Yes, I am trying to make meditation a part of my writing process in the new year. To meditate is all about clearing out the head from a whirlwind of scattered thoughts, or something called Monkey Mind by my past teachers of meditation. I was also taught that with my mind calmed I could focus mindfully on various themes, usually related to Tibetan Buddhism. I finally dawned on me that I could focus mindfully on a writing project, so I just had to try it out.
Earlier in the day, I had written nine hundred words of a new project that I had begun on January 2nd of 2022. ‘This should be the perfect time to try this out,’ I told myself. And so I did. I sat still in meditation with my laptop set to the side. Twenty minutes later, I was satisfied with the effort. Of course that time wasn’t all focused on the new project. It takes time to first “tame” the mind. Only then can one gently nudge “thinking.”
Why now? Why meditate as part of the writing process? Since I am only three thousand words into a new project, I thought it would be the best time to start such an experiment. I am setting aside other ongoing works-in-progress in order to focus on just one story. In the past, I have not done this. I go wherever my head takes me, sometimes jumping from story to story rather quickly. I’m not very disciplined as a writer. But that really wasn’t the reason either. Rather, I don’t want previous stories nor the current works-in-progress to contaminate the new novel.
As a number of you already know, I am a “pantser” which means I write by the seat of my pants with no prepared outline to follow. Any characters in the story just seem to appear out of thin air. The only way that I get to know what is going on is to listen to the story as I write. That is where taking time to meditate should clear out the clutter from other stories that are circulating in my head. Now of course I had to do a bit of research, after the fact to see if I am just making this all up. I did find quite a few number of links to articles that discussed how one could meditate to improve focus and concentration. such as this one from Mindworks.
Now, the hard part begins. For me the hard part isn’t starting something new, it is somehow sticking with the task. I get easily distracted – just another example of Monkey Mind taking over. Somehow, I think neither Paul nor Will has the same issue with Monkey Mind. I think both of them have much more self-discipline when it comes to writing, perhaps even in their lives in general. Focus Robert, focus!