location > destination

i'm currently preparing for a hiking trip that i've been dreaming about since i was a very young kid. my dad and i both have, and he's actually most of the reason why it's been a dream of ours for this long.

i grew up looking at this photograph of him stuck in the corner of my mom's dresser mirror. my dad and i are extremely similar, and this snapshot reflects the fact perfectly: his messy hair tied back in a bandana and another is looped around his waist. his face is tan and swathed in stubble, and his sparkling blue eyes squint into the scorching rays of arizona sunlight. he stands with his hands on the hips of his ripped jeans; the vast expanse of the rusty red grand canyon sprawling behind him like a panoramic work of art.

i grew up listening to dinnertime stories of dad's hike down into the canyon and out again with a group of friends. rim to rim. 

my dad's hiking stories are extensive and badass, and they quickly became benchmarks of things i not only wanted to do, but needed to do; experiences I longed for - ones I knew would would help me to grow, challenge myself, learn, and greater relish the natural beauty of the world we live in. my dad and i share this innate love for getting way out into the wild, exploring earth, climbing mountains, and doing big hikes. my thirst for adventure and willingness to try new, "crazy" things can more often than not, be traced back to my father, who raised me on long treks in the woods, walks in the rain, and hikes up the local cliffs to toss styrofoam planes into the sunset. 

it was ages ago we decided that we were going to hike grand canyon together. it was going to happen. it was a dream, a goal, something we talked about for a long time but also something that we just never seemed to get around to. until now.

we've made the decision that this will be the summer that we do it: we're hiking down into the grand canyon, spending the night at the bottom, getting up before dawn the next day, having breakfast, and hiking out. we both applied for a highly sought-after backcountry permit to do this, and i received mine only a few weeks ago - granting my dad and i full access to hike down the south kaibab trail, camp at the bottom, and hike back up bright angel the following morning. 

yes, i freaked out a little when i saw that email pop into my inbox: congratulations - you've got your backcountry permit! 

in light of all this, my mom was kind enough to track down and gift me a one best hike book breaking down every aspect of journeying through grand canyon: how to plan your descent and ascent, what to bring, what to wear, and everything in between, which includes a very zen-infused section of chapter one, that really, really made me stop and think.

the author, elizabeth wenk, takes the opportunity early on to break down the difference between a "destination hike" and a "location hike." what she had to say really impacted my thinking - and not just on the topic of hiking:

"...on a destination hike the sights along the way are overshadowed by those at the end point...on a location hike, there is something new and spectacular to see every few steps down the trail, yet no single location that is universally judged: "most beautiful."

prefacing this, she adds that she's often "disappointed" when she passes hikers who are clearly so fixated on getting to the end of the trail that they rarely look beyond the length of their hiking poles, and thus miss the best part of the hike: the actual hike itself

as i read this, i couldn't help but sit back for a moment, amazed at how much this applies to every aspect of life - but perhaps most especially to creatives and entrepreneurs.

i asked myself this question: as a writer...am i on a destination hike? racing to get another book published, then another, or hustling to have a more established readership, always looking forward, forward, forward to the illusive animal known as our often-muddled idea of "success"?

or...am i on a location hike? writing, and living fully while i do that, waking up each morning excited to write the next chapter of my story, both metaphorically and literally - enjoying each, little, wonderous step of the journey? 

am i looking only to the end game, or am i living in the present? am i "hustling" to get "somewhere"? or am i fully here, enjoying the astounding beauty of getting to be alive today, writing a book and doing what i love? 

your dream, your project, career, book, album, collection, show - what does it feel like to you: a destination hike, or a location hike?

i think in today's world it can be easy to get caught up in the frantic rush of trying to get "somewhere"...but i think more often than not, we discover in the end that we actually already were where we wanted to be in the beginning and just didn't realize what we had, or that we lost something precious along the way, in this frenzy to get ahead.

there's absolutely nothing wrong with having a dream and a goal. it's healthy and good to have one, and i know i certainly have a lot of them. but to have a focus only for the end goal can tunnel our vision and blind us to the astounding beauty all around us, right here in the present moment.

with every step we take, every page we write, song we sing, photograph we capture, artwork we create, there is something new and beautiful waiting for us to just stop...look up...and open our eyes. we are location hiking...success isn't waiting for us at the end of the trail, it's right here in front of us.

success isn't something that's always jumping just out of reach, waiting for us beyond some unseen finish line in the distance. true success is waking up every morning and living the life you were meant to live...and making the world a more bright, beautiful place because of it.

i'll wrap this up now, this blog post is already getting too long, but if i could encourage you in one thing, it would be to...stop. 

take a deep breath. and just literally look around you.

seriously, lean back in your chair and just...look.

look at the room around you.
look down at yourself, your sacred, precious body, so capable and full of potential to do anything you can dream of.
take another deep, deep breath...feel your lungs fill with air. that's life.
that's a gift. 

true success lies in that you are here, now. and you have a purpose. and you can be aware of that purpose, and live that purpose, and enjoy that purpose, every single day in a million ways.

we are location hikers. 
stop and soak in the view.

stay stoked, my friend.

