Lessons for Licking Writer’s Block
Sometimes we suffer writer’s block.
First, what is Writer’s Block? It’s that block of time we’ve scheduled to write, but we’re not writing.
Why are we not writing?
Writing, like meditation, is largely an exercise of the mind. And any exercise requires flexibility. Writer’s block comes when our minds tighten with expectation. Yes, it is necessary to set goals and schedule writing time. But how can we ensure scheduled time remains inspirational. How do we prime the pump? What can we add to the schedule to get our writing flowing?
A couple of steps.
First, shut down Facebook, the phone, your email, and block all tweets and IMs and news feeds. Our minds need to be open, but not catch-alls for every interruption.
Second—and here’s the important part—do a brief meditation. Something as simple as three breaths, or maybe more. It need not extend beyond 10 minutes.
Third, be aware of your meditation. Be aware that you are not necessarily meditating for story ideas or to come up with what to write. That comes later. Simply meditate for the flow of it. Meditate to fall in sync with its rhythm.
Because before a story can be about anything, it is about its structure. What it looks like. How it flows.
Meditate to feel how your body breathes. How it feels at the moment. Tap into the simple repetition of breath as structure. Inhale, exhale. Again. Inhale, exhale. Again.
Very simple. Very innate. Always with you. Always the muse you hold inside.
Three breaths or 10 minutes—whatever it takes—and the tightness drops. The tension drifts away. The monkey mind of writer’s block settles.
Try it. Sit, stand, whatever is comfortable.
Do not try to relax. Just relax. Let your mind open. Feel your breath flow. Absorb its rhythm. Live it. Drift. Watch rhythm emerge as thought. When you’re done, journal those thoughts. Write.
Being a writer means expression is always within us, waiting to come out. It is how we form words out of the world around us. Don’t wait for inspiration or the Muse to come around. Focus on breath. Feel its calm. Feel it sync you the writer with your environment. And then write.
Meditation, like writing, is an exercise of integration. It is how your mind purrs in sync with your body. Breathe. We do it all the time. That’s why we write. Because it’s like breathing.