About Orna Ross

Orna Ross writes and publishes novels, poems and the Go Creative! books and blog. She is Founder and Director of The Alliance of Independent Authors, an association of the world's best self-publishing authors and advisors and has been described as "one of the 100 most influential people in publishing" (The Bookseller). Born and raised in Wexford in the south-east of Ireland, she now lives, mostly, in London. Talk to her on Twitter: @ornaross


  1. Charles H. Bertram

    Good morning. One day there were five, (5) rejection slips in my mail two from book publishers, two from agents and Budweisher rejected a one dollar rebate coupon. That hurt. My new book BIKINI WEDNESDAY features a novel about a Muslim girl who wears a bikini to a public beach a a rotest, but all hell breaks loose when her photo turns up on the internet. This is my seventh book, one with a traditional publisher and six with Infinity a POD publiher.

    Keep writing & many thanks.

    Charlie Bertram

  2. Kim Wulfert

    I really enjoyed and appreciated your ebook about your version of meditation. it was packaged pretty too. thank you for sharing it. I use it (among others) and am a firm believer that meditation is the best thing we can do to help ourselves and the world.

  3. Judith Morgan

    Hi Orna

    Great minds think alike. I shall be getting rid of all my books this week. Yes, I’ve always recycled books but there are those I love, those I feel I cant be parted from. But no more – they are all going this week – bring on the ipad, I can travel more lightly through the world.

    Clutter-clearing rocks. If anyone lives near London SW2 and would like to collect an armful, do get in touch. Quick!


  4. Kate Hannon

    Friends and relatives are always amazed when they learn I’ve actually read 98% of the books on my shelves, many of them multiple times. As I near retirement age, I’m learning to acknowledge that my books actually own me. While it will be like losing old friends, I know it’s time to say goodbye to most of them. One of the reasons I love my Kindles (2) and iPad is that I get to haul around dozens and dozens of books at a time. In my neck of the woods when we get rid of stuff we don’t need anymore, we call it “de-crapping.” If anyone lives in Massachusetts, USA, and wants books, get in touch! As a procrastinator of the first order, you don’t need to hurry as I’m sure I won’t get around to it for a while.

  5. Stevie Godson

    Me too, me too – but I can only ever bring myself to use pencil!
    My friend’s late mother used to do the same. When Jeannie was going through her mum’s books it was as though some of the essence of her mother had permeated the pages.

  6. judith barrow

    I felt so much better after reading’ Book Owner … or Reader. It’s been a guilty secret of mine that I too scribble comments in margins for when I next re-read a book, or cut out paragraphs. My mother would be horrified (but there again she has never passed on or lent anyone a book in case they’spoil’it. Special words and phrases are like chocolate; they melt slowly in the mouth as they are savoured. Often, they will conjour up images that can, in turn, lead on to ideas for my own writing.I once read a very evocative description of a storm in a piece of travel writing that immediately brought back memories of a storm from my childhood. It helped me to set the scene for an event in my wartime saga, Pattern of Shadows. So thank you Orna – at last I have a clear conscience!!

  7. Elizabeth

    I loved your post on books. I am exactly the same way! That is why I really cannot borrow books from the library anymore, because I love to scribble notes, highlight/underline key information, fold corners over, and tear out pages to carry around with me as well. :-)

  8. Jess

    I look forward to receiving the Orna Ross blogg because there is always a message that resonates with truth and depth. With fresh encouragement and helpful links I am growing through this authors generous spirit. Thank you Orna Ross.

  9. Anne Graham

    I could never be without my books. They are like old friends to me. I often run my fingers over their spines and have even been known to kiss them on occasion. I could never contemplate defacing a book , but keep my favourite quotes in a file where I can read over them often.

  10. Karen

    Love the no-nonsense tips you have shared here. I do enjoy writing (although I’m in a different category of writing), and sometimes it is very hard to find inspiration. Thanks for giving me the shot in the arm I needed to continue doing what I do. :-)

    Karen, The Resume Chick (on Google or Twitter for questions, comments and violent reactions)

  11. Christo Heyworth

    You are right about Answering Back, Orna.

    In addition to getting enjoyment from the talent on display, the concept on which it is based can provide a fresh inspiration for creation – find a poem which is striking for you in some way and respond with your own Answering Back poem.

  12. Jane in Australia

    …and always that wonderfully scary example of Hemingway.
    ‘For Sale: baby shoes, never used’. (or was it never worn?)

    sometimes I practice writing drabbles (100 word) stories
    but it is an endless challenge.
    thanks for the thougths, and sharing.

    Jane from @ Number 8

  13. Ron Leith

    This is the most viable and worthwhile connection I have come across since entering twitterville. Thank you for myself and for all others who are engifted by your time and effort.

  14. Michael Cooney

    What a comforting thought to imagine/believe that you can hold a conversation with a writer you admire. I’m about to start one with Stieg Larsson. Hopefully my very rudimentary Swedish will hold up. MC

  15. Mary Wogan

    Hi Orna,

    Just read the Idea of the Decade post. (Camille Paglia) It sounds to me more like an observation than an idea, and it’s very simplistic, ie go back to using your hands, being craftsmen. I suppose people who write, who are in the media etc live in their heads a lot and the internet info overload doesnt help stress/tiredness, but not everyone is suited to being or wants to be a craftsperson. I think Camille needs to come up with something else a bit more noteworthy.

  16. Offbeat Woman

    I started my blogging journey here in this wonderous website a month ago, and I feel I have entered a whole new world. I have travelled so far in those weeks that I feel as though my life has been turned upside down, inside out and my spirit has come back to life! Thank you so much Orna Ross.

    offbeat woman

  17. joseph baron-pravda

    Cheers! Brilliant!

    (there, my Anglophilia is in check, for now)

    The author/reader interface hasn’t been this good since Cervantes wrote ‘Don Quixote’………….

    Truly, writer accessibility is something that enriches her/him—like some catholic coffeehouse w/o walls; which reminds me, let’s bring back the original coffeehouse, the organic internet of olde.

    Postscript: I’m doing screen/stage adaptations of some of my short stories, including microficition; how’s your intermedia experience going? Peace, IN!

  18. Michael

    ” While you can probably squeeze out some creativity by sitting at your desk in front of a blank page, anxiously willing yourself to ‘work’, it’s a creative fact that you’ll have more inspired results through snoozing, daydreaming, taking a mental or physical ‘wander’ or meditating.”

    I think it was Octavio Paz who, when he retired to his bedroom for an afternoon siesta, hung a sign on his door reading: “ Quiet! Poet at work.”

    Nice thought on creativity Orna

  19. Rahul Anand

    I’m a regular subscriber of your blog. And I guess there’s nothing more to be said about the confidence we get from your write-ups! :)
    The thing I wanted to notify you is something technical about the website. When there are images in your post, usually the thumbnails are small, but I can see that the actual image is very large. The size of the image is over 2MB or so. This makes the thumbnail load very slow and also steals my Internet bandwidth as well. Please try to resize the image to a smaller, sufficient size, which is favorable to both you and the readers.

  20. Heather

    I was actually looking up a citation for “creative intelligence” for my online psychology course. Albeit not a “legit” scientific source ;) I really liked it and used it as one for a discussion assignment. Then I had a crazy notion to look further into your web page. Something about it intrigued me. I was reading your “about” page and realized I had to mention it to the lady in my class I was posting my reply to. She is also an author and advocate for vegetarianism. So far she has written two books and is currently on her third. She mentioned to me about having written about how diet affects health and can cure many things. She also mentions being on the radio to further advocate her approach. I don’t know her very well, as it’s an internet course; however, I am sure she will be highly interested in what you have to say about such issues (and also inspired by your writing;) Hope you don’t mind, but I relayed your information to her in a second reply to her. :) I love your website layout! (Maybe because I have some Irish decent in me… hehe) Great job and I’m glad I “ran” into you.

  21. Mary

    To teach my own children some sense, I took them from the box that is called school and taught them or let them learn at home. Those kids have more sense than normal and show more intelligence since they had some exercise to think for themselves without accepting the norm. My son is very well red and so intelligent that the people around him have a trouble accepting him and allowing him to pursue his passions…music, the right job, etc. This is where the right decision will get a backlash or a result that was not expected at all but are victims of the majority.

  22. Sally

    Microsoft approached Evergreen State College, a school renowned for encouraging students to fly their own pathway, and requested four interns who would really “think outside the box.” Each of the four were offered permanent positions at the end of their internships. The next year, Microsoft returned and made the same request, but with a caveat: “This time, maybe not so FAR outside the box.” Giggle.

  23. Ron Leith

    I have been teaching Spiritually Based Leadership Workshops for years as an independent consultant. These blog posts are an excellent resource for those of us who work at helping others achieve their maximum life-source potential. Outstanding work. Pidamayedo.

  24. Cynthia Reed

    Thanks for much for the daily ‘pops’ of inspiration via Twitter. I always look forward to your Tweets and info. Well done and today was no exception. Waiting for my “Animoto” images to upload so just taking a moment to express continued gratitude. Go well!

  25. Ted Smith

    Wonderful stuff on creative intelligence! And the term sounds much better than ‘right-brained’….
    It is only in the past year that I discovered what has been ‘wrong’ with me all my life! A female friend said to me, “Well, you are right-brained!”…. and being right-brain dominant, I had to run home and google it as I could not remember which was the creative half! Categories escape me…… It is especially difficult being male and being this way – for one’s entire life you are expected to be able to function as a left brain dominant person – and I have always been an utter failure at this. I have new sympathy for left-handed people who were forced to write with their right hands as kids…..

  26. Ted Smith

    What is a poem? Impossible to say or define…… There are rhymes.. there is also alliterative poetry…. but I would say it has to sing in your mind and do the same for others – mind you it will never do the same for all, or even many, others.. but that is essential.. I often write something I call prose-poems — written paragraphs in prose that paint pictures and project music – that flash across your soul….