there's a reason


when the days get long, and ragged, and it feels like you've done it all before, remember. remember that you are not the first to ascend. that there are many who have gone before you. you are not alone on this pioneer trail. you are climbing alongside not the few but the many dreamers, reaching for the sun.

there will be days when nothing seems to make sense. when everything seems stale and mundane - pointless even. but on these days remember: it is not for nothing. your dream, your goal, whatever it is you want to do - that thing you feel burning inside of you...it is there for a reason. a big, important, relevant, beautiful reason.

on the days when it gets tough, remember the reason.

if you're unfamiliar with what your reason is, or maybe you've just never really slowed down enough to think about it, turn your attention to the things that seem to light a fire inside of you...the things you would like to change about the world; there's plenty worth standing up for - worth fighting for.

peace. love. freedom. grace. the ability to reach one's full potential - and to inadvertently help change the world by doing so.

there's a reason. 

inspire one person - just one.

there's a reason.

every single one of us has a reason, and, i believe, a gift that has been given to us, something that we are, in turn, meant to give to the world. whether it's a book or a song, a performance, a word, a creation - you have something inside of you that's beating its wings against your ribcage like a bird longing to be set free. only you can set it free.

it's there for a reason.

so on the days when it can so often be easy to ask ourselves what it's all for: remember. you are not alone. and specifically, this time of year, memorial day, take a moment to consider the many, many souls - fellow dreamers, fellow climbers of this life-mountain, who found and believed in a reason so deeply that they gave their all to it. they gave everything to what they believed in - their reason.

peace. love. freedom. grace. the ability to reach one's full potential - and to inadvertently help change the world by doing so.

you know what? we cannot afford to waste our time living lukewarm and aimless. respect yourself, respect that gift inside of you, and frickin turn that spark into a flame - a wildfire. make this world a better place. there's someone out there right now who needs to hear what you have to say - who needs what you have to offer the world. maybe that person is me.

maybe i'm one of the reasons. maybe she is. maybe he is. maybe your neighbor is.

so many people have sacrificed immeasurably...more than i can imagine, for something so much bigger than themselves: for a reason. and i refuse to live a life that doesn't continuously honor their sacrifice.

i will wake up every morning. i will breath deep, straighten my shoulders, and i will remember:

there's a reason. we have a purpose. we aren't here to just mess around, we're here to change the world. every single one of our words matter. we matter. 


stay stoked, live on purpose,

a release date

well, here I sit (with great espresso), wrapping up my very last edit notes on book three of The Blood Race series, Resurgence, before it's off to my proofreader on the 29th. to say that i'm stoked would be an understatement.

i am ecstatic about this book.

this one's been a very different journey and it's extremely personal. in so many ways i feel that i bled into this book. i grew with this book and its shaped me over the past year and a half-ish i've been working on it. if i had to use one word to describe resurgence it would be: relevant. i don't want to expound on what that means, because my greatest hope is that everyone will take resurgence and make it their own; find themselves in between the lines. no book has ever felt so real and urgent to me as i've written it as this one.

it's funny because i feel like i've been talking about this book forever, and there's a good reason for that - resurgence is the longest and the most multi-dimensional in the series. i see something in a new way every time i read through the book, i think there's really something for everyone in this one, and that's why whenever i think of this book, the word journey comes to mind. that's really what it feels like. it's not static and i don't think it can really be read the same way twice. maybe it sounds funny to hear an author saying something like that about their own book, but in so many ways i feel like i'm just a recipient of resurgence, like it was given to me as a gift, and i still have so much to find within its pages and learn from so many of the beautiful, restless, longing, wandering, searching characters. it feels strange to even call them characters really: they are friends. mentors. people. they've supported me, they've carried me, and i cannot imagine life without them. no, character is far too weak a word to describe who they are and what they mean to me - what they've given me.

and now...now i finally get to share them with you - again. one more time.

and that will be on september 1st of this year, 2019.

that's all i have to say, really.

that, and i cannot wait.

i love you guys!!!!
stay stoked


what is it to be a writer but to live in a constant state of overwhelm? an ebbing, flowing wave of it; a relentless burdening of the senses; an inability to gaze out through a rain streaked window without noticing the torrents of story blurring across the asphalt below; the incapacity to look at trees without hearing even the subtlest tones of a voice it seems only you can grant it. 

the storyteller is a stranger in an even dazzlingly stranger world. we are nomads, at home nowhere; we are restless and churning and ever changing course, like tides and stars. 

we stand outside looking in, holding the space time continuum in our two hands like a glittering, balled up veil, wondering - whispering. we turn the world round and it spins us in equal measure, but we can't make sense of it; we understand nothing, but we feel so much sometimes we can barely move beneath the weight of it all. 

we tread lightly - silently, and yet behind our eyes all is ablaze. everything is hot, and cold, heavy and light, and pulling us apart at the seams to shake out the stardust inside of us. that's what's happening when our eyes appear hollow - when you ask if we heard what you just said from across the table. 

we pause, we close our eyes and take a deep breath - we stumble through all the rooms of our minds so filled to bursting with everything - everything we've yet to find words to flesh out. 

