In response to someone encouraging me to meditate, I found myself saying that it was really hard for me. If I could shut off the day-to-day worries, I tended to let myself daydream and imagine things I might write. To turn off even the writing part of my brain seemed, well, risky. What if I couldn’t turn it back on?
Okay, I realize that’s silly. I’ve found that developing discipline around my writing has opened up—not squelched—my creativity. So what might be possible if I could get myself to meditate?
As of today, I still don’t know. But what I do know is this: writers need a recess, too. What that looks like is probably different for every writer and I’m sure, for some of you, that might be meditation.
I realized that for the last few years, my recess has been spending time with my nieces and nephews. Because they are so important to me, my number on priority when I’m with them is to be 100% present. That means the phone is put away (unless I’m texting their mom a question about treating a sore throat or sending her a picture) and the worries are shoved into a box, locked away for the duration of time with the kids.
This summer, I had my two nephews for a week, which meant outdoor adventures. Having that time away from my laptop was incredibly refreshing and, when I returned to my writing, I had lots of new ideas and had even found solutions to issues I was having with a chapter.
It seemed magical, but it wasn’t. I’d given myself an opportunity to experience new things and focus on something other than words.
Kate Monahan, who I’ve linked to before, published a post this summer about how she had not done much writing. Instead, she was doing plenty of other writing related things. As she and her husband settled into their new house in a new town, she was consumed with painting and unpacking. Yet, she was also feeling “dreamy,” letting possible characters introduce themselves into her imagination. And she found that very satisfying.
I like that “dreamy” state Kate describes, too, and find that I tend to let my mind drift when I’m cooking or watching TV. But I’m still thinking about meditation and what might be possible if I give my brain an intentional recess on a regular basis. Can I do it? I’m not sure, but I will let you know.
What about you? Do you meditate? What do you do to give your mind a writing reprieve? Please share in the comments below. Thanks!