  27. Christine Cox]

    Love this post, thanks! It’s a great way to remind psuedo writers and wanna be-s that writing ain’t for sissies – if you really want to write, you have to love the grinding discipline that comes with it – whether you’re noticed or not!

  28. Robin Stevens Payes

    Can recommend Mlodinow and Stephen Hawking’s new book, Grand Design, for as readable a version of quantum physics as you’ll ever find (e.g., our perception of our universe is as skewed as the view of a goldfish swimming in a clear, round fish bowl).

    Having just attended a conference at Johns Hopkins on the neuroscience of the arts with Pat Metheny on improvisation and a Hopkins ear surgeon on hearing and perception – and what the brain does on improvisation based on fMRI scans.

    My own summary of that conference – and how artists are about 6000 years ahead of scientists in understanding the universal creativity here:

  29. John Anderson

    I small boy awoke from his kindergarten class & was told to run home the president had been shot in Dallas. The boy ran fast as other walked and laughed. Life changed after that.

    Interesting how life slips along.

  30. Linda

    I love your posts Orna, but your reference to f—– for virginity was repulsive to me. It was in bad taste to use such a phrase on your lovely creative forum. I wish you hadn’t.

  31. Brian G. Mc Enery

    Just started to write a book during my last trip to Cape Clear Island. The title is ‘Síol an tEó Fís – The Roe of the Salmon of Knowledge.’ The reference to roe is a play on the word toe, as Cape Clear Island may be considered the toe of Ireland, also I believe that I have found a way to resolve the 100 year old search for a TOE, a Theory of Everything in Physics. If this is true, and accepted as a process of gaining total knowledge, then the TOE changes to ROE, the Reality of Everything.

  32. Sandra Leigh

    Thank you, Orna, for so eloquently expressing your concern about the wearing of the poppy. I share your concern, and every year I dread the approach of Remembrance Day and the social pressure that accompanies it. I understand the need to remember our history, and I am grateful to those who have given their lives in war; but I do not understand the need to glorify war, and I doubt that I ever will. Thanks again for speaking out.

  33. John Howlett

    I really enjoyed and love your blog. It is very interesting and quite inspirational. A nice change of pace from the every day hustle of life and business. I will pass this blog along to my friends and business associates. Great job! Orna, I now have one more blog to read every day.Thank you.

  34. Kate McNeilly

    A profound connection between physics and so called mysticism. It’s only in the last 2 years that I’m particularly aware of such connections and it’s wonderful! I have a number of friends who are scientists who are coming round to such connections, and the work of Bruce Lipton and Gregg Braden have helped me enormously. This is something I will comment on at my next book study meeting because it is such a thought-provoking post. Thanks, Orna.

  35. Brian G. Mc Enery

    Fritjo Capri’s book the Tao of Physics, was one of the indicators which lead me deep into exploring the correlation between the concepts of modern physics and the systematic knowledge of consciousness as expounded by the vedic science of india. Some of this knowledge is most eloquently expresses by John Hagelin, a Harvard trained physicist who has done a lot to promote the knowledge and technology of Invincible Defence. His website, is worth having a look at.

  36. Μaria Papadopoulou

    You know Orna, i always believed in creative intelligence. I specifically always thought that it was directly related to emotional intelligence. The deeper you dig into something, the bigger treasure you will find, and this is exactly what you are doing with your blog. Keep up the good work!

    Maria Papadopoulou
    Author of the poetry book: From Hell With Love

  37. Maria Papadopoulou

    You are absolutely right that the whole process of reviewing your work before sumbitting it for publication is a living nightmare. What happens with me is that the more i look at my work, the more i want to make changes. I try hard not to give in to temptation, otherwise i will never submit anything.LOL So i give myself three chances. After three reviews, i am ready. I had to set that specific limit for my own peace of mind.

    Maria Papadopoulou
    Author of the poetry book: From Hell with Love

  38. Chris v Vuuren

    This site has reminded me of so much we forget about creativity. Like I used to love writing small stories when I was a child and send it to my grandmother. But we get so caught up in the maelstrom of the world we forget.

    Thanks for allowing us to open ourselves again and remember

  39. Orna Ross

    HI Bill, thanks for your interest. The 7 Stages is a series. Part 3 is here: Part 4 will go up on the blog today & thanks for the reminder to tidy up the links. If you are interested in the stages as they apply to writing, you’ll find a bit more on and If your interest is in creating something else, anything from money to meaningful relationships, the good news is I am working on an e-book which will bring together all 7 stages, with examples drawn from real life and exercises that will take you through each stage. That e-book will be available here on the blog (free to subscribers) later in 2011, hopefully, depending on other commitments. Hope that helps.

