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 continue to slow down. I learn to pay attention and listen to that small, still voice.

I also learn to be brave.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your wild and precious life?”

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 mindfulness practice. She's a children's author, former Associate Editorial Director with Scholastic, and holds a Master’s in Education from UNC at Chapel Hill. Her pen & prompt free-flow writing circles have been invited into organizations such as Zappos, Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, The Embracing Project (for teen-victims of sex-trafficking), and The Caring Place (for those affected by cancer). Alyse lives in Portland, OR, with her husband and teenage twins and is super into the outrageously good food scene.