"just lost in thought" we say. 

we really want to say: "just lost."

we watch where we step, aware of the underground springs seemingly always beneath us, from where all sensations and breath and story flow, lifting us, carrying us, pulling us under and tossing us until our senses have been mislaid. until we are numb; intoxicated by a world we try to articulate with all the passion and urgency one tries to describe a lover; as if all the world is missing out on the wildfire we can feel inside us - as if we alone can redeem humankind from the absence of these consuming flames - this revelry.

and yet, so often all we can speak is an ecstatic language native only to us. no one else can see the icebergs beneath the turbulence - an entire world wrapped away in the depths of us. 

only us. 

the ground erupts with our every step, gushing with words; soaking us with a mystery few can understand - few can see. we don't understand it either, but we know that it's there. 

we feel it on the wind; we dance in its arms. 


i'm back from my trip off grid!! i'm so so happy to be back in vermont making new things to share with you guys - my sweet, gifted friends. i'm not really sure what the piece above is, but i wrote it on the very rainy drive home. it felt great to let the words just pour out of my skull without knowing where they came from or where they were going.

anyway, enough about me - tell me how you're doing! how's your life and projects and dreams doing? i would love to hear all about it. 

stay stoked,

intentional creating + kinda big announcement


it can be difficult to see a need to slow down in a world that seems to rush around our ankles like a receding tide. it can be tricky to step back, take a few long, slow breaths, and come to the conclusion that quality is far more important than quantity in a cultural climate that seems to chant: make more, make more, make more, at the top of its voice.

but as a writer, i've come to deeply, deeply feel that it doesn't matter how much we make nearly as much as it matters how and why we make it. that's where the quality comes from - the meaning. the reason.

because there has to be a reason, hasn't there? 

why do we write, draw, sing, dance, and do all the other things? let's not go so fast that we're distracting ourselves from asking these questions - these important questions. 

(this reminds me of a really great ted talk that i've watched many times and highly recommend.)

what's better? that i make one very important, very authentic, very true, very meaningful thing - or that i make a bunch of things that my heart wasn't in, that i forced and muscled my way through, and that mean very little to me and likely anyone else?

see, as creatives we have some of the most important jobs - we're dealing with human hearts, souls - people's lives. we have fire in our hands! we have the opportunity to impact someone's life in a lasting way, for better or for worse. that's why creating with a reason, with an intention, and with a purpose is so incredibly important.

we need to quit this idea of "more", and lay hold of this glorious notion of creating intentionally - with our hearts.

i feel like this post tags on super well to last week's, which was about taking internet breaks and disconnecting in order to recharge - which can definitely help aid us in creating with a higher level of intention. this is actually the last blog post you will see from me until may - yes, this is the sign-off, my rad friend. i'll be unplugging, recharging, and getting stoked (aka surfing a lot). 

because even though the world likes to rush, we don't have to, and that's not the place where cool stuff is made. cool stuff is slow-cooked. it takes time and patience to steep. and that's the place i want to create from.

all that said, i wasn't sure if now was the time to announce it or not, but i feel like, having said everything i just did, this is the perfect time:

i've written three more books for you. and i'll be releasing two books this year.

i'll be publishing resurgence, the final book in the blood race trilogy, plus another new book. i don't want to give too much away about it right now, except that i am very, very excited about it and you guys will be hearing a lot more about it in the coming months. you'll also have a release date from me soon for resurgence, so keep your soul windows peeled for that. 

creating from a place of intention has some very cool perks. i can't wait to share more with you guys. i can't wait to see what ideas come to me while i'm away, and i also can't wait to let those ideas take over my life and make me drink loads of coffee and type away like mad for hours on end and transform into stories for you guys. eeeeeee!!


that's it for now! signing off. i love you guys and would be nowhere without you! have an amped april

stay stoked!

internet breaks (and why we should take them)

taking a break.

it's funny how these days all of the above can be viewed in a negative light by many "hustlers." in the age of social media and constant connection, taking a step back can seem like an action that will come with more minus signs than plus marks. but I beg to differ.

though some may tend to view vanishing off the radar as a negative, i know from experience that it comes with myriad benefits - including sanity, peace, and finding yourself more genuinely connected than ever.

we often use the word "connection" in relation to our phones, the internet, and social media, but in reality these tools, if used unwisely, can easily leave us feeling more disconnected and lonely. having your face in front of a screen for a considerable portion of your day rather than engaging with the world around you doesn't exactly inspire thoughts of "connect" but rather the opposite.

now don't get me wrong - i'm a passionate indie and entrepreneur, and the internet and social media make up the very backbone of my business; i love and value these tools, and use them every day. But i think it's so important to take a step back and assess how much time we're spending in front of a screen vs engaging with the world around us.

to me, being truly "connected" looks a lot more like getting up at sunrise for coffee with my husband, practicing karate outside barefoot, getting fresh, fragrant earth under my fingernails, paddling out on my surfboard, practicing yoga, drinking a warm mug of tea and writing a short story, gathering around my family's bustling dining room table for dinner, staying up late to talk and laugh for hours with my sister...

this... this is what being connected looks like to me. and these everyday miracles are often the moments that are interrupted by the buzz of a new notification or phone call. these are the moments that tailored selfies invade; we often begin to look at our lives and habitats with a critical eye, changing this, tweaking that, and putting only the most "pinterest-worthy" versions of ourselves forward.