  40. Uva Be

    It is interesting how many wield words without thinking of their meaning. But, what I am hearing here is an argument about the kind of creative resources that poor and working class people have always used. We creatively get by in hard economic times by cooking every bit, and eating all our “leftovers”, by mending our clothes (creatively) by packing more people into a small living space. etc…

    Then uncreative noise, or sound bites are about people who have been blindly making money, for the sake of making money for so long, that they don’t have a clue what it’s like to live in the red of credit debt or a budget that doesn’t cover every day cost of living for themselves or their family.

    Both, creative and uncreative ideals have gone on for as long as there was a class division in any population.

  41. Roberta

    Thanks for this Orna, along with all the other memos, often they are the first thing to re-motivate me when my energy and confidence are flagging. This is such an important maxim I would love for it to be sent to every teacher in the world – so many times my daughters have been inspired by a teacher’s enthusiasm and encouragemnet yet, sadly, really demoralised and put off by a critical teacher who thinks she / he is helping the child by running down their work or even their person. I read a brilliant book years ago by John Gray, the psychologist who wrote the Mars / Venus stuff – the book is called Children are from Heaven and emphasises the fragility of self-esteem right up to the teenage years and the destructive nature of criticism. I also researched Maria Montessori’s work for my thesis on self-development. She said the child was like a delicate seedling, needing nurturance and gentle training but anything beyond that is destructive. Criticism she said was an act of violence to the delicate mind of the child and we all still have our inner child, in fact often it is in that free, imaginative part of ourselves that creativity lies. So thanks for reminding me of all these things and I am doubly motivated now to be accepting and gentle with all around me.

    All the best, Roberta

  42. Dennis

    Thank you for posting this. It has been years since I last read this story and I had completely forgotten about it. I will be passing this on to my friends who I am not with NOW, but will be.

  43. Leon Enriquez

    Dear Ms Orna, I happen by
    Your web page as I researched;
    Words I gotta, smiles on the sly,
    Now stray thoughts stage in fleeting surge!
    I like the way you sculpt your words,
    Surprise pulls me ere I can flee;
    Yet I must say: your echoes’ heard…
    Charm now flings free: intense, squarely!
    I like your stuff when words spring clear;
    I’ve said enough, late moments steer.

  44. Mo Neville

    Hello Orna! Just found your blog recently and wanted to mention how much inspiration, or rather “clarification” I’ve gained from a particular post – “Becoming a Writer”. Your mention of the writer’s struggle because “no one seems to care,” struck a cord with me as this is probably the biggest pitfall for me. But your fresh perspective of “no one really asking you to do this, so you need to strengthen the bond with yourself” – sort of shed a whole new light. You’re right, no one did ask, so why should they be sooo invested in the outcome? I do it for me; for creative expression; I’m the one that’s got to connect with it first…

    Ok back to work now! Love your site.

    Mo Neville

  45. Gina

    I loved the poem about the rain. I currently have water standing in the yards and seeping in the basement so I badly needed a new way to view it. I shared it on my FB page as all the locals are equally tired of the rain and I thought they might enjoy a different mode of reference. And yes, I’ve been to the lovely isle of Ireland and am familiar with its frequent squirts of watering. I say squirts because that’s what they are compared to the thunderstorms we experience and when my Irish friend visited here, he was amazed at the difference. It’s good for me to be reminded of those refreshing “squirts” though. Thank you!

  46. Linda Angér, The Write Concept

    Orna – I am excited about your serialized novel. It will be interesting to see how this works for you online, what following you gain, and, from my perspective as an editor, how you handle revisions of early chapters if/when things have to change as a result of what comes up as you work through later chapters.

    Count me in as a reader!

  47. Sally

    Hurray for serialization! Is there a way you can pay yourself for this? I would buy a (very cheap) membership–such a miser I am, but an enthusiastic supporter. Or, an ad to run with the episode?

  48. Orna Ross

    Thanks so much Sally. What I’m going to do, thanks to you and others who have said the same thing, is have a donation button so if people are enjoying it, they’ll be able to show their appreciation. I’m a wee bit nervous, as the outline I have in my head is very nebulous, but hey, if it worked for Dickens and my great hero, George Eliot… maybe some of their magic will rub off!

  49. Michael Cantone

    Great idea!

    Just a thought, for you.

    How about doing something with Kindle. I do not own a Kindle but I have it installed on my PC and my Mac and when you read on either it syncs to the last page you read. It’s free!

    I am very interested in reading your novel.

    Please don’t hesitate to contact me for more information. as far as a reader goes. I have no idea how Kindle works the deal out with the writers but I have read two novels over two weekends.

  50. Sandra Leigh

    I’ve had a busy week — just had time (finally!) to open the e-mail entitled “Skin Diving”. What a great surprise, to find the first chapter of your novel. Your description of the countryside and the Palladian building grabbed me right away (I had a Stourhead moment) and the childhood memories left me wanting more. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I saw something about asking for donations. Will you not be selling your story as an e-book?

  51. Linda Angér, The Write Concept

    Orna, just finished Ch 4 of “Skin Diving.”

