Happy New Year: 11 Things I Learned And/Or Relearned About Life, Love & Writing in 2011

Usually on Saturdays, I post an “Expat Sat” post…you know, “Welcome to Expat Sat, the culturally kooky, map nonspecific, sometimes bewildering, always fascinating intersection of expat life and writerhead. And where every Saturday, I offer tips for writing, publishing, and thriving to expat writers around the globe.”

BUT…since today is New Year’s Eve (whoop! whoop!), I’m stepping away from tradition to share a few things I learned (or in many cases, relearned) in 2011. Ready?

  1. The seeking and finding of oneself happens again and again in life. Stay open.
  2. I AM here to live out loud.
  3. Writing is not a solitary endeavor. (Relearn, relearn, relearn…)
  4. Paul Simon & I are alike when it comes to rhythm and symmetry and the breaking of symmetry.
  5. Despite the fact that as I get older, my eyesight gets worse and worse, I see things much more clearly.
  6. Just when I believe I see things clearly, they shift out of focus.
  7. Missing Shanghai is an ongoing feeling, as is my longing for each place in my life with which I’ve connected deeply.
  8. Journal, journal, journal. (& when in doubt, journal!)
  9. I love teaching writing to freshmen. I love how damn fresh they are.
  10. Steve Jobs
  11. Writerhead rocks! And it’s beautifully different for each writer. It can be like:


How about you? What did you learn (or relearn) this year?

Happy New Year, all! See you in 2012!


Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mojo Monday: Steve Jobs, An Ode

It’s Mojo Monday, and as always, I’ve got a little something-something to lift your creative spirits, buoy you up, help you get your mojo on, and nudge (or better yet, catapult) you into writerhead.

I was lying in bed reading Tweets on my iPhone when I saw the news that Steve Jobs had died, and in that moment, I felt a slice of the universe go silent. I’d known it was coming. He was so skinny and gaunt during his last appearances. But geesh, I was thrown. Heartbroken. Silent myself.

Man, I would have loved to have interviewed Steve about his writerhead. Dug into his moments of deep creative flow. How did they feel? What did they look like? To what would he have compared his writerhead?

Anyway, I think the best way to honor him is to follow his lead. So be good to your creative impulses today…and get thee to writerhead.

(Back in April, I posted the video of his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford. Here it is again.)


Misc Monday: Steve Jobs: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

I love this speech that Steve Jobs gave at Stanford University’s 2005 commencement ceremony. When I have a moment of doubt about anything in life–writing or otherwise–I pop over to watch it. It buoys me. Revs me up. Clears the noise. Brings me back to center. Reminds me to listen to my smart, funny, creative inner voice.

Favorite quotes:

“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

And my favorite favorite:

“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”



Q4U: What brings you back to center in moments of doubt?