Meditation for Writers
By Andrea Blythe
Copyright © 2008 by Andrea Blythe, All Rights Reserved
It's a common problem. You
sit down to write, but instead of head being full of plot, characters,
and setting, you have a head is full of laundry that needs to be done,
dishes to be washed, and TV to be watched.
Some writers are better
practiced at tuning out the clutter than others. If you're one of the
many who has a hard time with mental clutter, meditation is a good tool
for clearing your head.
Before You Write
Begin by sitting in a
comfortable position. Once you're comfortable, close your eyes and allow
your body to relax.
Focus your attention on your
breath. Do not attempt to change the rhythm of your breath; merely
observe the natural inhale and exhale.
Allow thoughts to simply
pass through your mind without attributing them any importance. If you
find yourself focusing on a specific thought, let it go, and return your
attention to your breathing.
Also, resist the urge to
jump up and write down ideas that pop into your mind during meditation.
The point of this exercise is to be quiet and still, so that when you do
sit and write you are more clear and focused. Just trust that that idea
or a better one will return to you when the time comes for you to be in
your writing space. Again, return to observing the inhale and exhale of
Remain in this state of
still observation for five to ten minutes -- build up to longer
stretches if you are so inclined.
When you have finished the
allotted time of silence, set an intention or goal for the writing
session and begin.
While You're Writing
Most people tend to breathe
shallowly in their every day lives. And in moments of stress or
frustration (such as when the writing is not going so well) people will
often hold their breath, cutting off the flow of air completely.
However, holding your breath
cuts you off from the life force. If that sounds too new age-y, think of
it like this: humans need oxygen for their minds to function. So when
you hold your breath, you are limiting your mind's ability to work
through problems, writing or otherwise.
While you are writing, try
to remember to breathe deeply. The increased flow of oxygen will help
keep your mind clear and functioning, as well as help keep you relaxed
while you're writing.
This is especially
beneficial if you are feeling stuck or frustrated, at which point it
might be a good idea to stop, close your eyes, and breathe deeply for a
full minute. The breath should be from the bottom of the stomach to the
top of your chest, filling your lungs completely.
Once you feel more relaxed,
continue writing. You may still not have the answer, but you will be
more able to face the process of writing, and it is through that process
that you can discover the solutions.
After You Write
Take a moment after your
finish your writing session to offer thanks for the inspiration you
received that day. Thank whatever you feel moves you: the universe, the
muse, your inner self, or even the words themselves.
It doesn't matter if your
session went as well as you had hoped, or if in your opinion it failed.
Words made it onto the page, and since every word you write is a part of
the process of writing, offer thanks. You have just taken one more step
to completing your work.