    I’ve got a demon on one shoulder screaming “Damnation! I want the rest of this RIGHT NOW!” and an angel on the other whispering to me that I get to savor the richness of this story, and your masterful writing, over and over again, as each chapter is released.

    So, the anticipation grows. I love it and hate it at the same time.

    Fabulous job, Mack and Zelda come alive in this chapter!

    Linda Anger

  52. Roberta

    Thanks again Orna for bringing me back onto the constructive path. It is so easy to forget and slide into negativity and that draining self-driving that ends up getting you nowhere. And again, these memos always seem to pop up in my inbox just when I need them most! Synchronicity again – and thanks again and all the best with your work.

  53. Sue Orton

    This last couple of years wonderful Irish women are coming into my life with fire and creativity a plenty, I have a good feeling about you too! At 58 I am stepping into a new phase of my life out of academic education and into re-kindling, restoring and loving my own creativity. I have spent years and years doing it for others, now it’s my turn. I sense that your writing and presence may be excellent food for this journey and I thank you.

  54. Roberta

    Just to re-iterate how much of a motivator your blog is for me, especially the regular emails that remind me to check out the latest post. Lately I have been finding the imagery particularly pleasing and wonder how you manage to keep it fresh and updated?

    All the best

  55. Orna Ross

    Hi Roberta, thanks for the lovely feedback — I’m so pleased you noticed the pictures. It’s interesting actually. This guy wrote to me, a bit of a troll, telling me that my nature pics etc were cliches, an email was full of effing and blinding and insults. Anyone who has been online for a while gets used to that but I knew by the way I was feeling about his message that a small part of me agreed with him. So, ignoring the abuse, I read what he had to say and then had a little think (i.e. did some FREEwriting on it) and realised I had been coasting, taking it too handy — so decided to up the game a bit. Thank you so much for noticing, that’s really gratifying. And of course for the ongoing connection. Happy hatchings this week! x

  56. Rod MacKenzie

    Hi Orna, thanks for your blogs, especially the last one on anxiety and worry. Marion and I are going through a truly traumatic and stressful time and blogs like these are most uplifting….. and so true. Thank you


  57. Shawndel

    Dear Orna,

    I am interested to read your non-fiction to connect the self with one’s own creative intelligence. I am walking a path where such a meditation would be infinitely helpful both to me as an artisan academic and healer, and I would recommend the book to my clients who are survivors of trauma. I work with them to envision and create safe spaces in their everyday life, and such a meditation would center them amidst the challenges in their day to day experience.

    your blog was suggested to me from my Irish friend and Dubliner, Ruth. Although she and I don’t get to talk very often, your blogs always remind me of her and the moment of magic that inspired our meeting.

    Thank you for your work, I look forward to future posts, to reading your book and to creative success!

    With sincere regards,

  58. Marcia Richards

    Hello, Orna. I found you through Joanna Penn and am so glad I did. Your book, After the Rising, sounds right up my alley. I write 20th century historical fiction, so this intrigued me. I’ve ordered it for my Kindle.
    I like the idea of a freewriting notebook and plan to answer your questions, including the ‘why’ question. Looking forward to receiving your posts regularly. Great video with Joanna, by the way!

  59. Nancy M. Popovich

    I came to know about this blog through Joanna Penn’s interview. And, I like what you say. Your inevitability blog struck home, as it prompted me to honestly address those statements. I am dealing with my husband’s terminal illness, and they are relevant in my life at present. Great food for thought.

  60. Doreen Pendgracs

    Hi Orna:
    I, too, found you via Joanna Penn. You’ll have to thank her for all the connections!

    I LOVE your post about resolutions vs intentions. I’ve never been one to make resolutions. But I’ve begun to realize the importance of our intentions.

    I have a very clear intention for 2012: To get “Chocolatour” (my chocolate travel book) published. There will be lots about London it it! If you’d like a sneak peek, please visit my travel blog at:

    All the best to you,

  61. TimidBucaneer51

    I JUST discovered your web site while trolling the internet. I wish I had stumbled upon you sooner, but I am so thankful that I have now. I will look forward to every post on your blog, always hungering for more.

  62. Claire

    What a wonderful blog and a wonderful outlook you share Orna. I came straight here after reading your excellent post on the Mslexia Blog, not only venturing into the uncharted realms of epublishing, but inpsiring us with mindfulness and meditation. I loved the ‘Good News’ poem and I too am an admirer of the works of Thich Nhat Hanh’s work. I look forward to becoming more familiar with your work too.

  63. Faith

    Perfect. When my marketing assignments were beyond frustrating with revisions and do-overs, I used to think of it as just starting a new assignment each time instead of re-doing the same one over and over again. Okay, that’s a little crazy, but it’s a mental game really–and letting your work get you down is also a little crazy. Work is work and you have to work at it. Oh, and I love sharing this: instead of making a resolution, I look at it as an evolution. How do I want to evolve next? What do I want to grow into & become? It helps me stay focused on doing and getting better at the actions that get me to where I want to be. Sometimes it takes more than a year to make a real change. I’m really glad I found your blog, newsletter, twitter… you! Thanks.

