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5 Inspiring Mindfulness Strategies for Writers

Mindfulness and Writing

Mindfulness and Writing

Mindfulness and writing are perfect together. There’s nothing better than having a clear mind right before performing a task. Just imagine sitting in your room, or at your office, or closed space where is nothing but silence and your organized thoughts. This is clarity that can profoundly impact the creative process and help get back its spark. You’ll be ready to take on any challenges that are facing your way.

However, sometimes we lack focus because of rambling thoughts. Our mind drifts off to another distance of unnecessary thoughts, distracting us from completing our tasks. This can be very stressful, especially when we have deadlines coming.

When I was writing my book Deadly Sins, I went through an insurmountable amount of anxiety that I needed to find ways to focus and get back on my writing game. I went through mental gymnastics while writing this book because of many things from my job at the time to promising to reach a deadline to publish the book. Thankfully, I was able to get the mindfulness clarity I needed and finally published my book.

It was no easy task, but it’s possible!

Contents

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Enhancing Focus and Clarity

Enhancing Focus and ClarityMindfulness practices teach you to center your attention on the present moment, which can be incredibly beneficial for writing. By learning to quiet the constant chatter of the mind, you can achieve a state of flow more easily, where words seem to pour out effortlessly. Techniques like focused breathing or brief meditations before writing sessions can clear mental clutter, allowing for sharper focus and clearer thought processes.

When practicing for mindfulness, you’ll realize how much more beneficial it is to remain in the present. This can easily impact your writing when you are solely focused on the task at hand. You won’t be intimidated by the blank document on your computer. The words will pour out of your head and onto the pages with ease that by the time you are done, you’ll have many pages written before you know it.

My favorite part is realizing how much I got written down and how much more I can’t wait to add on to. Fair warning though, try to keep the break at a bare minimum. I’m talking about a couple of minutes to breathe and stretch, nothing more. Otherwise, you’ll fall off the rhythm.

To get started, I suggest focusing on breathing exercises and brief meditation. You’ll have all the garbage thoughts out of your head and remain focus on your writing. After that, read something that is an inspiration to your writing. For example, if you’re writing a gothic horror story, read a gothic horror short story. This will help get your creative juices flowing and will draw up some inspiration.

Keep in mind that when you are reading after having a clear thought, I’ll guarantee that after the first page or two, you’ll have a ton of ideas that you don’t want to miss. So I suggest getting a small notebook and pen next to you, so when these ideas do come to mind, write them down.

As I was writing my book Deadly Sins, I took a lot of notes while reading through stories that related to the themes of the stories I was writing. I took more notes when writing about the symptoms of certain mental illnesses my characters were facing since the idea was to portray them as accurately as possible. This helped get me to focus better and put me in the zone of writing.

For a better understanding of taking notes, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a great article that gets into greater detail why taking notes is beneficial. Read the article here.

Reducing Stress and Anxiety

Reducing Stress and AnxietyStress and anxiety will always be with us as writers. The trick is to how minimize it as much as possible. The anxieties we face can be deadlines, writer’s block, or frequent edits that prevent you from moving forward. However, it’s mainly the relentless pursuit of self-doubt that comes in the middle of these stresses. You don’t even realize how bad it can hinder the writing process and the work will never be completed as you promised yourself.

Let’s face it, it is not a good feeling when we go through them. However, there are mindfulness exercises we can practice helping us move forward. I suggest getting off any electronic devices that are causing these anxieties. Based on my experience, when doom scrolling, all I saw was nothing but negative posts and videos on why things don’t come the way we want it. I don’t care if it’s reality. This will greatly damage any hard work I have put on into my work. Best to avoid it as much as possible, not just before writing, but for life.

I was always worried about my future because of these videos. Then I realized I should be more worried that I have nothing completed. These videos leave people to always doubt their skills, leaving them feel like they don’t belong in such as being an imposter. During my last semester in John Jay College, I had a professor, (one of the best to be honest), decided to give us this speech about why nobody in my class will get anything published.

Of course, this was daunting to hear, as it left me not only stressed and anxious, but worried to the max. Why would my professor say that? His idea was that the more realistic he is with his students, the more they’ll feel appreciative and not live in a fantasy world where everyone gets published. Not going to lie, this almost left me giving up my dreams to be a writer. I was hurt, even though I’m sure my professor didn’t mean to say that. I’d even banter with the professor about it.

Long story short, I didn’t listen to him and published my first book.

No, his speech did not motivate me. I wasn’t kidding when I said I nearly quit writing and just pursue a full-time career outside of writing. That’s how dangerous it is to demotivate people, especially to those who are looking up to you to learn from.

We don’t care about the reality, we want to write whether they get published or not. We write for ourselves or for people interested. It could be an article, a narrative, or even your own worries.

One of my biggest advice to help reduce stress and anxiety is to write about your worries. When you feel demotivated, write why. You’ll see a change for the positive after reading it. Harvard Health Publishing has an article for exactly that. You can read it here.

Boosting Creativity and Inspiration

Boosting Creativity and InspirationAs writers, we are also highly observant of our surroundings. We are more curious, and tend to be better listeners while asking more questions than usual. Everything is writing material. When we practice mindfulness, our sense of awareness heightens. Our surroundings, such as the environment, and thoughts and feelings that come with it, stimulate us for more inspiration. There is an appreciation for the world around us when we observe thoroughly.

If you stay in your own environment, you’ll eventually run out of things to write about. The trick about this practice is to explore and change up environments. Meet new people in these environments, engage in conversations and consider it more like seeking out for your next character or two.

Whenever I’m writing stories, a lot of my inspiration comes from strangers I meet in areas I never frequent at. They eventually become great friends at the end, which is always good to have.

Growing up, I was a very stubborn person. I wasn’t social with everyone except those I was comfortable with. I always thought of myself that I don’t need friends to improve my life. I was very wrong. In fact, we need each other to survive. It’s nearly impossible to do it all alone. Though, I’m sure there are gifted people out there who can, but let’s be real here. We are not the type to do everything on our own without the help of another.

There is nothing wrong with seeking the benefits from meeting new people. People will find you beneficial as well. The point of improving is to not be shy about meeting new people and benefit from them. It’s healthy.

The Mayo Clinic has a great article on the benefits of making friends. You can read it here.

Enhancing Emotional Resilience

Enhancing Emotional ResilienceThere was a time when I felt very high and positive about my writing that I felt nothing could stop me from doing what I want. Whatever I write, I thought was the best thing ever. A new masterpiece in the making is what I was saying to myself. I actually believed it. Anything I wrote I thought was going to be taught in schools and I will be awarded for my brilliant writing.

Then reality hit.

As the highs wore off, I had moments of severe depression that it drastically affected my writing. A lot was going on in my life that I just sat there and dwelled on my thoughts. Depression isn’t just sadness, it is the lack of motivation, loss of pleasure, and stagnant placement. Life didn’t matter anymore, nothing was improving. No one was going to like what I wrote. I said to myself, what’s the point?

However, it’s okay to have these feelings. It is a temporary moment. With some adjustments, you’ll be back to your normal writing routine with some realism but also enjoyment.

I fought through depression and got over it as much as possible. It was not easy at all, but I won.

What I did might help you, but keep in mind, I’m NOT a doctor. I am only telling you what I experienced and what I did to help me. Remember, your depression, or any other mental anguish, does not define you. These are moments we go through are normal BUT if you don’t feel any improvement, I suggest you seek a mental health expert and therapy. I went through therapy and now go once a month. It has been really helpful as there were some battles I couldn’t do alone.

So, here is what I practiced enhancing emotional resilience: be kind to yourself. Always let yourself know that any struggle you go through, tell yourself that it’s okay, and it’s part of the process. When you are kind to yourself, not only you are providing a positive response, but you will also react calmly rather than beat yourself up over issues that are not your fault.

