Friday, March 30, 2012

Meditation and Writing

One of the hardest things for a writer is to get into the "writing zone" when you first sit down. In fact, the idea of writing can be like a wall, one that's too high and too hard to climb. There are various techniques to help you overcome this: leaving the previous day's writing with a sentence unfinished; making notes as you finish the day before to remind you what comes next; creating an outline that will lead you into the next bit; re-reading the last chapter to get back into the world of the story.

When I was at Hamline in January, one of my workshop leaders, Marilyn Nelson, suggested we start each workshop with a 5 minute meditation. I've been meditating on and off (more off than on, I admit!) for many years, and it suddenly hit me - why hadn't I been using this as a way into the writing zone? It may sound strange to do something that is supposed to empty your mind at a time when you want to fill it with your novel or work-in-progress, but it's actually more about emptying your mind of all the day-to-day trivia, and letting the writing take over.

Also there are many different ways to meditate. You may need to relax and drop the daily trivia, you may need to overcome fear and/or writer's block, you may want to do some focused daydreaming about your writing. Meditation actually needs a bit of practice. The more you do it, the better you get, like most things. You can start with relaxation and move onto to something that leads you into writing.

There are plenty of aids, as well. Guided meditations (someone talking you through it) are popular, although I find someone else's voice distracting. There's a heap of music tracks, as well as sound effects such as waves, birdsong, etc. Meditation Australia has lots of free stuff but you can also join up and get access to more. A friend of mine recommends Glenn Harrold - most of his CDs and DVDs cost money but he also has apps for iPhones and Android, so you can take it with you as an mp3.

All you need to do is Google for free meditation music (or something similar) and have a look at what is available. Try some out, and when you find a resource that you like, keep at it. It might be the very thing you need to glide into writing every day.

No comments: