Every creative writer is occasionally faced with falling face first into the proverbial hole or banging their head against writer’s block. Then it’s a slippery slope down the well-worn path of beating ourselves up for being in this place yet again. The truth is, there is another method, one that can allow you to experiment with saying, ‘out to the old way of writing and in with the Om.’
Mediation is a process of training the mind to focus. When we mediate we give attention to something; traditionally it is the breath, a word, an image or even a color. The challenge is training the mind to be still and center. Once we begin to sit and breathe, we notice that our mind just wanders off, gravitating towards all things familiar, like planning and strategy or worry and fretting. Our role, as someone who develops a meditation practice, is to notice when our focus point disappears. Once we notice, without shame or blame, we kindly lead our mind back to our breath, or original word, image or color.
The process of creative writing is very much like the practice of mediation. We begin totally focused and then something else sneaks in, then we may find ourselves lost, confused or frustrated. Perhaps we find ourselves telling stories about our creative writing abilities or maybe tales about the specific piece we’re writing; either way, we’re stuck. A typical reaction might be to furl our brow and focus harder or maybe even distract ourselves, but there is another way.
The next time you find yourself in this stuck place, consider trying meditation; here are five simple steps to get you started:
1. First find a quiet place away from the writing that you were just working on, next sit comfortably, assuring that you are warm enough, and close your eyes. Simply start with allowing yourself to notice the inhale and exhale of your breath, feel your belly rise and fall as it moves in and out. Take some time with this, don’t try to rush; simply take full and even breaths.
2. And then, only when you are ready, offer silent gratitude to the stuckness, or confusion or frustration that showed up in your creative writing process. Yes, you are actually thanking the stuckness! Continue to notice your breathing. Keep offering your appreciation to that unique part of your writing that brought you to this new place, the place of being with your breathing in this moment. When other thoughts creep in, just bring yourself back to your breathing.
3. Next, when you are ready, imagine that your creative writing piece is finished in your mind’s eye. Then, and this important, sense the emotion that you want to feel when the piece is complete. Perhaps you desire a feeling of joy or a sense of pride, or it could even be contentment of seeing your writing completed. Take the time to discover whatever feeling is uniquely yours. While still staying with your breath, allow the feeling that you seek to wash over you. Allow the emotion to sink into your whole body as you breathe rhythmically in and out. Sit with this feeling as long as you see fit, bask in the emotion of seeing your creative words on the page.
4. When it’s time for you to shift, thank your original stuckness once again for allowing you to get in touch with your breath. Then, slowly open your eyes and come back into the room, allow yourself time to transition into the light and check in to see what you need now; get yourself a glass of water or allow yourself to move as necessary.
5. As you’re ready, move back into the fullness of the present moment; you might decide to go back to your writing or maybe you’ll take a break and shift to something else.
Whatever you choose, make a space for whatever appears in the future to influence your writing. If you stay open to the process, the words, images and ideas you desire for your writing can come into your consciousness.
Creativity is an ability to stay open to what comes into our minds eye and this can happen through imaginable and even unknown realms. You might hear a conversation that triggers an idea or see a situation that fits seamlessly into your writing or even hear a word that takes you to that next sentence; whatever it is, humbly be ready to take notes and write!
By being present to whatever appears after meditation, you send your mind clear signals that it can be open to creativity in whatever form it appears in your path. And you never know what might show up!
Have fun writing and celebrate your mediation inspired creative flow.
(Any information expressed here is not meant to serve as the be all end all of creative writing insight, meditation or function as any sort of medical advise. Please use your own discretion when practicing creative writing and meditating.)
How Meditation Can Influence Your Creative Writing