Part 1 of 2 Mindful Writing and why it should be in your Toolbox

Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

Welcome to part 1 of a 2 part series on mindful writing. In part 1 we’ll discuss what mindful writing is. In Part 2 we’ll look at 6 factors to apply mindfulness to your writing.

By the end you’ll be dying to read Part 2. Well, dieing might be a strong word but I’ll wager you’ll be at the least prepared to beg for the 6 factors of mindful writing. If you take mindfulness as serious as your writing you’ll be happy you took the time to learn it!

So why would you even need another writing tool?

Are you stuck in a creative slump? Are you struggling to get words down? Is staring at the cursor on a blank page the only use you’re getting from your word processor? Are the distractions too much?

Frustration can swell to mammoth proportions when you’re poised to crank out a great novel or blog post. Then nothing comes out when you sit down to write. Not to mention if you’re facing a deadline for a freelance writing project and life depends on it!

Mindful writing is a tool you can put in place today and see results you’ve only wished for in the past. It’s built on simple techniques and practices that have been around for thousands of years.

Buddhism is best known for developing the practice of mindfulness. But versions of the exercises are found in many spiritual traditions.

No, it’s not a magic bullet for your writing career and it won’t replace all your other writing tools. But mindful writing can lay a firm foundation that can revolutionize your work, improve its quality, and accelerate your productivity.

What is Mindful Writing?

The mindful writing process is a method of creating a centered and focused atmosphere for the writer. It’s a way of clearing the clutter within your environment, your mind, and within the entire experience of the writing process.

Mindful writing is a simple set of exercises to help you tap into that part of yourself that is itching to express itself. But the place inside you that is brimming with creative vitality is clouded by everything bouncing around in your head. It’s sidetracked by all the noise in your environment. Mindfulness can help dispel of all that unwanted white noise.

At first glance the concept of mindfulness seems to be a principle that goes without question in writing. Any serious writer is mindful of what they’re writing aren’t they?

Not necessarily. Just because you’re thinking about what you’re writing and sitting in front of the computer doesn’t mean you’re actually present.

What’s distracting you from being a mindful writer?

Consider just a few of the competing influences you may be encountering as you set out to write:

1. Anxiety over the quality of your work
2. Expectations you set for yourself
3. The expectations of the reader
3. Self-Doubt – Am I a good writer? Can I do this?
4. Other responsibilities – Finances, obligations, etc.
5. The TV blaring in the background, or the neighbors TV!
6. The dog begging for attention
7. Is my writing a true expression of my ability?
8. Why am I writing? Profit, fun, etc.

The list could go on infinitely. It consists internal dialogue built on thought and emotion, and environmental distractions such as noise, movement, and other such stimulus.

All of which may or may not legitimately require attention and have their merit but none the less prevent you from doing the writing you desire. You might be writing a blog piece to garner income to fulfill your desire to not starve. We all like to eat!

Yet worrying about that while you’re in the middle of a writing session will only distract you from the mindfulness required to tap into your creative ability.

Mindfulness to the rescue!

Mindful writing can be the breath of fresh air you need to get the creative juices flowing. It’s a practical and efficient method of putting pen to paper, or key stroke to word processor. Mindfulness can clean the experiential slate to allow your writing potential free play.
It allows you to free up the atmosphere of all the unneeded stuff that gets in the way. Then the sharp focus needed to concentrate your effort on the topic, direction, and flow of your project will come naturally.

Self Inventory

Your starting to see how mindfulness can be a practical necessity if you’re serious about your writing.

Before moving on to Part 2 take an inventory of all the things that distract you or cloud your mind and senses. What are your particular distractions that stop you in your tracks when you’re writing?

What keeps you from being centered and focused on your writing?

In Part 2 we’ll look at 6 factors that will help you overcome those distractions.

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