but the thing is, that's not real. that's not authentic. there's nothing wrong with taking photos or posting on social media, but when you find your life orbiting your "socials" rather than the other way around? that's not truly enjoying life. i don't want to lose these moments, because these moments are the fabric of LIFE...i refuse to sacrifice these moments even for my career.

i believe in balance. i believe we need to pay attention and to stay aware. we can build our careers, we can stay connected online - yes. but we can also find that balance...we can stay connected with the world around us and those right in front of us. and for me, i can best stay balanced by taking breaks.

and let's just put this up front...taking a break is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength. it's a sign of good judgement, and self love. it's a sign that you are leading a balanced life.

i'm an indie author and an entrepreneur, so I have quite a bit going on via social media, but I still take breaks and go off grid. in fact, that's exactly what I'm doing in april for a whole month. is that reckless and irresponsible to do when you're your own boss?

it's the opposite.

taking a break helps you reconnect to everything that truly matters. If the Internet went away overnight, this...THIS: the chair you're sitting in, the tea you might be drinking, the sounds around you, the people that might be in the room with you or in the apartment next door, the trees beyond your window, the floor or earth beneath you - this is what you would have left. this is real. this is what truly matters, and why we do all the other things.

in all the hustle, don't lose the reason. the reason is all around us all the time, we just need to open our eyes to see it.

so don't feel guilty about taking a break, and don't let anyone make you feel like you should be juggling everything. to truly, fully, and holistically live our lives in the moment we need to take breaks, reconnect, go off grid...yes, yes, yes. you are doing it right. if you need a push, or a nod, or validation, let this be it:

go for it. take that break. go off grid. recharge, reconnect, refill the cup because you can't pour from an empty place. go get inspired so you can inspire others, and create with INTENTION. believe me, your reader/followers/fans will thank you and respect you for it.

stay stoked...and stay TRULY connected,

everyone is creative

i think we're all born with a creative voice inside of us. something that seems to tug on our soul like a little kid pulling at her mother's shirt: "look at me, look at me, look at me," 

i think we all have something. even if it's not something that fits within the typical parameters of what the majority of the populace dubs "creative work."

i'm a writer and i make up stories and write them down, sometimes poetry too: creativity.

but i'm married to a man who is a fight fighter - who is also in the Air Force; his jobs involve science and physics and mechanics, but yet when i listen to him talk about what he does, i'm always blown away by how much innovation is required, how much adaptation is needed: creativity.

an entrepreneur and a mother of two rambunctious girls with imaginations bursting at the seams: that's my mom. in the past i've often heard her say that she doesn't necessarily consider herself to be a creative person, and yet i've watched her foster a thriving small business, and raise my sister and i, constantly adapting, changing, learning and trying new things: creativity.

it constantly blows my mind when i'm talking to someone and they make a comment something like

"oh, i wish i was creative."

that's when i start sputtering and a thousand words want to come bursting out of my mouth at the same time - because i want to tell them that they are creative; i want to pull up the definition of creativity on my phone and scream it from the rooftops:

"the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination"


"creative: having the quality or power of creating."

we all have this power to create - we were all born with this ability; to turn our thoughts into manifestations that bloom on the outside of us like flowers pushing through the snow in spring.

we are all creators, paving the pathway ahead of us with the brushes and the paint that we choose; we are the artists, the michelangelo's of our own sistine chapel's; the Spielberg's to our own silver screens. whether you're painting portraits, writing books, dancing, rapping, building a career in photography or art or something else, you are a creator.

even if you're working for someone else right now, you are still holding that brush in your hand. you still have the ability to splash the reality around you with the colors you see in your mind; you have the ability to create an impact, no matter where you are, and that's the biggest and most important thing you could ever create.

sometimes it might just be one kid word, or one idea...i don't think any of us can even begin to fully grasp how much something even as "small" as that has the potential of changing someone's life - maybe even the world.

we are all creatives. we are all creative. every day, whether good or bad, we're creating something. our brains, our hearts, souls, spirits, they all work in unison to create and birth new ideas into the world. we're creating an atmosphere around us, and people can feel it when we walk into the room. that's why it's so important to be aware of the fact that, despite what you might believe about yourself; you are making things. you are creating all the time.

you are a creative being.

so let's embrace that. let's stop cutting ourselves short, telling ourselves we're static in the realms of creation simply because what we do may not fit into the lines somebody else drew in the sand. the rules are just sugar in the rain when it comes to creativity.

i am creative and I write novels. my husband is creative and he's in the military. my mother is creative and she's an entrepreneur and a mom of two girls.

and you? you are creative too; whether you are a writer, a painter, a dancer, a rapper, a youtuber, a photographer, an employee, a barista, a student, or a burner of midnight oil, juggling it all at once. you are constantly thinking and picking up that paint brush every single day when your feet hit the floor. regardless of whether you realize it or not, you are creating all. the. time. affecting those around you, and shaping your world; creating your atmosphere.

and you have the ability and the potential inside of you to make anything. anything at all. and that, in my opinion, is a freaking superpower. let's use it to make some good things; to make an impact. and make this world a little lighter.

embrace your creativity, creator.

