Write With An Open Heart by K.M. Huber

`So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is…enlarge your sense of things….Stop being a glass. Become a lake.’”

(Mark Nepo, Book of Awakening)

I am spending 2012 with Nepo’s book of 365 meditations, although I miss a day here and there. I’m fine with that for I’ve learned to “enlarge my sense” of meditation, meaning for all the days and years I have yet to live, I will meditate, and sometimes it will be with Nepo’s book.

ROW80 allows me to “enlarge my sense” of who I am as a writer, with no goal too small or too large. In fact, some of my initial goals were really more lists of tasks that I believed necessary for me as a writer. With ROW80, I am discovering that my lists no longer represent me as a writer for they have overflowed their glasses, well on their way to  becoming a lake.

Glasses are for lists; lakes are for goals.

For over 50 years, I lived glass after glass of lists, tasks, timelines; multi-tasking allowed me separate glasses for helping raise two children, establishing a record of activism, and writing in the  early morning, for years at a time as I wrote grants, poetry, short stories, even drafted a novel. I had a few publications, too.

In my heart I was a writer, and that’s where my writing stayed.

My final employment was in government as a manager for a statewide, experimental Medicaid program that provided services for the aged as well as the physically and developmentally disabled. It is no exaggeration that people’s quality of life hinged on my program’s assistance.

During those years, I worked between fifty and seventy hours per week filling first this glass and then that glass until I found the single glass of early and permanent medical retirement.

As I made lemonade—I did know what to do with lemons—my bitterness became a lake and the pain spread slowly, eventually evaporating as my heart opened. The moment is all we ever have and it is enough.

In every round of ROW80, we decide who we are as writers, moment by moment, with continuous support from a community of writers, no more and no less.

In writing with an open heart:

  1. Neither writing nor living is a to-do list.
  2. Never write a word you do not believe.
  3. Always write words that reveal who you are.
  4. Hear and listen to your writing voice: “It tells you. You don’t tell it” (Joan Didion, Why I Write).
  5. You and your writing are together 24/7, moment to moment.
  6. Live the way you love and write the way you live.
  7. Abundance in writing comes from love, which is always the number one writing trend.
  8. Writing with an open heart means listening to your “gut” for the words.
  9. Your “gut” connects your heart to your head for editing, always.
  10. If every word you write comes from your open heart, you will always write your truth.

All you have is this one life so why write or live without an open heart?


K.M. Huber



  1. Living “glass after glass” is such a true image for me. I have even found myself contemplating lately that I should shelve the writing once again until I retire, but your post points out the pitfalls in trying to go back to the old, secret life. It’s hard to pour the lake back into the glass. Thank you for a thought-provoking post, K. M.

  2. “Glasses are for lists; lakes are for goals.”

    Karen, beautifully said! What an inspiring post! I love what you said about writing with an open heart. There’s a lot of meaning in that sentence, in those words. I find there is something that draws me to you, your heart as it shines through your voice on the page. I am bookmarking this post! It’s too good to forget. That is the Top Ten for all writers! 🙂

  3. Sometimes I feel more like a barista than a writer… Especially of late, but the words always call me. I really love the words, though the need to chase them down of late is distressing. Thank goodness for pen and paper… for the doodles that take over the margins, for the moments of silence in the night…

    and for fellow ROWers.

    This was lovely, Karen.

  4. what a wonderful post! i love the imagery of the glass & the lake… enlarging my heart, my soul, my writing. i’m inspired. thank you.

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