Why Writers Should Practice Meditation – And How to Get Started

2013.4.10 Writing

Meditation is usually associated with relaxation and stress release, but those outcomes are more accurately by-products of the practice.

The true purpose of meditation is to quiet the mind.

When that happens, all kinds of personal benefits ensue, including improved health and resiliency, greater awareness, and the spiritual awakening that comes from tapping into one’s true nature.

A quiet mind allows you to move beyond thought to the place where we all create, which is the space between our thoughts, and that’s a good place to be if you are a writer.

Releasing Stress and Mental Blocks

The reason we experience stress, writer’s block, and other counter-productive behaviors and conditioned responses, is that we are stuck in our thoughts. The first challenge is recognizing this, and then ceasing to fight it, because any resistance only serves to immobilize you further.

The more you struggle with your thoughts the more you reinforce your physical condition. You are literally squeezing your thought patterns down to a few, thereby dramatically increasing their intensity. This leads to even greater levels of stress, including uncontrollable anger.

Find the Space Between Thoughts

Discovering the space between thoughts is something that healthy individuals do on a regular basis. It can happen by taking a walk through nature, or when actively engaged with activities you enjoy, such as writing.

The process of writing is different for everyone. However, for most of us it brings our attention inward, where we reconnect with our true selves, thereby making new discoveries.

To find the space between thoughts you have to first give yourself permission to do so. You have to trust your capabilities for getting there, just as a meditator will trust that the mantra will effectively lead to states of greater awareness.

How to Meditate

Traditional meditation involves the repetition of a mantra – which is a sound. The word mantra roughly translates as “instrument of the mind,” and its use helps to create the desired quieting of the mind.

A breath awareness meditation is a simple and universal approach – one in which the breath serves as the mantra.

Steps for practicing a mindfulness meditation

  1. While it helps to have a quiet environment, you can meditate on an airplane just well as in the privacy of your home. If possible, it also helps to dim the lights.

  2. Begin by sitting down. Get get comfortable and assume good posture, either sitting cross-legged on the floor or in a chair with your feet on the ground. 

  3. Close your eyes and allow your awareness to go to your breathing. Innocently observe your breath as you breathe in and out. 

  4. As you observe your breath you may notice it changes – in speed, rhythm, and depth. It may even stop for a moment. Whatever happens, just continue observing it without expectation. 

  5. From time to time your attention may drift to a thought in your mind, a sensation in your body, or a noise in the environment. Whenever you notice you are not observing your breath, simply bring your awareness back to your breathing. 

  6. Continue this practice for at least 5 minutes, and for as long as it is comfortable. Over time you will be able to sustain the practice for the optimum period of 30 minutes.

  7. Keep your eyes closed when you decide to stop, and just remain silent for 30 seconds or so before getting up to allow your mind and body to stabilize.

  8. Slowly open your eyes, bring the lights up, and return to your writing.

Writing is a Process

I recently finished writing my first book: Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business. I can say with certainty that I experienced my share of writer’s block, frustration, and even a bit of anger because I was holding on too tight at times.

Having never written a complete book, I had some fears about its accomplishment. What I discovered was writing well is largely a process of remembering, and then extending those ideas further. That was possible by practicing ways to maintain a quiet mind.

Writing is a process, and once you find yours, everything becomes much easier. Then it’s just a matter of doing the work.

The same holds true for just about any endeavor, including social marketing.

In fact, the promise of Built-In Social is a reliable process that takes the stress and anxiety out of using social marketing well – including, and especially, writing valuable content that attracts business leads.

Are you and your business ready to write?

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – Released April 15, 2013 (Wiley)

Photo Credit 

The Icarus Deception – Work is Art

The process of doing what you were meant to do can be frightening, and that is why its accomplishment is so rewarding.

For one thing, you just may fail. In fact, honing your skills into a viable practice requires that you fail, because the perspective gained from failures and challenges leads to creating your best work.

Seth Godin calls the practice of delivering your best work creating your art.

You may not think of yourself as an artist, and that is largely because society has conditioned you to believe that greatness is what others accomplish – rock stars, accomplished athletes, and other celebrities.

Yet, each of us is a rock star in our own right when we face the fear of doing the work that we know we have to do. The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin is a new book that will show you how.

What you most fear is what you must accomplish.

Our fears are indications of what is important to us, what we deeply believe is within our capabilities for making a contribution to this world. This is precisely why your original contribution can be considered nothing less than art.

You Have Permission to Create Your Art

Working with the perspective of elevating your efforts to the level of art is something even those who are artists in a traditional sense can benefit from. Society conditions us to believe that success comes from learning to draw within the lines – that only leads to mediocrity.

The Icarus Decepton will change that by giving you permission to go where you need to go to do what you need to do. It encourages you to use your gifts to accomplish what no other is capable of, and therefore, what the world needs.

Seth defines art not as a product, but an attitude – one that leads to investing in things that give you a chance to stand out and make a difference. There is risk in that, which is why it works, and also why it involves facing fears.

From the moment you open the The Icarus Deception you realize this book is an example of its suggested methods. Accompanying it is a bookmark (see photo above) that is designed to encourage you take the risk of sharing your art – right now.

You are instructed to describe your art on the bookmark and then place it within another copy of The Icarus Deception at your local bookstore. Can you face the fear of taking the unorthodox act of sharing your art with complete strangers?

Me too.

Are You Ready to Accept the Gift?

I read portions of The Icarus Deception the past couple of weeks with no big breakthroughs. Then I picked it up yesterday after a particularly challenging presentation that nevertheless happened to go well.

This time it gave me a new perspective on success – that winning isn’t everything. I considered why I’ll often work hard to give my audiences what I think they want when I should instead be giving them what nobody else on this planet can offer them.

Instead of taking the traditional route, The Icarus Deception will indeed give you permission to find your best path, the one that will enable you to truly discover your work is art.

Most of us are waiting for others to give us permission when they buy us or hire us. That’s a product of conditioning – it’s how we were brought up, educated, and trained.

Instead of waiting, isn’t it better to just pick yourself? That’s how most successful businesses and projects start.

Following a traditional path can only lead to ordinary results that go unnoticed. Hard work is just not enough anymore, especially in an economy where most of us are already working harder than ever.

Instead of working hard just to impress the boss or customer, work to liberate your talent, expertise, and experience to elevate your work to art.

There has never been a better time to practice your art. Digital social media is increasingly connecting everyone on this planet, thereby providing abundant opportunities for the brave, creative, and relentless among us.

Does that describe you?

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+


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