stay stoked,

wandering: london

when i'm shuffling trip photos through lightroom, the "rules" of photography go out the window. the most important thing to me, when i'm editing photographs, is that the feeling of the photo reflects the way i felt when i was there in that location. that's what i've always done, and that's part of what makes photography such an enjoyable art to unwind with.

when i edited these photos of london, i wanted them to reflect exactly what it felt like for my husband and i when we were there: warmth, saturation, sunset blurs, and buzzing energy.

that's what london was to us.

london was jet lag and sunshine and warmth and blossoming flowers and ducks in the pond. it was bustling markets and drinking kombucha in organic cafes, and of course ice cream. it was walking until our feel hurt, and taking snapshots for memories, and laughing and smiling until our faces ached and our souls were bursting full.

london was alive. ripe with life - drenched in the summer sunlight, alive with the music as the marching band played. it was a dizzying dose of dashing through tube stations and staring wide-eyed in wonder at old, old, beautiful, beautiful architecture. it was getting lost and finding exactly what we'd been looking for.

traveling to new places is kind of like picking up shards of a broken mirror; seeing new reflections of who we are with every place we go. i think that's part of why i love it so much; part of what makes the road feel like home.

here's a little film of our trip if you would like to see a bit more :)

speaking of adventures and traveling, i'm getting ready to head out this april for a long, (but much needed) off-grid trip. i'll be reconnecting, and recharging. aka surfing (haha). so during that time i'll be absent from my blog, youtube channel, and all my social media, though i may pop in once or twice to say hello.

i had considered the idea of doubling up my workload for this month and scheduling a bunch of content for April, but honestly?? i really need to recharge, i can feel it in my soul. you guys mean so much to me, and the very last thing i want to do is just make content for the sake of making content. i want everything i make for you guys to be inspired and inspiring. i want everything i put up here and on my social media to have something in it that helps or encourages you; i don't want to just be blabbering on, you know?

all that said, if there's anything in particular that you would like to see me sharing more about on this blog, or even on my youtube channel, please let me know below! i'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas. :) you are more encouraging and inspiring to me than you could ever know!!

okay, okay, that's enough from me for now - YOUR TURN: where was the last place you went exploring?? what's one place you've ALWAYS wanted to go?? tell me a bit about one of your favorite adventures below!! have a great weekend, beautiful soul

stay stoked!

your best is enough

long hours. dim lights. the gurgle of brewing coffee. bleary eyes, rereading blinking words on a glowing screen.

so often it's late. so often we sit there thinking:

not enough
not enough.

rubbing our eyes, looking at our to-do lists:

"half done.
half done and it's midnight."

listen: take a deep breath. stop.

what are you doing? don't just glaze over that question - seriously. read it and let it sink in.

what are you doing? 

yes. yes, sometimes we have to be up late, burning the midnight oil, torching our tired eyes with the light of a screen; sometimes the long days and nights that seem to stretch to infinity are necessary.

but not every night.

your gift, your passion, your art - it shouldn't be a lycanthropic beast that morphs with the howling moon to eat you alive, pulling you apart at the seams;

sending your feathers scattering,
sca  t   t  e    r      i    n    g 

you aren't a machine, sweet soul,
mmm no. you don't have to live like this.

you don't have to look at the lists
all the benchmarks you keep making for yourself
goalposts that seem to scream: "run faster - run harder"

while they take another step back, staying just
out of your reach.

you don't have to run. you don't have to keep grasping
at ghosts

not because you shouldn't work hard, you shouldn't chase your dreams
but because you are chasing them,
because you are working hard

and your best is enough -  your ebbing, flowing best, that changes from day to day like the roaring, round ocean - it's completely and fully enough.

on the days when we work hard, mm good.
on the days when we rest, mm good.

because your best, no matter what that looks like from one day to the next:
it is enough. 

oh, radiant soul, it is enough, i promise you.
you don't have to push yourself to the point of breaking.
a broken you is not a creative you.
an exhausted you is not an inspired you.

stop muscling through the day - stop pushing and shoving yourself, stop moving that goal post just a
little     farther                                              away.

just embrace your best today,
and fully accept that it is



i wish you the most inspired and beautiful week, rad soul. this poem is a messy little pile of what i swept up off my brain during my end of week cleaning. needed to clean my head up for the coming week. i was thinking a lot about burn out yesterday because i was FEELIN it, which only raised a big question for me:

isn't the main reason we get burnt out because we falsely believe that our best is not enough?

and it's such a lie too, because if we're giving something our best, that's all we can do - and that is always enough. 

stay stoked!

oh, p.s. ......there's a brand new trailer out for my book Worlds Beneath, and i would LOVE to know what you think of it!! here's a link.

