Living the Life of the Mind (Without Going Crazy) – with Margaret Pinard

Margaret Pinard is one of the good pals I’m grateful to have made through writing this blog. She has been very supportive over the last few years  – thanks Margaret!

I asked her to write for you about life as a self-published author – because she’s managed to write and publish three entire novels since I’ve known her.

Margaret is the founder of the Taste Life Twice blog and is a fellow World Domination Summit (WDS) and Literati Writers alumni who lives in Portland Oregon, but we actually met in Scotland (twice!) when she made the journey here to research her novels (twice!).


Please welcome Margaret by saying hello in the comments! (twice!? if you like.) Take it away Margaret!


 The Life of the Writer, it has been said, is a life of the mind.

A writer can wake up and live five lives before breakfast. (And believe at least six impossible things!)

Escaping the monkey mind and accessing centuries of collective wisdom or folklore or imagination… anything seems possible when inspiration is flowing and your fingers are keeping pace. It’s a great feeling.


As with anything in life, there are tradeoffs.

When we are so wrapped up in the stories we tell ourselves – the stories we’re milking from the universe – we can forget to make contact with other people – to anchor our lives in real experiences.

In order to keep ourselves healthy and able to keep writing, we have to be aware of this tendency and work to keep ourselves in equilibrium:

Milo has done a great job detailing the many types of trials presented to writers in their pursuit of the creative and original – such as the struggle with routine, something I struggle with also (except in November, when NaNo works wonders!).


In my Portland life, I am fortunate enough to have found a few strong links to anchor me to a community. There is the weekly stability provided by the part-time bakery job: a circle of wisecracking, mostly dependable coworkers who work wonders with coffee and reach heights of impeccable customer service.

There’s my Monday night GSD (Gettin’ Shit Done) group, which has evolved from the gaggle of WDS folks I met when I first arrived in Portland into a few gals who are also working on balancing fun and work in their solopreneur lives.

There’s also my Mastermind group–two guys and me. I first heard the term from one of my personal ‘unconventional lifestyle’ gurus, Shanna Mann, and finally founded a group with Mike and Saul last year. We try to keep each other accountable to the goals we set and share, and help with barnraising and woolgathering tasks.

Margaret signing one of her books at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station – the only railway station in the world named after a novel.

Then there’s the MuvTraining tribe, the staff at the new gym that I have ended up loving, with its mirrored studio beckoning me to dance and its instructors’ calm encouragement interspersed with raucous cheers. Talk about being grounded in the body.

My Scottish Gaelic study group meets every two weeks at Taigh (the home of) Brian, another unconventional soul, whose focus is language, teaching, music, and song. He leads us in Gaelic through his board game Language Hunters, and opens his home to us freely. I hope to find a group of novelists that is just as open with their talents, but that is yet to come. (If you’re interested, feel free to get in touch!)

11289804_10205010943405867_411680652_nThe greeting ‘Feasgar math!’ (good afternoon/evening) precedes a night of teasing, testing, and triumph – just the antidote for writers who toil in solitude, questioning their motives, their worth, their progress. Each of these groups I’ve joined or started helps to balance me out.

What about you? Do you find yourself more often on the ground with lots of social commitments and little drive to create? Or up in the air, absorbed in your craft and forgetting to feed the cats?

Have you carved out your own connections to community? How did you find like-minded individuals whose values and energy levels align with yours?

Let me know in the comments – I’m all ears!


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Margaret Pinard is a writer with two novels under her belt and a third one coming out December 3rd 2015:

The Keening is a historical drama starting in Scotland, but ending up… elsewhere.

Order your copy now from Amazon (US | UK)

Visit Margaret Pinard on Goodreads

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