Author Life: Writing and Meditating, Say What?
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I tried something different the other day just before I started writing….meditation. Yes, you read that
right. And don’t worry, I was a bit skeptic, too at first. I figured, “what in the hell do meditation and writing have to do with one another?” Turns out, a lot. I was reading this article on how medication could help authors/writers improve their writing, and I said, well, let’s give it a shot!
Why I decided to try it:
I for one, have a hard time quieting my mind. I’m one of those people whose brains has wayyyy too many tabs open at all times. If you can relate, then I’m giving you a virtual high five right now. This means, sometimes I’m so easily distracted that even if I do have my book all mapped out, I can’t quiet my brain down long enough to focus on writing what I’ve outlined. Therefore, NOTHING gets done. This also means that it’s easier for writer’s block to set in—and we as authors HATE writer’s block.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines writer’s block as: “a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece.” So this in itself explains why meditation may just help writers get over this obstacle.
The author of the article stated that meditation could help improve my focus, reduce my stress and “reset” my “mental landscape,” which means to help me find the right perspective and positive thought patterns. Instead of saying, “I don’t know what I’m going to write,” or “I don’t feel like writing,” meditation can aid me in changing my thoughts to, “I know how to listen to my characters,” and “I’m excited to write.”
Here’s what I did:
I turned off all external noises/distractions (a.k.a. my music and/or TV) and dimmed the lighting in my office. I sat up as straight as I could in my office chair and set my cell phone timer to five minutes before closing my eyes. Next, I started taking slow, deep breaths as if I was at the doctor’s office and my physician was checking my lungs. The key to this part is to draw in air through your nose and exhale that air through your mouth while simultaneously moving your stomach in and out as you breathe, something the author calls “belly breathing.”
Once I got that down pact, I did my best to keep my mind centered on my breathing and NOTHING ELSE. I sat in the same position until my alarm went off. Being that I knew my alarm was going to go off, I didn’t immediately pop my eyes open. Instead, I opened them slowly, silenced the alarm, took one more deep inhale and exhale and then opened my laptop.
It’s okay to feel a bit “silly” when doing this for the first time. I did, too! It took me a bit to wrap my head around adopting this type of thought process, but I’m glad I did! It’s just another resource to have in my back pocket when it comes to focusing on the task at hand, which is of course, writing.