3 practical (& self-loving) ways to kick writer's block

one of the questions i'm asked the most is how i remedy writer's block and stay inspired creatively. but i think oftentimes, we ask this question from the wrong starting point: "how do i get rid of writer's block?" simply put, we wait to ask ourselves this question until we already feel stuck and uninspired.

today i want to go over a few practical (self-loving) ways to kick writer's/creative block in the face, but first, i think it's important to start with identify what exactly writer's block even is. (if you're not a writer, this can all easily be applied to creative blocks of any kind.) 

i've noticed that a lot of people talk about writer's block almost like it's an ailment - something that one catches from who-knows-where; something that you had nothing to do with.  

but see, that's where i think we're wrong. in most cases writer's block doesn't just happen to us - we don't "catch" it. writers block is just an indicator that our creative balance is off - that's all it is...and happily, there are quite a few things we can do to change that.   

i recently made a video all about changing up your creative routines to help stay balanced and inspired - if you haven't seen it yet, feel free to check it out here.   

okay, let's dive right in - here are three of my favorite practical ways to prevent writer's/creative block - aka a few things I check on regularly to keep my creative mind healthy and balanced:

#1 clean my office

this may seem like a small, and perhaps even insignificant step to take, but keeping your creative space clean an organized can really aid in boosting your creative energy. i always feel calm and more at peace when i sit down at a clean desk instead of a messy, cluttered one. try tidying up before you start your creative work flow. maybe even make or buy a few storage containers to get more organized. cleaning up before you start writing or working on your creative project can actually become a relaxing ritual. 


and I'm not talking about a bowl of cheerios. grab an avocado and some eggs, or a bowl of fruit with diary or non-dairy yogurt. i'm always amazed (and amused) by how i can typically pin-point some of my roughest, and most "uncreative" days only to find that those were the days i ate poorly, or skipped breakfast. food - GOOD food - is fuel. are you sitting down to write on an empty stomach? are you fueling yourself with sugar or processed foods? your brain burns roughly 300 calories A DAY. so if you find yourself beating your head against a stubborn plot hole, or just unable to think clearly, you might be able to actually beat that writer's block by taking a break and making yourself something substantial to eat. i've found a lot of good, healthy recipes here and here

#3 get plenty of sleep

for me, this has always been the biggest one: when i'm tired, i struggle with being creative. it's hard to think, it's hard to write, it's hard to not fly off the handle over very small things. everyone needs different amounts of sleep depending on their specific needs, but based on studies, the average person needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep. i'm a 9 hour person. i've experimented to test my theory: i'm pretty miserable with less than that. so if you're feeling chronically uninspired to write or create, and maybe just feeling downright fatigued, check up on how many hours of shut-eye you're getting at night. If you're clocking in somewhere around 6 or 7 hours - or maybe even less, trying going to bed earlier, or letting yourself sleep in later if you are able to do so. you might find that this actually helps turn your creative game around. here's a helpful article.  

these may seem like no-brainers to some, but i find it amazing how easy it can be to let things like these slide! often our schedules quickly fill and become hectic and things like eating right, sleeping more, and giving ourselves the clean, quiet spaces we need to be creative fall to the wayside. 

but this kind of self-care is so important because these are all vital things our bodies NEED to stay healthy, balanced, calm, and happy. i used to have this mentality that if i could write then i would be happy, but it's actually the reverse. we need to be happy first - and then, from that starting point, we can begin to be creative, and make things the world needs. there's an awesome TED talk about happiness first. i feel like i've linked it a hundred times before and i'm about to do it again, because it is THAT good.

so there are three of my favorite practical (and regularly used) tips for staying creative and inspired. i hope they can act as an encouragement to you as you continue chasing your dreams, goals, and creative careers! this post was released earlier this week on my patreon blog - and there's also a patron-exclusive podcast to accompany it as well. 

okay rad soul, now it's your turn - what's something you would add to this list?? what keeps YOU happy, healthy, and feeling creative? what's your go-to when you feel 'meh' creatively? i would LOVE to hear what you think in the comments below!

stay stoked!

how to (begin to) change the world

when we talk about "changing the world", we're often not talking about we ourselves personally changing the planet we live on. we're talking about being a part of a collective that will do the job, or maybe even being part of urging someone in a government position to help implement the change we wish to see in the world. but if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know by now that I'm a massive believer in the fact that we are powerful, sacred beings who were born with everything we need to help change this world for the better. And I believe that change starts right here, right now, with us.

with me. with you.

as i mentioned in my last blog post (in which i talked a bit about how i believe our very purpose can be found in helping to change the world), there's a lot in the world that needs to be changed. if you follow me on social media, you may have seen my post on thursday in support of the end it movement, spurred by a collation raising awareness about the fact that humans are enslaved and trafficked worldwide; there are actually more slaves today than ever before, and that is a staggering statistic.

when we look at issues like trafficking, or how many orphans there are in the world, or how many people don't have access to clean, safe drinking water - or if we look at how much of our beautiful planet has been polluted and exploited, we can often feel extremely overwhelmed and helpless. but we don't have to feel this way; in fact, beginning to change the world is not a complicated process.

notice i said "beginning to" ;)

every movement, every change, everything starts with an idea. the civil rights movement started with some great ideas. going to the moon started with ideas. jacque cousteau's research started with an idea. it blows my mind when i look around at the world and everything in it - every building, every street, every store, every sign, every car, house, and coffee shop - if your rewind far enough, it was all born in the dark solitude of someone's imagination. long before anything comes into material existence, everything begins there.

