Live a mother’s life when with your daughter. Live a wife’s life when with your husband. Live a monk’s life every other minute of every day.


Eat vegetarian so that you can look all animals in the eye and feel empathy. Remember that empathy is a writer’s greatest tool. (Second to it is self-trust, third the willingness to sit in the chair.) Because empathy matters most, wake early to practice Tonglen Meditation.


Eat fat because it is good for the brain.


Simplify choices. You eat this way, you wear these colors. Frame your responsibilities. You see friends here, you write in the mornings, before exercise. Respect and repeat these frames. Observe them too, and every season or so, ask if they need change.


Recognize that you do not love mushrooms but your daughter and husband do. Give them your mushrooms.


Take retreats often. Every working morning is a retreat of sorts. Take longer ones too, every season or so. Leave town to go where the population is 63 and there is only one bakery. Write well and hard for six hours a day. Then relish coming home.


Finish projects when you say you will. This is part of self-trust. Finishing on time will also help you empathize with yourself and your writer’s days. The bottom line to all of this is sitting in the chair.


Consider dedicating one work day every week to anything you wish to write. Have fun! Return the next day to the project you are going to finish.


Eat slowly, breathe deeply, read widely, love playfully, sleep long, and finish a new work every year. A big work. A work you want your people to read and read again.


Write credos when you must, but not too often. Best is to write them once a year, but if you cannot stand the wait, once a season or so.