Vision: A Resource for Writers

Welcome to the archives.  Current Issue is here


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 breath.

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.