Mindfulness and The Writer’s Conversation


Jon Kabat-Zinn describes mindfulness as “paying attention, on purpose, in the moment, nonjudgmentally.” He says it’s learning to how fall awake.

When was the last time you were mindful about your role as a writer? Not just mindful about your writing (characters, plot, timeline, etc.) but your role as a writer? Perhaps you haven’t yet reached that place where you can even call yourself a writer…

People are made up of their past and present. We have thoughts about ourselves and turn those thoughts into our own personal stories.

What do you think about yourself? What do you think about your ability to write, revise, critique, blog, develop well-rounded characters, and identify the best POV from which to tell your story? What do you think of your overall skill as a writer or marketer of your writing? If your thoughts sound like:

I can’t write. My writing is terrible. I’ll never improve. I’ll never get published. I can’t concentrate on revision. My critiquing isn’t as polished as others. My blog posts are subpar. My characters are shallow. I can’t figure out POV.

How do those thoughts impact your writing? Does it stop you in your tracks, creating a writer’s block you can’t chip away? If so, ask yourself this: would you say those things to a fellow writer who is struggling with confidence? If not, what would you say to them? And more importantly, how come you don’t deserve that same kind of nonjudgment that you’re freely giving to others?

For just a minute, reflect on a thought you’ve had about your own writing. Maybe it’s one that I listed above. Hold onto that thought for a minute.

Now, try saying the thought out loud. Focus on the sound of your voice saying those negative, writer’s block inducing words. How does it sound to your ears? How does it sound to your psyche? Do you believe those words?

If you don’t believe that negativity you’ve said about yourself, what do you believe? Can you reframe the statement? If so, respond to that negative thought. It might sound like this:

I can’t write = I’m learning how to write.

My writing is terrible = My writing isn’t yet what I want it to be.

I’ll never improve = I can improve my craft if I practice it.

Do you get the idea?

Perhaps you’ve learned to think this way about your writing because you’ve been touched by trauma at some point in your life. Remember, you can still be whole even if you’ve experienced trauma.

You are breathing. Do you hear that? There is life in you that needs to be nourished and taken care of.

You have a body that functions on some level. You may not be able to run a marathon or lift 100lb or whatever, but you can do something. What can you do? How can you do something for you and do something for others?

You are not alone. Even if you are single or live alone, there is a world of people out there. Have you found a community to participate in? It might take getting out of your comfort zone, but you can get out there and interact with people.

Imagine being in the future –a day, a week, a month, or a year from now. Imagine being there and reflecting back on this moment. What do you want to see different or better about your writing life at that future point?

What will you need to say to yourself (or stop saying to yourself) and what action(s) will you need to take to be that future self?

Perhaps you’re thinking about all of the “unknowns” that might come your way between now and that future moment. Maybe you’re worried about getting derailed along the way. Accept the fact that the unknowns are out there. Respect them. But don’t fear them.

When those “unknowns” come and attempt to derail you, practice mindfulness and stress reduction (journaling, reading, beta reading, and free writing) to help you get through those times.

Maybe you’re looking at your current life situation and thinking it will be impossible to ever get anywhere near the writing goals you’ve set for yourself. If that’s the case, take a minute and look back to what you’ve achieved in the last week, month, six months, or year. Did you ever think you’d be where you are now? What got you to this point?

Focus on your present moments as they happen. Use your senses to get grounded in your reality. Then, if necessary, make changes to that reality. If your moment consists of someone belittling your writing dream, remove yourself from that conversation. If your moment consists of you belittling your writing dream, remove yourself from that conversation—change the conversation.

conversation. k, month, six months, or year. Did you ever think you’d be where you are now? What got you to this point?

Focus on your present moments as they happen. Use your senses to get grounded in your reality. Then, if necessary, make changes to that reality. If your moment consists of someone belittling your writing dream, remove yourself from that conversation. If your moment consists of you belittling your writing dream, remove yourself from that conversation—change the conversation.


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