  64. Paa Laing

    Hi Orna,
    Found you this morning while researching articles for an assifnment. Found your articles to be very uplifting. I was able to do my assignment and now i am reading on. Thank you very much for your great work and also given me the opportunity to see life from a different path.

  65. Claire

    thanks for this, orna,
    i’m doing just this with my groaning bookshelves – keeping the ones i love, selling some on amazon, giving others to charity – after friends have chosen any they’d like :)
    it’s not easy – i’m a serious bookaholic – but i do feel better for it…

  66. kenn

    Hi, i’m a long time reader, first time replier lol. seriously though, i always read your blogs and find them very insightful, useful and elegantly written. Big fan! So why am I suddenly replying to this blog, well the reason is I finally got to watch the movie, ‘age of stupid yesterday which is a very hard hitting inconvenient truthful movie about global warming. So your blog today I feel is very apt and hit me. I believe the only reason to create is to share, to help clear away what is in the way and to move us in the right direction. Your work does this and I admire you for it. I try to do the same with my company that I run. Its all about creating the space for people to explore their creative potential. Anyway Keep up the great writing. Its a beautiful addition to the world, peace kenn

  67. Linda Stanek

    Nice post, Orna. Though I never have enough time for it, I love my garden. In my early years of gardening, I wanted everything. And while I find value in almost every flowering thing (and many unflowering beauties as well), I’ve learned over time to be selective in my choice of plants. Because space is always at a premium, each flower has to earn its place by wowing me in its season. It may seem a little vigilant to some, but I can honestly say that when I look at my garden, I absolutely love everything I see. Sometime less really is more.

  68. Tonya

    I enjoyed this post. It resonated for me because as an art student in college (many years ago) I felt like something was “wrong” with me. I didn’t seem to have the “passion” to express myself as some of the other art students did. It made me question my creativity. I did, however, have the commitment to complete any project put in front of me — with pride and to the best of my ability. It was that trait I think, which resulted in me being given a “solo” exhibit in my senior year — something that was rarely given. Fast forward almost 30 years, and it is still commitment over passion that drives me. Thank you for posting this for all of us who may not be feel a “burning desire”, but rather the “need to not give up”.

  69. Mia Gallagher

    Great post on passion and a relief to read given the america’s got x factor talent culture we find ourselves living in. A cynical part of me can’t help wondering though how they’re going to rebrand commitment ;)

  70. MrsT

    Great post, thank you..
    Am just reading Stephen King ‘On Writing’ – he says much the same, it makes good sense!
    I’m new to (trying to) taking my writing seriously and still feel I need to make excuses – when people ask me what I’ve been doing I often tell them ‘just pottering’, what’s THAT all about?!! I am enjoying it though and I am constantly amazed at how generous people are with their encouragement and expertise on Twitter and Blogs.
    Thanks again

  71. Mary

    Hi Orna
    We have two experiences in common.I know all about self-censorship. After 32 years in the newspaper business,I’m trying to write a book and finding it extremely difficult to let it rip,so to speak. The second thing we have in common – the book is partly about my cancer.
    Best with your book.

  72. Bob D'Costa

    The blog was a lovely read especially being on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m an Indian, residing in India, but my eldest brother, Tony is an Irish citizen residing in Dublin and married to Ailish, an Irish woman. The theme of your novel is very interesting. I’m sure it’s going to interest readers. In fact I’m linking it to Facebook

  73. Claire 'Word by Word'

    Definitely in favour of maintaining secondary passions, for me reading is primary along with writing, but I have an interest in the energetic, spiritual and healing properties of essential oils and the philosophy of traditional chinese medicine and how they perceive the individual not just the illness in treatment, but not just through reading, I work with people to help restore equilibrium and I am endlessly fascinated by how the body responds and the mind is soothed.

  74. Hayley

    Hi Orna

    I enjoyed today’s post. I often condemn myself for being involved in too many projects. But your post today put a new spin on this. We are multi dimensional beings, so we should stimulate our creativity in a variety of ways. If we always use the same nerve path ways and synapses they will eventually wear out. Much the same as always wearing the same pair of shoes!

    Thanks once again.


  75. Marlene

    Love your posts. Thank you for sharing your ideas and encouragement. Loved the link today. I particularly appreciated the message today. I’d been feeling a little silly about my rather unorthodox way of juggling my passions, so I appreciate the permission to indulge in more than one. Take care!

  76. Becca Chopra

    Thanks for sharing all this great info from the London Book Fair. My best friend, a literary agent in London, is quite tense about the move of many authors to self-publishing. Like Joanna Penn said, it feels like the freedom movement of the 60’s! So, let’s all keep writing and helping each other promote our work – traditional publishers no longer market the non-celebrity authors’ books anyway. Will share some of your words of wisdom on our blog post –

  77. Mia Gallagher

    That’s a great post about exercise. There are some very interesting movement practices (e.g., Feldenkrais, Somatics) which work on expanding neural pathways in order to create more options around movement. The aim is to expand awareness in a practical way to allow people to do more than follow their habitual patterns. I think connecting that type of work with creative practice would be a rich area for research.

