Especially for Writers
Most of us have heard about the benefits of meditation in general, but did you know that meditation is particularly helpful for writers? It’s a wonderful tool that can help you become the brilliant writer you’re meant to be.
Writers’ brains are busy places, akin to shopping malls or cluttered attics.
It’s one of the reasons we need to get our ideas down on paper. Just a like a spring cleaning, there is a sense of cleansing when we’ve completed a story.
As a writer, you understand that sometimes this busyness causes problems; you get pulled in too many directions, you feel frustrated when your ideas don’t flow, and— heaven forbid — you find yourself plagued with the dreaded 'writer’s block'.
And if this happens to you, it’s good to have a repertoire of remedies at your disposal.
A remedy for writer’s block
The most consistent way I’ve ever been able to reinvigorate my writing practice and get the vibrant ideas churning again, is to turn off my chattering brain.
Meditation allows us to clear our minds and sit in silence. The rhythmic breathing replaces the 'to do list' that is whirling around inside your mind.
Your ideas aren't going to flow from your brain to the page if there are obstacles blocking their paths. Rather than struggling to push the clutter aside, meditation will enable you to simply let the clutter evaporate.
How To Start Meditating
If sitting down and clearing your mind feels like too much of a challenge, take a mindfulness stroll.
Take the time to go outside. A simple ten minute walk may be all you need.
Connect with your breathing as you walk.
When thoughts arise, let them pass through.
Focus instead on what’s around you and enjoy being in the moment.
If this is difficult for you, try it in short increments at first, 5-10 minutes, and then extend to 20, 30 or 45 minutes.
Immediately following the meditation, sit down and start writing again.
You’ll find that most, if not all, of your writer’s block has disappeared.
Conditions for Insight
Sometimes our writing needs to be fleshed out. We have problems finding a chapter hook, expanding on a teaching concept, or figuring out which order to include the stories that we hope will make our book a bestseller.
Meditation offers a solution by creating the conditions for insight. And it's the insight that allows us to do great work.
The Benefits of Meditation
A study published in the Journal of Psychiatry Research discovered that mindfulness meditation actually altered the section of the brain responsible for learning and memory processes, emotion regulation, self-referential processing, and perspective taking.
Your brain changes when you meditate. You get better at seeing insights, whether that's into your writing, or anything.
Meditation lets you see, and helps you make sense of, the different areas of your life, and the world in general. All of which you need to write a great book.
Get in touch with your inner voice
Voracious reading is essential to becoming a skilled writer. It’s one of the ways writers become influenced, inspired, and motivated to create their own brilliant works.
However, you have to draw a line so that you take on your own voice and not solely the voice of others. It's fine to practice other styles and other voices, but as a path to finding your own.
Meditation is perhaps the best single way to find and practice you inner self; it creates a space for solitude.
Song writer Naomi Judd said,
Solitude is creativity's best friend, and solitude is refreshment for our souls.
In a busy world filled with a myriad of distractions, it may seem like we are never truly alone. As a writer, this is a source of constant inspiration and ideas.
But we need balance.
Too much 'noise' without the space for solitude means we become overwhelmed and lose our sense of self -- and lose our powerful voice. Not enough, and we are bored, uninspired.
Ideally, we'd all take a journey of solitude to discover our true nature; perhaps pen a memoir or a great work that would sell a million copies. Realistically, though, you’re lucky if you can drown out the sounds from the street outside your office.
One of the beautiful things about meditation is that it gives you the ability to turn off the outside noise. Once you’re in deep meditation, you may not even hear the phone ring, and you definitely won't hear the police sirens outside.
Peace, quiet, and concentration
Mindfulness meditation improves concentration and memory function; two qualities that are vital to bringing out your brilliance as a writer.
Sometimes you don’t have the chance to jot down a great idea when you’re out, and what a disappointment when you can’t remember what that thought was. If only we were all like Sherlock Holmes with his filing cabinet of the mind...
Well, meditation can help you achieve exactly this.
Train your brain
Memory function and concentration go hand in hand. Sometimes we want to write but simply can't concentrate on our writing.
Much like the solution meditation offers for writer’s block, some quiet time sitting in mindfulness meditation will allow you to concentrate on your writing instead of what to make for dinner.
Writing as a path to awakening
Writing itself can be a form of meditation.
Have you ever started to write and suddenly discovered hours had passed when it felt like it had only been ten minutes? You've passed into enlightenment -- a special place for creativity.
Writing as a path is a journey into creativity. It allows you to explore your sociological, emotional, psychological, and spiritual story. And it gives you insight and understanding in return. You get clarity, and, ultimately, transcend what limits you when you 'over-think' your writing.
Meditation is good for your writing. And good for your spirit.
This post was written by Albert Flynn DeSilver. Albert is an internationally published poet, writer, speaker, and workshop leader. He lectures internationally, and teaches workshops on the connections between awareness, creativity and writing.