It’s 2001 and I leave my children’s publishing dream job at Scholastic in NYC to be home with my newborn girl/boy twins. After 9/11, we move to Las Vegas and I work from home, writing over 30 books for kids and teachers.

I’m happy and creatively fulfilled.

Until I’m not.

My career needs a shake-up, but I’m scared to discover and pursue what now lights me up. I stay safe and stay put. And like many young moms, I feel too busy to make time for creativity, self-expression, or stillness. I’m distracted and uninspired. I’m miserable and teary.
I develop a chronic illness.

This 2-year physical and emotional struggle with colitis gets my attention and opens the door to an inner life I didn’t have before. I go to yoga. I learn meditation and Rieki. I discover Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Summer Day,” which nudges me to leave children’s publishing and write and live in a new way:

“I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel in the grass, how to be idle and blessed…”

Three months later, I attend a writing retreat with the amazing Natalie Goldberg, which begins my free-flow writing journey. I learn to pay attention and listen to that small, still voice.

In 2013, I create Write to Glow and guide others to connect to their own wild and precious life through free-flow writing.

Here’s to the greatest teacher we could ever have – our beautifully messy lives!


Alyse Sweeney is a writer, teacher, and founder of Write to Glow, online and in-person writing circles that feature writing as a practice. As a children’s writer, she wrote and edited Scholastic classroom magazines and wrote over 30 books for kids and teachers. She was a former Associate Editorial Director with Scholastic and holds a Master’s in Education from UNC at Chapel Hill. Her writing circles have been invited into organizations such as Zappos, Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, and The Caring Place, for those affected by cancer. Alyse lives in Portland, OR, with her husband and teenage twins and is way into the outrageously good food scene.