Writing Advice 101

Writers' Colony

I get asked all the time about how I access my voice and how to breakthrough writer’s blocks.

Here is your first lesson on my Master Class of writing.

Step One:

Create a Sanctuary. First step is to clean your home. While in that act of service to yourself and your writing practice, allow yourself to meditate on gratitude — thankful you have a home, thankful you have a place to clean, thankful that you have the supplies and the time. See your service of creating sanctuary as an offering to your soul. Ask for access to what is inside of you and that it makes its way out and into your pen. Then let that gratitude lead you to a joy of cleaning your home. That gratitude and joy of spirit unleashes the ideas — and they will begin to flutter around you like butterflies.

Catch them by keeping a journal and pen nearby. (More later on my Catch and Craft process). Continue to clean and then decide on where you will write. Is it by a window with beautiful natural light? Is it in a windowless room with a nice playlist vibrating off the walls? But find your place where you will sit to do the work. Take a moment to beautify your writing space — add a candle, and some flowers in your favorite vase. Identify your favorite tea cup… or wine glass that you can drink both water and liberating libations from. Build a vibe of inspiration.

“Step back and feel good about the space you created to think and reflect.”

Step Two:

Practice Ritual. Clean your body. Literally, take a shower with your soaps. I oftentimes find a lot of ideas continue to marinate in the warm water and solitude. I often audio record the thoughts or notes or full scenes that I envisioned in the shower as I lather up with favorite lotions and potions. Wear your favorite scents. I can’t write in restrictive clothing. But I like soft and pretty things. I never wear a bra.

But because my loose tunics may not be warm enough in the cold months, I have my favorite cashmere sweater at the ready and I wear my favorite moccasins that reach my calfs. I’m now clean, smell good, and my skin feels supple and not itchy or dry, I’m wearing a beautiful tunic that makes me feel pretty and sometimes sexy, I’m warm. At that point I’m ready to enter the sanctuary space I curated. I pour the warm tea, look at or play back any thoughts I caught and put my hands on my computer keys to start crafting.

The point of this ritual is that I release the clutter in my mind and my space so that I can hear what it is I want to say. And when I feel the urge to get out of the chair, my beautiful surroundings help hold me in place. The sanctuary serves as safe place and inspiration to stay in communion with my voice.

WORDS: Mara Brock Akil
DATE: 08.11.2021
PHOTO: Mara Brock Akil Archives


  1. Thank you so much for these valuable tips!! I look forward to learning from you and reading more in the future!

  2. Thank you for sharing the spiritual enlightenment that births your writing process Mrs. Akil! I call on my spirit guides (writers & readers in the spiritual realm) by lighting a candle and laying out a gemstone.

  3. I was looking for evidence of what I want to expand in my life right now (a sanctuary). This post gave me that. Thank you, Mara, for this kind, vivid reminder. – Yolanda Y.

  4. This advice is everything I need to get started. Thank you!

  5. Mrs. Akil!
    Thanks a billion for these tips. I will definitely be adding these steps in my sanctuary. I always light a candle, but taking my bra off? Oh yeah-I’m adding that step ASAP LOL
    Much love,

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