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Excerpt for The Mindful Writer by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

The Mindful Writer


Irene S. Roth



Copyright 2018 Irene S. Roth


License Notes. This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. It may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with someone else, please purchase an additional copy for each reader. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Table of Contents



Introduction


Habit 1: Eliminate Distractions


Habit 2: Clear Desk Clutter


Habit 3: Turn Off Your Technological Devices


Habit 4: Develop Times for Solitude


Habit 5: Live in the Present


Habit 6: Release Expectations


Habit 7: Stop Negatively Judging Your Writing


Habit 8: Take Mini-Mindfulness Breaks


Habit 9: Pay Attention to the Small Details Around You


Habit 10: Bring Your Mind Back to your Breath


Habit 11: Write in Flow


Habit 12: Let Go of Ego When You Write


Habit 13: Be Patient


Habit 14: Don’t Compare Yourself to Others


Habit 15: Let go of Perfection


Conclusion


About the Author

Introduction



When we reflect on what it means to be a mindful writer, many different images come to mind. Some of us think that we must be life time yogis to become a mindful writer. But this is not the case at all.


Other writers believe that the mindful writer is just an idealistic prayer in a sea of loud beeping sounds. How can you possibly be mindful when there are so many distractions and uncertainties around the writer at any given time?


Still other writers believe that to be a mindful they must be a practising Zen Buddhist. Again, this is not true in the least. Most mindful writers only mediate occasionally, if that often. Others try to meditate once a day for 5 to 10 minutes. Now that is hardly being a Zen Buddhist, is it now?


So, what precisely is a mindful writer? Well, I will examine how to develop this very practice in this e-book. But before I delve into the subject matter of the e-book in more detail, I would like to mention a few things about how to use this e-book.


First, it is best not to read this book as an idea book--something that you would like to try but not now. It is far better to read through the whole e-book first without making any judgment, highlighting and taking notes. And then spend some time reflecting and putting some of these habits into practise. It is only by delving into this practise slowly that your writing life will improve, and especially your enjoyment of writing.


Second, please don’t expect immediate results. It can take a long time to become a mindful writer. It is antithetical to our culture and especially the writing life. We are encouraged to write online and to cruise the internet when we need to do research. But when we are on the internet unconsciously, we end up wasting a lot of time. So, it is best to separate research from writing as much as this is possible.


Third, realize that we are all mindless at one time or another. This is our natural default position. Part of it can be blamed on the internet and the ubiquity of information that is available at our fingertips. This can also be blamed on being constantly plugged into the internet even while we are writing. Usually the beeps and flashes will distract us many times while we write.


But mindlessness can be blamed on our own busy minds. Yes, its true that the internet and being plugged-in won’t help to tame a busy mind. However, our mind is busy regardless of whether we are writing or just sitting and having a cup of tea in our study without any interruptions. This is because our minds are naturally active. There is nothing we can do about this except try to control our minds. However, just because its natural to experience monkey mind doesn’t mean that we must acquiesce into a perpetual state of mindlessness.


Yes, granted it is far easier to be mindless. But so, what? Just because something is hard to be more aware doesn’t mean that we can’t achieve it, does it? Aren’t we rational enough to pursue hard things and work to become better versions of ourselves?


Well, the answer to that last question is unfortunately no. Even though we are rational enough to be more mindful, it doesn’t mean that we are. If it did, we would all be mindful writers. But guess what, we aren’t mindful!


So, what does this all mean? Well, I believe it means a few things.


For one thing, it means that we must try hard to be more mindful in our writing lives, and in our ordinary lives as well. In fact, the more mindful we are in our ordinary lives, the more mindful we will be in our writing life. There is a one-to-one relationship.


Secondly, mindfulness will help you be more organized and productive as a writer. The more you can slow things down and unplug so that you are not distracted, the better. So, I will show you how to do so in this e-book.


Third, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t become mindful right away. I am still working on being mindful, and every writer who tries to be more mindful struggles to become aware for a very long time. So, give yourself a lot of time and patience to develop mindfulness. You can do it!


Many writers don’t realize that their greatest resources for writing, creativity and motivation lie within them already. We are always searching for something outside. But when we search outside, we only get increasingly disorganized.


By practicing mindfulness, we can inspire our inner artist into action without doing much conscious work at all. We just must let our minds be and let our ideas flow out of the center of our being.


In our world, we are often told to think things through. And in the proper context, we must still think things through. However, when we are writing, we don’t need to think at all. All we have to do is write. The more we can write in flow, the better.


Therefore, since our default position is thinking it can take a lot of conscious effort to not think and just write. I’ve found that simply being still and present in the present moment can result in some of the greatest inspirations for writing.


I realize that this sounds paradoxical, but please hear me out. When we are mindful, we awaken our inner resources to be creative. And this is what we need not only to be a mindful writer but to enjoy writing and treat writing as one of these wonderful experiences that will bring us back to who we genuinely are.

Habit 1: Eliminate Distractions



It's easy to become distracted. Anything can distract you, if you allow it to. It can take a long time to learn how to focus on your writing in such a way that distractions will be minimized, if not avoided altogether.


Distractions can take many different forms. We could be distracted by our children, spouses, family members, pets, phones and email. Limiting these distractions can be easy, if you take a few steps ahead of your writing time and follow-through on them. Here are a few to consider.


Set an egg-timer

I find that setting a timer helps a lot. I set it for, say, one or two hours, and during that time, I don't do anything but think about what I am doing. The timer gives me the structure I need to keep my eyes and mind on the manuscript that I am working on.



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