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 Comments Add yours

  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. wordsavant says:

      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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