that said, we can use this as a valuable tool, because the very first step we need to take to change the world is to simply get our idea, whatever it may be, out of heads and onto a piece of paper. that may sound ridiculously simple, but that really is the first step. whether you want to write a book, or start a movement, sitting down and writing out your thoughts is the first thing you need to do to actually begin to make your ideas tangible. and i know this from experience.

when I was a young teenager I co-founded a non-profit organization called Blue Freedom with my sister. together with some close friends, we launched this international volunteer-run group centered around protecting and restoring our oceans - specifically keeping whales and dolphins wild, and out of captivity (a massive and destructive threat to cetaceans). in 2012 we started a blog, chronicling the facts we were uncovering through our research, and sharing them with students through online awareness and presentations. 

but for us, that wasn't enough. we wanted to do something even bigger with what we had learned. so we decided to make a documentary about it. 

i remember the first time we discussed the idea; i'm pretty sure it was just my sister and i, and our parents gathered around our dining room table, brainstorming ideas. the idea for making a film came up...and we wrote it down.

little did i know that the next few years would take my sister and I all over the country, conducting and filming interviews, speaking at events, and getting to know and hear the stories of some absolutely incredible people. it was a lot of work, and it turned into a massive project that went far beyond those simple words i had jotted down in my "meeting notes" that afternoon...but it started there.

we called our film Voiceless, and in August of 2016 we were privileged and honored to be invited to premier it at Superpod, an environmental conference on San Juan Island, Washington that is attended by an international group of scientists, filmmakers, authors, journalists, naturalists, orca advocates and people who want to see killer whales in their natural home.

today our film has garnered nearly 150 thousand views, has been shown in schools both in the US and internationally, and continues to help raise awareness for keeping whales and dolphins wild.

in the grand scheme of things, it can be easy to look at making a film or writing a book and say to ourselves "that's just a drop in the ocean - how can that possibly change the world?" but the truth is, it's the only thing that ever has: our ideas, our words...it takes only one person to take that first step. to have an idea and write it down. that's when everything slowly begins to turn, gaining more an more momentum with your passion.

but the point of my story, and the reason i bring it up, is the simple fact that i was just a kid...a kid with an idea, a laptop, and a lot of passion. so never, never, never let someone tell you that you can't. that's a lie. there is always something you can do. 

“one child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”
- malala yousafzai

and as i write this, i'm encouraging myself! because there is SO MUCH MORE I WANT TO DO. i want to help save this planet and the people and animals who live here. i want to keep inspiring people with my words. and the thing that inspires me to no end is the fact that i can make a difference. i actually can do something. there are literally no limiters. 

it's easy to despair and lose hope...but, when you look deeper - when you look at the raw potential for goodness inside of you? you'll soon discover that there is never a reason to lose hope. whether you want to end human trafficking, stop deforestation, or help kids in need, there is always something you can do.

"There is within human nature an amazing potential for goodness."
- rev. dr. martin luther king jr.

so, let's start with the very first thing: writing it down. even if you don't have a specific idea, write down something you want to see change in the world: anything. write it down in a journal and keep in on your desk or in a place where you can return to it often. when you think of ideas spun from what you wrote down, jot those down beneath what you originally wrote. chronicle your own ideas for change.

this afternoon, just before i began this post, i stat down at the table with my own journal and pen and wrote down a very big idea of my own, and i'm glad i did, because i'm going to return to that idea every single time i get discouraged or feel overwhelmed to remind myself that we are here on purpose, and for a purpose...and nothing we do to make this world a better place is ever wasted.

okay, your turn - what's one thing you want to impact the world for the better with - in one word? truth? love? peace? comment below and share your word + thoughts, I would absolutely love to hear them. i hope this post encouraged and inspired you...and i hope you see a potential world-changer when you look in the mirror today. :) Oh, and if you get a chance to check out Voiceless, let me know what you think of it!

stay stoked!

the roar on the other side of silence


lately, i've been thinking a lot about this word. i've been thinking a lot about this big, spinning ball of earth, and light, and water that we call home; why we're here and what we were made for. i deeply believe that we cannot pinpoint just one reason...i think there are many reasons why we are here, but i also believe that each of these roots back to something even bigger and more ultimate: love.

we are here because of love, to give love, and to experience love. what greater purpose is there than to treat others and ourselves with love, and to truly find and understand our own identity within the context of true, beautiful, unconditional love?

i recently tweeted on a spark of inspiration:

when i find myself sitting alone on a quiet night, or lying awake in bed, i often catch myself thinking about this...changing little bits of the world by living each day in love...we each share that reason for being. regardless of what field you may want to work in, or what job you may have, or where you've journeyed in life so far, this is a massive part of your purpose. the reasons above are part of why you are here.

you are here to change the world. and that takes love. because in order to change the world, we have to start with ourselves. we have to start by treating ourselves as we would treat a hungry child or a vast ocean crying out for help. we have to love ourselves deeply.

it makes me weep when i think about how much irrelevance we build around life...oh, goodness how we make it about so many things that don't matter. the long, lonely cries of every living soul - of the ocean and all it's life, of the stars in the sky, of every tear screaming out from the ground on which it fell - it's all lost in the chaos of the noise we build up around ourselves. it's all lost in the mess we make. and sitting here, drying my overwhelmed eyes, i cannot make sense of any of it. i've resigned myself; i can only make sense of the cry inside my own soul:

we weren't created to dwell within the vacuums of our own fabricated universes; like life teaming up from the ground, like flowers pushing through the dirt, we were meant to rise and help others reach for the sun. we were made to blossom and to encourage and enable those beside us to unfold their own beautiful petals.

we're here for so much more than the noise; the buying and the selling and the pictures on the billboards. to reduce ourselves to this kind of "success" is like...oh gosh, it's like confining a supernova to a streetlight. 

because when it comes down to it, there is much to be done here, and if we haven't rolled up our sleeves yet and jumped in...what are we waiting for? if we're wondering why we're here, or what our purpose is...maybe it lies in the undertones of those cries; maybe among the rubble and the rebuilding...maybe that's where we find our purpose. maybe we find our meaning in the smile lines on the orphan's face when they finally find a home. maybe we find ourselves in the gushing of fresh, clean water as it rushes from the dry ground. maybe we're in the forests that are left to grow wild, or in the ocean that rolls ever onward, cleaner and purer for us having dove to its aid. maybe our anthem is in the breaking of chains.

maybe this is who we are. maybe this is why we are here. 

i heard this quote the other day while watching a film adaptation of George Elliot's Middlemarch, and it stuck in my mind like haunting lyrics:

“If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.”

true success i think, is to have such unadulterated senses, that we can clearly hear that muffled cry on the other side of silent complacency - and reaching out, we can tear through that veil to find our own souls on the other side; to find humankind as it should be.

maybe our purpose is found in the roar on the other side of silence.

oh goodness, i hope these restless churnings of my mind make sense! i'll write more about this some other time, no doubt in a more expounded way. there's just so much on my mind, it's hard to get it all out, sitting still at a desk like this. i feel like i need to just go out into the woods and shout all my ideas to the mountains and the trees and see what they have to say about them before i even think about writing anything else down.

i'd originally thought i should talk about the fact that i launched my patreon page yesterday, but my soul just wasn't stirred to. i did launch it yesterday though, and i'm looking forward to building a community there. i would love and appreciate your feedback on the page if you have a moment to check it out. <3 i do want to say that i would never want you to feel obligated to give on patreon though, because i love you and the sheer fact that you are here is more support than i can find adequate words to thank you for.  if you're interested in the patreon community though, you can check it out here.

next week we'll talk more about the world and everything.

what is one thing you would change about the world if you knew you could not fail??

stay stoked,

don't miss it all

this morning after karate, i made blueberry scones. i was standing at my kitchen sink looking out the window, and the sky was a bright, robin's egg blue splashed in a smattering of puffy white clouds. golden sunlight came down in shafts, igniting large, sugary snowflakes that swirled and bent with the ebbing breeze. i was spellbound standing there at that window. 

i couldn't help but think, standing there with the sun on my face, "oh man, what matters more than this? this is what everything is about." 

now. the present.
that moment. 

snow and sunshine and the warmth of the kitchen, my goodness...we miss so many of the most beautiful moments, always reaching for the big and the grand...mmm, but we overlook the gentle rhythm of life, the very breath in our lungs. it reminds me of this quote:

"men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars...and they pass by themselves without wondering."

so often we miss so much. we lose the things that truly make up life in the rush of the rapids, in the constant rush. we pass by ourselves without wonder. we overlook others without wonder. we don't get giddy over snow anymore. we don't close our eyes to breathe deep the scent of fresh baked scones. we don't smile simply because the sun is on our face.

often we live for the promotion, or the whirlwind trip, or the next big project. yet, in doing this we miss so much - we miss life. so many beautiful things slip through our fingers. yes, the "big life events" can be wonder-filled...but honestly, when we slow down and breathe and listen...when we unplug and take a walk in the woods, or tip our faces to the night's sky to watch the stars, or simply embrace someone we love, we are reminded that these - oh these things are the stuff of life. These are the big things. these are the wonders of the world.

we are wonders of the world.

sometimes i find myself just standing in my driveway, spinning and staring up at the sky, barely able to keep my eyes open for the brightness of it all; the glory of this big spinning ball of ocean and earth and sky. 

we have starry nights here. we have quiet, sun-soaked afternoons here. we have the patter of rain on the roof. the crunch of freshly fallen snow under warm, woolly boots. we have forests of towering trees and screeching hawks and coyotes and owls that fill the nights with song. ohhh, glory we have wind too - wind that runs her soft fingers through our hair and kisses both our cheeks like she hasn't seen us in ages. we have mountains! and we have rolling fog and gusty blue-gray oceans. we have poetry and we have campfires. we have music. we have have blankets and pillow forts. we have fireflies. summer skies. bike rides and playground swings. 

we have so much wonder all around us. we have so much wonder inside of us.

oh, please, don't miss it. don't miss it all. you've probably heard that expression "don't miss the forest for the trees" before but you know what? don't miss the trees for the forest either. don't go so fast and look so far ahead all the time that you don't come close and touch that rough red bark, or breathe deep that fresh cedar wood or notice the soft green moss or see the tiny spider's webs laced with glistening dew. 

and don't miss the wonder that is inside of you either. don't miss it. 

stay stoked!