13 Mindfulness Tips To Enhance Your Writing
A guest post by Jennifer Landis
Mindfulness has been cited as a stress reliever and a way to enhance mental clarity. It could also unlock your full potential as a writer. Let’s take a look at 13 ways to let mindfulness help you become more skilled with words.
1. Embrace the Present
If you’re constantly thinking of what you have to do later, you’ll find writing hard to focus on. Gently keep your mind on track as much as possible by only mulling over what’s happening now, not later.
2. Write With More Freedom
Mindfulness techniques can sometimes be hindered when you criticize yourself for perceived faults. Similarly, your writing can sometimes become stifled if you are too critical of the words as they come. Try to get into the practice of writing first and editing later.
3. Listen to Your Inner Voice
Writers give a great deal of attention to the art of creating a unique voice. Maybe you don’t need to make your writing voice from scratch, but unleash it from within. Tune in to what your heart is telling you, and let it guide the words you use.
4. Devote Time to Meditative Writing
Aim to set aside blocks of time during which all you do is meditate while writing. You may be surprised at what your mind comes up with, even if you just practice meditative writing for 15-minute stints.
5. Let Go of the Past
Perhaps a high school teacher said you were a poor writer years ago, or maybe you just can’t get over that bad grade you got on a paper. Those long-ago events can be very harmful because they cause people to lose confidence. Whenever you get hung up on something that happened previously that’s affecting your writing now, utter a positive mantra such as “I am writing to the best of my capabilities now.”
6. Make a Good Daily Habit
We’ve already mentioned how it’s important to have blocks of time that are for nothing but meditative writing. However, you can also make meditative writing a part of your daily routine by forming a habit loop. Habit loops involve something that cues you to begin the positive habit, the engagement in the habit and the reward for responding to the cue.
Try setting a timer that rings at a specific time of day and sitting down to dive into writing once you hear the timer go off. Before long, you’ll have added meditative writing to your daily agenda.
7. Don’t Get Bogged Down By Thoughts
Some writers become discouraged by the thoughts that pop into their heads at a rapid-fire pace. Remember that thoughts are not absolute truths. They’re just things you’re considering at a given moment, and may be driven more by fears than reality. When you rearrange your perspective on thoughts, it should be easier to let them pass you by for the moment rather than latching onto them.
8. Stay In Tune With How Your Attention Level Fluctuates
You may notice your attention is sharper when editing then when just generating topics to write about. Be aware of how your attention varies and discover when you are most focused. When you’re aware of this, it should become easier to gauge whether you are giving writing your full attention.
9. Remain Calm Despite Distractions
You’ll probably find you deal with things that make it hard to keep your creative flow going. When that happens, stay calm and try to merely observe the presence of those distractions without getting troubled by them.
10. Describe Everything You Can
Many writers struggle for years to make their writing more descriptive. As a starting point, just pay attention to everything you’re picking up with your five senses. Later, experiment with using metaphors and similes to create a richer picture in the reader’s imagination. Since mindfulness requires becoming more aware of your surroundings, descriptive writing should get easier with time.
11. Collect Your Thoughts
Many writers use meditation to overcome creative dry spells. Record your thoughts on paper for a five-minute period. Don’t use punctuation other than to separate every thought with a dash. Afterwards, survey what you’ve written to see if it offers ideas.
12. Reflect in a Journal
Perhaps it has been several years since you’ve written in a journal. However, consider doing so again while meditating. Many people find journal writing helps them make sense of emotions.
13. Practice Free Writing in a Topical Way
Free writing is a useful tool when writers need to come up with ideas. However, the results can sometimes be chaotic. Take a different approach while meditating by beginning with a writing prompt and then free writing based on that question’s potential answers.
Now you have plenty of actionable ways to incorporate writing into your mindfulness practice and vice versa. Hopefully these tips will boost your appreciation of your skills while helping you develop new ones.
Jennifer Landis is a health journalist and blogger at Mindfulness Mama and MissRX. She writes about mindfulness, parenting, and clean eating. When she’s not writing you’ll likely find her practicing yoga, drinking tea, or reading with her toddler. Follow her on twitter @JenniferELandis.