  78. Carol

    I was an exercise addict for many years, an got through my degrees, and early career in corporate, purely from the endorphines from exercising. After severe and prolonged life crises, (tog with an A++ type personality) I now suffer from fibromyalgia, back degeneration etc which prohibit me from exercising without severe pain and fatigue. It is heartbreaking to be in a situation of ‘exercise paralysis’, virtually. I loved exercising, and find it difficult that my body won’t come to the party, so to speak. Also, being aware of the addtional benefits of exercising, as the blog indicates.

  79. june kidd

    Re: The concern about “Brain Training and Crativity.”
    I am a writer with dyselxia, who, having completed a course on Meditation, Imagination and Mind Discipline ( a heightened spiritual sensitivity. Living in the Middle East, and working on a 20th cent novel, “Unshriven” set near Shakespeare’s Stratford-on-Avon, this most extraordinary gift was to result in my writing the 17th cent., biographies of Rachel and Hannah Myer. Returning to U.K. I found myself following a most bizarre trail of manorial and church docementary evidence, proving of their amazing detaied life. Please visit:

  80. Sally

    WiFi hogs? Ha! Mr. Big found Carrie by going to her favorite coffee shop on SITC. If it had not been for Peets in Petaluma, CA, I would have gone mad. Mad I tell you! Anyway, coffee shops want us, or WiFi would not be available. Right? Write?

  81. Anita carol smith

    Once again, Orna opens the door to living with the reality of being a writer — that more often than not, we are playing solitaire (or Scrabble..after all, we love words) when we wish we were writing. But it’s good to know we are all in this together.
    Anita carol smith

  82. Tony Cuckson

    I love getting these creative emails from you. I especially love the link to the U2 Youtube video. I love U2. They are very inspiring and its lovely to connect words with music and great imagination. You do that for us.



  83. Yolanda Cholmondeley-Smith

    Great article on a few of the amazing ways we can experience, manage and use, time, thank you Orna. I have shared it with everyone I know. I have seen it through my own ‘work’ as so ‘alive’, malleable and flexible – ‘we are in amazing times’ and more to come … grace to you and yours.

  84. Suzanne Power

    Love it Orna, what a great message for the times when pain might win but the practice has all the answers. Thanks so much for being a Patti Smith to those of us who admire you.

  85. Madeline

    Hi Orna, I think you mean July 31st? ….. I’d love to have the free copy and do a review, but I’m sorry, my techno-incompetence has struck again, and I can’t see where to apply. Hope you will see this and do it for me? Madeline

  86. Linda Hale

    I am delighted to hear that information on the Easter Uprising and War of Independence can be accessed online. A boon for someone like me who lives in Australia but drawn to writing about Ireland. Thanks for making this known Orna.

  87. Linda Runnebaum

    Hi Orna, I wanted to tell you that my son visited the United Kingdom this summer. He is a People to People Ambassador. He’s 11. He went to Scotland, Ireland, Wales and London and had the time of his life. He was over there in June right before the Olympics started. Wish I could have been there with him but I’m living vicariously through all his pictures. :) Thanks for the posts. They are always good reading.


  88. Mike Cooney


    You make a persuasive argument for action in an area of Irish life fraught with difficulties. I am an old man and enjoy my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren some of whom might well have been aborted but for the resolve of their mothers to give birth. It is a tremendously difficult decision for a mother to terminate her newborn babe growing inside her – at least I hope that it continues to be a time of soul searching and not a ‘family planning’ afterthought. Therein lays the dilemma for me. I have no blanket answer yes or no for the right of a woman to abort her fetus – all people are different and circumstances may differ, so why should anyone other than the mother have a say in the matter? It is the mother who will live with the results of her decision. Gentle support during an emotional time – isn’t that what the expectant mother needs and deserves? A time for Ireland’s lawmakers to be brave and compassionate – finally.

  89. Claire 'Word by Word'

    Interesting move by S&S and probably happening because they’re looking for new revenue streams and knowing there is a proliferation of writers out there wanting to be published and prepared to pay for it.

    I guess they will create another imprint to avoid it cannibalising their better known imprints. But with Amazon getting in on it and writers networks like SheWrites now offering interesting (and supportive) packages for self-publishing, this looks set to be a competitive domain.

  90. Tonya Rothe

    You are an inspiration to all of us! I certainly see this as an underhanded bully move to punish all authors in the name of any who dare to go against the omnipotent publishing houses. It is highly resented, I’m sure, that many writers no longer wait to be anointed by a corporate publisher. Hooray for Indie Authors’ Alliance!

  91. Christi

    You can definitely see your skills within the article you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid
    to mention how they believe. I loved your book After The Rising and am now reading Before The Fall. At all times follow your heart. Thank you.

  92. Vera

    Orna, I wait each week for your posts to drop in my email. You’re an inspiration in all that you do and you’ve encouraged me to pick up my pen and try to write myself. Thank you for the gifts! ~ Vera

  93. James Navé (@JamesNave)

    When the wonderful poet William Stafford was often asked during interviews how he managed to write a poem a day, he would chuckle and say, “I lower my standards.” Of course it was a joke. Even so, I suspect Stafford was really saying he ignored the standards around him in favor of his own.

  94. Rose

    Hi, This is my first time on your site and I want to thank you for the F-R-E-E Writing articles which I enjoyed reading and plan to put into good use. I also found it very interesting about the various health conditions and general physical, mental and emotional health which can be improved by doing this type of writing.

  95. Paddy

    Very nice articles. You have a unique take on life and are what I call a real writer. I ordered your novel about Ireland from Amazon this morning and I’ll be taking it on holiday. I’ll do a review when I come back but thank you especially for your article on creative time and clock time. Thx for writing :)

  96. Phil Mason

    Orna, this preview of The Pilgrim Soul is magnificent, I can’t wait to read the finished work. WB Yeats has always fascinated me and although I read his autobiography I didn’t get any feel for what he might be like to know as a person but this excerpt from your book does just that.
    Kind regards and thank you for all your inspirational submissions on Facebook,


  97. Tracey Holley

    creative writing – I can relate to your comments as i suffer from emotional distress and this kind of writng can be very therapeutic – good for the soul good for the compassionate self ie seeing failure as a learning opportunity. With depression there is such a disconnect – therefore to make a connection to others or even to yourself through writing your self can create the process of self validation which in itself is very healing. Thank you Orna for your enlightened and encouraging words.
    I think I have just made the connection to help get me through.

  98. Roberta McDonnell

    Hi Orna, I just listened to your interview at The Zone, brilliant! Much enlightenment and encouragement. Especially resonated with your point about leaving the work with a thread to pick up next day, as Hemingway did. Having recently read A Moveable Feast, I had been trying to apply that principle he talks about- letting the well fill up overnight and stopping work when you still knew where it was going so you had something to start with next day. Best of luck with Blue Mercy by the way, as it moves on in its life- I read the Kindle version as soon as it came out – it bowled me over! Thanks again and best wishes . Roberta

  99. Andree

    Thanks Orna for this very interesting posting. But I do not agree that creative people are ‘abnormally sensitive’. To me they are normally sensitive. Being creative and sensitivity are natural human qualities. Everybody is born with it. Yeah! Look at the kids. They are extremely sensitive and creative. But unfortunately there are images and pattern of what ‘society’ is expecting. And so the kids learn to shut up, striving for ‘success’ / money, etc. and they learn to burry their sensitivity deep inside. They don’t want to be seen as losers or misfits. And I believe that’s the courageous work, creative people are doing. Whatever they do doesn’t matter, etc. painting, writing, making music. They’re working on overcoming the skilled inner resistance to unfold the natural potential of creativity and to dare being highly sensitive. What a wonderful fact that we have all these artists who inspire us to see and develop true humanity.
    Well, I guess it’s a big issue. Maybe there is even no such thing as a ‘writers block’. It could be a block of daring inner truth and listening to ones heart voice.
    I’m, sorry if this sounds a little complicated or confused in my bad English. But I don’t want to see the creative work as an extraordinary or abnormal path. It’s simply a normal and truly wonderful necessity.
    All the best wishes!

  100. Michael Cantone

    When I go off on a rant that sounds perfect to me I realize there is no one there to listen. It is true what I say but I cannot seem to remember the exact words to write them down.

  101. Phil Mason

    Orna, I can’t wait to read these blog posts about Yeats, I’m totally fascinated by him and his life. I read his autobiography but I must confess I found parts of it hard to understand and I’m now reading a biography of his wife George.
    Thanks for this,


  102. Phil Mason

    Orna, it is very interesting to read the context of these poems, When You Are Old is one of my favourite of Yeats’ poems. The piece in your last blog about Maud engaging in ritual sex with Lucien down in the vault under the chapel is the most bizarre thing I’ve read in a while. Maud was some character – can’t wait to read more,


  103. paul murphy


    Love the posts about the Christmas poems, one of my favourites is BC:AD by U A Fanthorpe. I had not heard of it until I was asked to read it out at a service and I fell in love with it and her poetry generally


    This was the moment when Before
    Turned into After, and the future’s
    Uninvented timekeepers presented arms.
    This was the moment when nothing
    Happened. Only dull peace
    Sprawled boringly over the earth.
    This was the moment when even energetic Romans
    Could find nothing better to do
    Than counting heads in remote provinces.
    And this was the moment
    When a few farm workers and three
    Members of an obscure Persian sect
    Walked haphazard by starlight straight
    Into the kingdom of heaven.

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