Jan Sokoloff Harness

Creativity coach, award-winning writer, national presenter, darn fine baker, entrepreneur. Oh, and I'm also, in no particular order: a daughter, wife, mother, friend, volunteer, mentee, mentor, poet, collage artist and serial procrastinator.

Surprising fact: I hear better because I'm half deaf. I learned as a child to really pay attention and listen -- something others took for granted. I can also lip read a bit. And read upside down, but that has nothing to do with the deafness. That's an old reporter's trick.

This is NOT a Hanukkah Bush: 8 Tips for a Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas

In our family, the girls and I are Jewish. Tom is agnostic. I grew up with Hanukkah gelt, latkes and eight nights of small gifts. Tom grew up with a Christmas tree, Christmas stockings and one glorious morning of gifts. Together, we have created holiday celebrations that honor our distinct childhoods and give Kate and Mary fun traditions and happy memories -- something their families can build on in the future. What works for us could work for you!...more

Why We Remember Dr. King's Speech

I was eight years old when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I have a dream" speech, and I can still remember it -- I still hear his voice in my head. Chances are, you do too. Heck, phrases probably resound with you, even if you weren't alive 50 years ago.The question is: Why? Look at this program -- there were a host of great speakers that day....more

My Prayer for the Bad Things

One of the great joys of being a writer is that you hear and see the world differently. Everything is potential material. So, as Nora Ephon's mom told her, "Take notes."I take note of a phrase we commonly use at the beginning of Friday night services. Our rabbi will encourage us to "thank G-d for the good things that happened this past week and the bad things that didn't."...more

How to Write a Father's Day CArd

I remember what it was like to go into a Hallmark store and struggle to find a card I thought was appropriate for my dad. Ugh. Not fun. So, to help you avoid that sinking feeling, here's a quick tutorial on how to write a wonderful Father's Day card. You'll find specific card concepts at the bottom of the post, but I encourage you to play. Let your creative genius shine!1. Make the cover fun:...more

A Poetic Response to Boston

For Jaleeza, at 33rd and Troost...more

Step Away from the Scale

How do you measure success?My whole life, I've measured physical success by numbers on the scale. Gain a pound or two? I'm a huge and hideous failure. Lose a pound? Yes! Time to celebrate.But then something happened. I started exercising. Regularly. With Shanna and the most fabulous group of women imaginable -- supportive, encouraging, diverse, smart, friendly. Great people. And over the past two years:...more

You. Yes, You. You Are Creative.

I can't count the number of times I hear people say, "I'm not creative." Truly. I hear it all the time. All. The. Time. I used to always launch into a big, positive, creativity-affirming speech. Now, I do the speech if I'm in a good mood. Other times, I just roll my eyes. But for you, today, I'll be good. Listen up, my dear: You are creative.  Heck, I can prove it to you:...more

Snow Day! Seven Tips for Working from Home

As I write this, snow is falling -- again -- in Kansas City, and lots of my friends are making plans to work at home. Welcome to my world! And, because we're buds, I'm going to share my top seven tips for working at home successfully:...more

Pay Attention

I take yoga classes at a rec center -- the yoga room is right next to the big gym. So, every week, I walk by all the adults sitting outside the gym while their adorable elementary school children practice gymnastics. The kids are a hoot -- they're tumbling and balancing and falling and leaping and laughing. I know this, because there are huge windows so you can see the action from the waiting room.Unfortunately, the windows aren't all that necessary. ...more
@JennaHatfield I see so many instances of parents yelling at their kids, coaches, and referees ...more

Three Tips for Better Resolutions

Do you have your goals in mind for 2013? Want to lose 10 pounds of emotional baggage? Exercise your right to write? Or do  you just want to lose 20 literal pounds? Which, of course, you will do by EXERCISING EVERY DAY. Twice on Sundays. Yep. Been there. Resolved that. Fortunately, making better resolutions -- and keeping them -- is easier than you might think. ...more