Headcase: Writing & Mindfulness Part 1

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Today in my morning pages I was jabbering on as usual about some ideas of mine around writing, and a theory began to sprout around blogging and voice. Trying to understand how a blogger finds his or hear voice, a wrote that authenticity is an important part of it.

But when a blogger becomes too preoccupied with statistics and page views, then they start to think about how to make those numbers increase. I wrote about meeting others’ expectations about what a good blog should have and how it can inhibit creativity.

I started to believe that the more a blogger tries to meet other people’s expectations, they less creative and authentic the blog is. If you try to do what others are doing, then you don’t really have a voice.

Not a sound theory by any means, but my mind had wandered to this unexplored place as it tends to do in morning pages.

Just as I was putting the words to form, I noticed that my mind didn’t want this thought to come out. When I write morning pages, there’s typically a momentum that happens. I write the thoughts, even if they have nothing to do with the ones that came before it. If I stop writing, it’s because I start daydreaming. And whenever that happens, I write about the daydreams, which become part of the pages.

But this was different. I felt some judgment come up around this idea, because it wasn’t tested and because I lacked evidence. And when I noticed that judgment, I wrote about that as well, acknowledged it, and moved on to what I was doing before.

The only reason I was able to notice this ugliness come up was because of mindfulness, something I practice when I do as a Zen Buddhist as well as in morning pages.

Before my mindfulness practice it would have looked something like this. I would have allowed those judgmental thoughts to take over. Those judgmental thoughts would have butted into my morning pages. I would have hemmed and hawed over this idea I had, and my statements would have been filled with self-doubt. And there would have been a jackal voice in there, too, just for good measure, saying I didn’t know anything because there are countless other bloggers out there, who have it going on, and I don’t.

After practicing mindfulness for four years and applying it to insomnia, emotional insecurity, and work stress I’m finally applying it to my writing practice. I didn’t realize just how much fear, doubt, avoidance, and resistance was there until I brought awareness to it.

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2 thoughts on “Headcase: Writing & Mindfulness Part 1

  1. After blogging for a couple of years, I have learned that like writing offline, writing online requires only a single voice in my head. When I start listening to numbers or envying other bloggers, my writing veers off course into work of which I’m not particularly proud. Mindfulness serves writers/bloggers well.

    1. This is great advice, Michelle. Mindfulness helps us notice when that voice emerges. It doesn’t help to compare ourselves to other people. Just got to do your own thing!

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