Tag Archives: writing

Writing like a River Flows

Overcoming Self Doubt as a Writer

Photo by Daniil Silantevon Unsplash

The next time you hear the voice of doubt as a writer remember that you are harder on yourself than anyone else could ever be. ~ Mary Alice

When you write you are digging a deep well. In the darkness lives all of your fears, doubts, and the prima materia that only you can mold into stories written in your unique style.

When I feel the pull of doubt — I look to natural metaphor, inner work, other writers and creatives, and my life experiences as inspiration that will diminish my fears and keep me writing:

The nature of writing

I live on the border of a wild, natural playground — the Olympic National Park. It is easy to lose track of time as I write sitting on a boulder by the Elwha river, overlook the Bailey Range on Hurricane Ridge, or witness the delights of Raven’s flight.

© Mary Alice Long

Library of dreams

My dreams help me to understand that I am called to be a writer, that through my dreams I will find the answers I seek, and that my Teacher is nearby, he has found me and wants me to do the work of a writer.

Write and you will find your answers

Your Teacher will find you — A male dream figuretells me that hewants me to use my talent and write well. I write in my dream journal, 

I know I can do it if I put the work in.

In the shadow of writers

For years I lived in the shadow of artists and then I married one! By the time I met Michael, I was beginning to understand that it was time for me to embrace my own innate creativity.

Today I find myself in the shadow of writers and artists who inspire me to write stories in my unique style: 

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.~Sylvia Plath

I’m a little anxious. How am I to bring off this conception? Directly one gets to work is like a person walking, who has seen the country stretching out before. I want to write nothing in this book that I don’t enjoy writing. Yet writing is always difficult.~ Virginia Woolf

Describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty — describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember… Try to raise up the sunken feelings of this enormous past; your personality will grow stronger, your solitude will expand and become a place where you can live in the twilight, where the noise of other people passes by, far in the distance. And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Life experience

After writing a quick list of experiences that have been transformative in my life, I realize once again the importance of recording my stories and sharing them with readers.

I have many stories written and stored away in computer files and drawers. I have shared a number of the stories I have written in draft form as part of interviews or research studies. Self-doubt has kept me from sharing mystories in my own unique, writer’s voice. 

I know that I can find my way to sharing my stories if I put the work in.

Write. Rewrite. Read. Repeat.

How do you overcome self doubt as a writer? 

I would love to hear from you and send you my weekly letter.

Forgotten Something?

Matters of the Heart

When there are big deals happening in my life, I am grateful for the small. Pulling myself back again and again to what I might otherwise dismiss helps me to claim what is all around me, in me, of me.

Are they really small or are they forgotten? It feels like I just haven’t gotten to my destination yet or I forget to walk into the writing room that has my name prominently etched on the door.

My writer’s heart. So often I walk around doing and forget that my body of work is limitless when I write in rhythm with the beating of my heart.

Heart Center

My heart keeps pumping even as I glaze over, feel down, leap for joy, go on to that next thing.

In the center of my heart may the purest flame rise up dancing.

Janine Canan
  • The human heart is divided into chambers
  • The heart beats about 100,000 times per day (about 3 billion beats in a lifetime)

A Broken Heart

Inevitably in life your heart will be broken, not once, but many times over.

Follow your Heart

Follow your heart. Our everyday moments remind us repeatedly (if we are listening) that this life does not go on forever.

Write from the Heart

Fill your paper with the breathing of your heart.

William Wordsworth

Mary Alice Long, PhD is a play-based, heart-centered coach, writer, and artist who practices and teaches the ‘Art of Playing in the Everyday’.

Random Play: Who Inspires Me Today?

UnknownGenerally I start my writing with my favorite pen in hand. Today I’m writing in my upstairs studio on my laptop. I prefer handwriting over tapping the keys on my laptop for many reasons. When I’m using my laptop I find myself correcting my spelling, editing, and generally getting caught up in minutia.


This leads to a tension that I don’t seem to slip into when I have pen to blank page. I lose myself in my writing. Oh, but I digress…

A question I wrote in my journal and circled with my pen is: Who inspires me today?






I begin to think of many people in my life who inspire...

breathe in….

and then another tiny inspiration steps forward….

One of our tiniest birds, seen here at Hurricane Ridge, is the Golden-crowned Kinglet. I learned while snowshoeing this winter that they are remarkable in their ability to survive in cold climates. These birds eat dormant moths that are found in the branches of the conifer forest. To keep warm, they huddle together at night and fluff their feathers in a way that provides their small bodies protection from the elements.

Learning about the Golden-crowned Kinglet’s ability to survive in a winter environment prone to high winds and dipping temperatures reminds me of my own life stories of protection and survival. She inspires me TODAY to nurture and protect myself.

I am actively asking myself, what is it that I am inspired to play with and create for the good of all who huddle in the branches to keep warm? What feeds and will sustain us through the winter?

I have some ideas (of course) but am hesitant to put those ideas down on paper. My overall desire remains the same-to create a kinder, more gentle world. To be grateful for what is given and what I am able to offer.

These are some imagined images that are emerging as I tug on the inspiration provided by a small bird:

I’ve created a painting of Forgiveness. *(wouldn’t we all like to hold that image in our hands?)

I’ve created paintings of random Play and what is inspired as a result of Playing in the everyday of the body landscape.

Images, Subtext, and Feelings that Emerge from individual ‘Archival Memoir Projects’ created and published as part of an ongoing group process.

Photos, paintings, drawings, words, natural sculpture of the aches and the stirring moments.

Intimate, Courageous, Meaningful Performance

I love it! 

I feel Better!

NOW, what are you inspired by? Are there new ways to imagine the many books, projects, ideas you’ve had on your LIST?