Dec 9, 2015

Mindful Writing - The Key to Finishing That Novel

Have you heard of mindfulness? I hadn't either...

Okay, so I have been really bad at updating this blog. So in an attempt to post at least once a month, I've decided to share some writing things that not only writers can benefit from.

I am a natural worry-wart. Everyday is something new, but not really: I worry about my kids, I dwell about money, and I ruminate about fears of the future. You know, a lot of people worry. At times these obsessions consume me to the point where I cannot focus on anything else. I grow anxious and depressed, and find myself on a slippery slope.



Well, after my last bout of depression, I began to attend a women's group focused on Mindfulness. I've never been good at sticking through with new therapies. I've tried all sorts of things in the past but nothing really seemed to work. So taking in this mindfulness stuff sounded like another failed attempt,  but I went to group once a week because hell it was better than sitting at home dwelling.

What is Mindfulness? It's simple, really. It's the focus of "one thing at a time". Being mindful of yourself, your surroundings, the babble in your brain at any given time, and then how to focus on only one of those things at a time.

Now, this isn't a raving post to tell you all how Mindfulness actually ended up curing my obsessive thoughts, and bla bla bla, because I still get to be a bumbling worry-wart. In which I am! All the time! But that's okay. :)

But what it did was help me focus on the voices in my head (the worrying) and taught me to stay in the moment without them consuming me. I still fret over sometimes unnecessary things, but now I can obtain whether there is a real threat or if my mind has entered "story mode". LOL That is what I call it anyway. When the mind dwells, it can imagine ANYTHING! It's really just fear and trepidation... your mind is always thinking. And when there's anxiety around it, it tends to throw in worst case scenarios.

After I figured that out, I decided to see if mindfulness could help me in my writing attempts. Yes, the fret and anxiety even took over my most beloved hobby. At times, I would sit and "try" to write, but instead I was thinking all sorts of things: Will readers even like this? What publisher should I send this to? Gosh, I so do not want to edit this when it's time. And over, and over again, I would spend hours fretting, and only have maybe 100 words written. And I considered them all junk.



When I learned about mindfulness, I figured there had to be a way to incorporate that into writing. OMG! I thought using mindfulness in my real life was hard, but trying to apply it to when I was writing? No, fucking way.

How can mindful writing help, then? Well, it takes practice and a "turning of the mind" so to speak. To constantly use the saying "I am just going to write, right now". Because there is nothing else in this moment. No editing, no publishing, nothing. Then, sit down and write. Allow the words to flow, regardless of rules. This is the first draft, nothing matters most than just getting this down.

I'd never been able to write a novel until I sat my ass down and wrote mindfully last year. Today, I have my 3rd novel finished, and ideas for troubled novels that I thought would never see the light.

When I takes notes, I do my research just then. I figure out character names beforehand so nothing disturbs my writing. And if, for any reason I cannot write, I applaud myself for what I have accomplished and plan a better time for myself, usually a couple hours later or the next day.

I've listened to other writers talk about their writing habits and wondered how the hell they do it. Now, I think I've figured out what works for me.

Are you interested I giving it a shot? Even if you're not a writer, mindfulness can help no matter what you apply it to. It just takes 5 minutes. (Okay, this is a 7 minute video, but mindfulness meditations only take 5 minutes.)


FYI: I am not a paid spokesman (or whatever). I truly feel mindfulness works for me, and wanted to share my experience.