The Terror of Our Blank Pages and Days

girl-sun

By Amanda Cleary Eastep Nothing is more exciting, or more terrifying, than facing a blank page. That’s true for more than writers. Today, my lifelong friend faces a blank page each day. It seems to her that little is left of the story she spent so many years painstakingly writing in blood tears prayers struggles. […]

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Going Dark–or at least Going Dim–to find your way

writing

By Amanda Cleary Eastep I love going to the movies. I love sharing an overpriced pop, gorging on Good and Plenty smuggled inside my “movie purse” because it makes up for the pricey Pepsi, and watching people wander into the theater and spend that awkward 15 seconds making their personal seating preference known to an audience of […]

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An Encouragement Roundup: Writing, Reality, and Wartime Heroes

shoreline

By Amanda Cleary Eastep I read. A lot. About writing, art, marketing, business, religion, and homesteading. That’s in between the novels. I do this primarily to learn. But I also do it to encourage myself, which is something I’ve needed more lately. Writing as an intentional practice has been arduous. As an emotional and spiritual […]

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Sticky Notes from the Universe You May Have Missed

By Amanda Cleary Eastep There were sticky notes everywhere. Just to make absolutely sure that the high school and college graduation party for my kids went off without a hitch, my mother had strategically placed important messages throughout the house. “pans for grilled food only” (read: don’t use these pans for E-coli-ridden raw meat holders […]

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Taking a Red Crayon to a White Wall

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By Amanda Cleary Eastep I’m back to volunteering to teach writing workshops at The Bridge Teen Center. What happens around that table never changes, not really, just the faces and the words. The need of these young people to express themselves is always there, despite their education or neighborhood or personal challenges. This is an updated post […]

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Leaping in Faith: A willing suspension of disbelief

jump-tall-building

  By Amanda Cleary Eastep I’ve always wanted to skydive. To feel my heart about to come out of my mouth, to stop myself from vomiting upward into my own face, to fall and be yanked back in the nick of time. But leaping didn’t happen that way. I decided it would be way more […]

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What Your Purpose Is Not

woman-forest

Purpose. No topic is too big for the #wholemamas. Follow us over at Erika Shirk’s Overflow blog. By Amanda Cleary Eastep Every night I take it to bed with me, wake up with it, and feel it breathing down my neck when I’m not giving enough attention to it. (No, it isn’t an overly affectionate labrador.) It’s my […]

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Cutting the fluff in writing…and in life

[A version of this was originally written for a message I gave at my church, House of Saints and Sinners.] By Amanda Cleary Eastep Endless tips for better writing exist, especially when it comes to “cutting the fluff” of adjectives and adverbs that leave an otherwise solid story looking like this: Photo Credit: ozfan22 via Compfight […]

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Taking a Red Crayon to a White Wall

Seven teenagers sit around the table, notebooks in front of them, looking to me to teach them how words work. How words flow out of the end of that purple gel pen or the borrowed pencil and somehow arrange themselves on lines and into stories. I have barely finished a more-challenging-than-usual semester of teaching a media […]

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