How many times have you been struggling with writer’s block, decided to take a break from a project, but found that your head starts swimming with ideas for that very project the second you start to work on something else?
Instead of being annoyed, you can use this all-too-common occurrence to work through your writer’s block. By setting up the perfect meditation space and using it effectively, you can channel your wandering thoughts into productive ideas.
Writer’s block is frustrating, to say the least. Your mind seems stuffed full of unproductive ideas. And that’s where meditation comes in:
“In meditation, the mind is clear, relaxed, and inwardly focused. When you meditate, you are fully awake and alert, but your mind is not focused on the external world or on the events taking place around you.”
By relaxing and clearing your mind, you can create the perfect mental environment for new ideas to spring up.
Meditation has many benefits, including:
- Reduces stress
- Improves concentration
- Encourages healthy living
- Increases self-awareness
- Boosts happiness
- Increases acceptance
This last point is particularly important to writers. Meditation guides your mind to a place where you don’t need to worry about any particular problem; you simply acknowledge thoughts and move on without having to do anything about them.
One of the ideas repeated often during meditation practice is:
“Become conscious of the thoughts passing through your mind. Don’t worry about them. Just acknowledge them and let them pass on.”
This process of clearing your mind and letting thoughts float on by is how you can use meditation to get through writer’s block.
Setting the Scene
Find a quiet place in your house to set up your meditation space. If you don’t want to sit on the floor, you can sit on a cushion or in a comfortable chair—but not so comfortable that you fall asleep!
You can light a scented candle or burn incense if smells are calming to you and not distracting. The scent of lavender is very calming, and woody scents can create a cozy atmosphere. Fruity scents tend to energize the body and mind, so use your best judgement on what scents to use—you know your own preferences better than anyone.
If you enjoy music or white noise, soft sounds can help prevent you from being distracted by other background noises. You can find meditative music on YouTube that’s designed to keep you from focusing too much on it and getting distracted, or you can use one of the classic white noise background sounds such as waves crashing on a beach.
Set a quiet timer so you don’t worry about how much time has passed. For your first meditation practice, 10 or 15 minutes is long enough to get the hang of the process without getting bored or distracted. As you gain experience, you can meditate for half an hour or more.
Finally, make sure you have a notebook and writing utensil. A new blank notebook is a good tool here, because it doesn’t have anything in it that you need to worry about or that could be distracting. Also, avoid using your computer so the bright light doesn’t distract you.
Meditating doesn’t need to involve chanting mantras or visualizing yourself walking on a tranquil beach. In fact, because you want to generate productive ideas for your writing project, an empty mind would be a better blank canvas anyway.
Get comfortable in your chair or on your cushion, making sure that you find a position you can sit in without moving for the next little while.
Close your eyes.
Start by breathing naturally, focusing on your inhalations and exhalations. If any wayward thoughts come into your mind, let them pass on without worrying about them. After a while, take a few deeper breaths to ease your body into a deeper state of relaxation.
If you find yourself struggling, you can repeat simple phrases like, “I am breathing in; I am breathing out,” to bring your focus back to your breath.
Throughout the process, stay focused on your breath and the simple sensations your body can feel: the chair or floor you’re sitting on, the smell of your candle, the soft sounds or music in the background.
Recording Your Ideas
As you meditate, you may find that ideas for your writing project willingly drift into your mind now that all the noise is gone. When you have an idea, don’t dwell on it longer than necessary. Write it down in your notebook so you don’t forget it, and then go back to focusing on your breath.
Try not to get distracted by the ideas that come to you. Once you’ve written them down, they’re not going anywhere. You can focus on your breath and on emptying your mind to make room for new ideas to come in.
Even if new ideas don’t come to you right away, don’t worry. Regular meditation can help you reduce stress about your writing project and improve your concentration when you are working.
Good luck, and happy writing!