Another practice is going to the gym and looking out for my physical health. Keep in mind that it also helps reduce stress and can put most of your negative emotions in check. But going to the gym isn’t enough. I also eat a balanced diet and have organized time to eat. I also set personal record goals, so it’s something to look forward to when I hit the gym. This is a very healthy hobby that can help put your mind at ease.

What I practice after that is taking my dogs for a long walk. After I finished my tasks of the day with the gym being the last, I’ll go for a final walk around 9PM and walk for about 30 minutes to an hour. I avoid going on my phone while doing so and enjoy the company my dogs bring me while I enjoy what’s around me. I take a few deep breaths and embrace the moments. This has helped me the most.

If you’d like more details on enhancing emotional resilience, take a look at this article on Mind.org about managing stress and building resilience here.

RELATED: Building Resilience

Improving Self-Awareness and Authenticity

Improving Self-Awareness and AuthenticityMindfulness practices can lead to greater self-awareness, helping writers to understand their own motivations, fears, and desires more deeply. This self-awareness can translate into more authentic and resonant writing, as you draw on your own experiences and insights with greater confidence and honesty.

As writers, we need to be realistic about our goals to improve mindfulness. As I discussed in reducing stress and anxiety, my professor said he wants to give a realistic approach to the chances of writers getting published.

This part of the article is NOT that. This is about organizing your goals in a realistic way and not go overboard with hopes and dreams. You need to arrange smaller goals before getting to the bigger goals. Baby steps.

Let me tell you how I used this approach in writing my book Deadly Sins.

At first, I created this website in 2022 with an announcement that I’m going to publish my very first book Deadly Sins. However, my goals during that time were disorganized and impulsive. I didn’t realize the expectations and didn’t realize I didn’t fully prepare to commit to writing this book. I also gave myself a year to write it, which I thought at the time would work.

It didn’t and ended up pushing the date back one more year, as I was not satisfied with the stories I wrote. I scrapped up everything and wrote newer stories in respect to the mental health themes of the stories.

Being impulsive was what lead me to a stressful path and needed to learn from this mistake. I realized that setting up smaller goals to complete this book is what helped me move forward. I would set up one week at a time, a story would be completed, and then another week at a time for editing. I set up a word goal count every day that I must hit before I had to move on to another task.

It still wasn’t enough, as I felt like I wasn’t being real with myself on my goals. I slowly start to become more self-aware and realistic about how long the process of publishing would take. The more research I did, the more knowledge I gained, the more stress I became. Too many technicalities, such as getting the right book cover, the right file size, the right printing company, establishing an LLC, writing out the copyright page, etc. All of this needed to be respected with time.

How did I do this?

I set up on a calendar about what should be done on certain days. That way, I don’t feel overwhelmed with multiple tasks to be done at the same time.

Once you realized your self-awareness of your goals and achievements, you’ll see a difference in your writing. You’ll be more organized and satisfied with your results.

Recommended Books on Mindfulness

Mindset by Carol Dweck, PhD. – Develop a growth mindset to bravely tackle challenges and transform your writing journey with resilience.

Atomic Habits by James Clear – Discover how small habits can seriously level up your writing discipline and creativity.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman – Learn how your mind works to use mindfulness in dealing with the biases that mess up your writing.

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg – Tap into the freedom of writing with mindfulness, drawing from your personal insight and raw honesty to fuel your creative flow.

The Mindful Writer by by Dinty W. Moore – Combine mindfulness with writing for more focus, creativity, and peace.

Final Thoughts

Incorporating mindfulness into your writing routine doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complex. Even a few minutes of meditation, mindful breathing, or simply sitting quietly to center yourself before you begin writing can make a significant difference.

As much as we want to achieve finishing up our stories as quickly as possible, nothing beats slow and steady. Writing isn’t the only aspect of your life. You have other ambitions and goals for yourself. This will help you keep your thoughts together when organized properly.

In order to achieve this properly, you need to be consistent and open to the experience. Allow yourself to practice mindfulness to enrich not only your writing but your overall well-being.

If you enjoyed this post, consider my other Tips for Writers here.