Take a Class with Me at Lighthouse

Good morning! I wanted to let you know that I recently joined the faculty at Lighthouse Writers, a wonderfully supportive community of writers and teachers in the Denver area. If you’ve been wanting to take an in-person course with me, now’s your chance!  I’ll be teaching two new courses at Lighthouse in the New Year: Writing 101: Gotta Start Somewhere (Lighthouse North, in Louisville) and Reboot Your Memoir (Denver). I’ll continue to teach my own online courses as well as work with folks 1:1 through my own website, but the Lighthouse courses are perfect for those looking for a live in-person class. So if this calls to you, jump on over to their website and take a look around. The classes are quite affordable, they offer a wonderful community and they bring in all sorts of acclaimed writers for retreats and events. I’m truly grateful to […]

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Day of the Dead (and Book Signing Events this Weekend)

Happy Day of the Dead! Every year, I find myself moved by this joyful two-day celebration of our ancestors, and it’s in that spirit that I share a photo of my parents back in their hipster days.  According to my Eastern practitioner friends, autumn is also a season of melancholy. So if you’re feeling a layer of melancholy as you traverse these sunny fall days, please know you’re not alone. The seasons have shifted, and many of us are starting to go inward. Fall and winter, perhaps not so surprisingly, are when folks tend to reach out to me around The Secret Life of Grief. Hearing how much my book has helped someone always makes my day. On that note, I wanted to let you know I”ll be selling/signing copies of The Secret Life of Grief: A Memoir at two events this weekend: The […]

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Perspective, Timing and Trust in Memoir

Memoir is a powerful thing. We love reading stories of love, loss and transformation. True stories are powerful. They inspire us on a deeply personal level. As Brene Brown says, we’re hardwired for story. It’s how we learn. Writing a memoir, though, can be challenging. Where do you start? How do you narrow down your story? How do you shape it? How do you navigate the emotional terrain of delving into the heart of who you are? And what do you do when the initial excitement wears off and you find yourself in the mucky middle of writing a book? How do you get back on track? Here’s the truth: writing a memoir is a journey. Trust and perseverance are critical parts of the process. So are craft and technique. Structure, accountability and encouragement are also important. A consistent writing practice is what […]

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15 Ways to Get Unstuck and Reboot Your Writing Project

In our last post, we discussed whether or not to keep going with your current writing project. Now let’s talk about the logistical pieces involved in getting unstuck and rebooting your writing project. Here are about 15 ways to help you move forward—one compassionate step at a time. 15 Ways to Get Unstuck and Reboot Your Writing Project Schedule a set time to restart your project and put it in your planner. If this feels too big, start with 5 or 10 minutes. Treat this as a sacred date with yourself. It is. Start with one easy, small goal. Start with 5 minutes if you’re drowning in overwhelm. Use that first writer’s date to pull out your writing and leaf through it, familiarizing yourself with your project. If you’re ready to start with something bigger, start with 15 or 30 minutes. If the […]

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Should You Abandon Your Project or Keep Going?

Almost every writer I’ve spoken to recently is either a) feeling stuck, b) wondering whether they should abandon their project, c) ready to run for the border or d) all of the above. This is the first in a three-part blog series to help you figure out whether or not to continue your project and help you get unstuck. How to Decide Whether to Abandon Your Project or Keep Going As we talked about in the last post, writing crossroads often happen over summer, especially for those of us with kids. Even if you don’t have kids at home, summer tends to throw us writers off track. How do we pick up the thread of that project that we were once so excited about, we wonder. Does that damn project even still matter? What if we’ve missed the boat? Lost our friggin mojo?! […]

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Starting Again

Are certain seasons friendlier for writing than others? That’s a question I’ve been grappling with the past few months, particularly as we’ve expanded into summer. For some folks, fall and winter tend to be a more internal time, and perhaps more well-suited for writing. Since spring and summer are often more social and active—filled with trips and outings, family and friends—these seasons can also be more full. And it can be hard to find time to write when the rest of your life is overflowing with goodness. This is one of those times writers find themselves grappling with the inevitable stopping and starting that comes with writing a book. It’s hard to get your butt into the chair when there are so many other things going on. The sun’s out, an old friend’s in town, etc., etc., etc. I struggle with the same […]

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Creating a Writing Schedule that Works for You

How do you create a writing schedule that works for you? And why should you bother? Because it can make writing so much easier. When you’re working on a book or any other big project, it’s important to have a consistent writing practice that you can actually adhere to—one that fits your real (read: big, full, lovely, messy) life, not some ideal, future version of yourself (read: perfect fantasy person who can DO all things and BE all things). The secret to creating your writing schedule is figuring out what works for YOU (not someone else) and readjusting as you go. Here’s what that looks like: Maybe your initial goal was to write 5 hours a week. Ambitious, yes, but you want to get that sucker written! Great start! However, after the first week, you realize that it’s pretty friggin hard to fit […]

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Secret Life of Grief Wins Nautilus Silver Book Award!

A quick note to share some good news and an update on the next Jumpstart Your Book virtual retreat (May retreat postponed; see below for details). First off, I’m incredibly excited to share the fabulous news that my book, The Secret Life of Grief, won a Nautilus Silver Book Award for memoir! Nautilus publicly announced the list of gold and silver winners earlier this week and I’m still dazed to have my book included amongst the ranks of Brene Brown, Tara Brach, Thich Nhat Hanh, J.D. Vance and many more. Those of you who’ve been with me for a while know what a journey this book has been for me, both personally and professionally. Today, I’d like to take a moment to thank you all for supporting me in the journey and now the celebration as well — it’s been a big deal […]

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Give Yourself Permission

Over the years, many folks have told me they don’t consider themselves writers despite the fact that they’re writing. They haven’t published a book, they say. So they’re not really a writer. Oof. I get it. I used to struggle with that feeling, too. But here’s the thing: at the end of the day, we’re the only ones who can give ourselves permission to call ourselves writers. Nobody else can. Not some big fancy New York publisher or any other gatekeeper, for that matter. Because if we don’t give ourselves permission to claim our own worth, we’re always going to feel like a fraud on some level. Meaning: if you’re waiting for some big name publisher to snap you up and validate your work, great. But please, validate your own worth first. Be your greatest champion. Be all in. Tell yourself you’re going […]

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Talking about Grief, Loss, Writing and Meditation on the Untangle Podcast

Hi everyone! I’m honored to be this week’s guest on the wonderful Untangle podcast from the fabulous folks at Meditation Studio App. Here’s the episode–we dive into the topics of grief and loss as I talk about how writing and meditation helped me chart my way forward after my mother’s death (as many of you already know from reading The Secret Life of Grief). I’d love to hear your thoughts, if you choose to listen. And of course, I’d be very thankful if you shared this with anyone who might benefit! Much love! Tanja

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