need the money or realize how important the process is. It’s just as important as the product when it comes to writing. Lots of us know we have a mysterious “writing muscle”, and true, it needs a kick in the thing we use to hold chairs down with but the process doesn’t require inspiration to be put into gear. The process requires perspiration. And since the advent of the psychological term “writer’s block”, the invention of a muse is popular when it comes to needing the proper impulse to write. What is a muse anyway? Is it the inner critic? Is it a secret font of ideas stored in our subconscious we just have to tap into for stuff to write about? Is it some guy sitting in the basement smoking cigars admiring his bowling trophies (more Stephen King) while we struggle for the stream of words that make us writers? Muse, inspiration, whatever, are all just another word for courage. Are we brave enough to be the writers we dream we are?

What the muse or the inspiration may actually be is the time it takes for our brains to sort through the muck of stimulations we absorb constantly and bring something cohesive to the surface. That’s why English professors have a far off look in their eyes all the time. It explains why novelists spill things. Brain work for writers is the equivalent of an intense cardio workout for not the recommended thirty-minute session with a cool-down afterward, but a continual mind boggling distraction until we figure it out. Then we have something to write. The muse is our minds organizing the clutter of the process until the words fall into place and we can fill the pages with them. There is no inspiration. There is only the process of thinking, connecting, writing drivel, and more thinking until it becomes the answer to the question we have asked with our stories. The muse is the imaginary delivery girl dressed or undressed in the costume of your own mental doing. She (or he or it) gives us somewhere to place the blame while we’re waiting on the brain to tidy up the mess of stuff we’ve fed it. But it’s the writing process that enables the brain to have what it needs. So keep the process going: journal, write ugly grammar, blog, and read, read, read until the muse is inspired enough to bless you with the story.


“Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite:

‘Fool!’ said my Muse to me, ‘look in thy heart and write.’”

                ~Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)

                Astrophel and Stella, Sonnet I

This inspiration-muse thing has been going on for quite a while. But notice the Muse says, “…and write.” She doesn’t say, “Take a seat, honey, and when I get this figured out for you, I’ll call.”

Will you take the process challenge this “Muse-day” and give her something, anything to work with?

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

Meanwhile, remember to look for a digital or print copy of Writer Wellness, A Writer’s Path to Health and Creativity at Who Dares Wins Publishing,

And check out these great blogs for ideas to keep your writing and publishing healthy and prosperous. Bob Mayer Jenni Holbrook Kristen Lamb Inspiration for Writers, Inc. Natalie Markey Amy Shojai

Check out my new website Joy E. Held

Have you subscribed to this Writer Wellness blog yet? Get email updates when a new post is added. Click “subscribe” and leave your email. That’s it and thanks in advance!

Be well, write well