Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Zen of Writing

A writer responded to my previous article “Dealing with Distractions.” What happens if the kind of family distractions are not external noises like children playing or romping around but the internal kind that sticks within you and rubs you uncomfortably and you can't seem to shake it off at that moment? You want it out of your system because you know it distracts that peaceful state within that makes you want to write? I'd like to think that professional writers too have internal disturbances -- what do you to not let it get in the way of your writing?

Honestly, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't have something internal pulling at me to do this or do that instead of sit at my computer and write. I have a few approaches in handling these gremlins. First, I meditate and see if all I need to do is quiet the mind for a little bit. If there's something that really has to be done, like pay bills that day or do a task for someone, then I'll take care of business.

I've gotten in the habit of dedicating a block of hours early in the morning to write. I usually get up before everyone in the house. It's too early to call anyone and no one calls me (because I turn off the phone.) So I have peace and quiet in which to work, and I don't feel obligated to talk to anybody or do anything for anyone. It's 100% Me Time.

During my morning hours (5:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.) there's very little to distract me. All the business that I need to take care of that day can be handled after 8:00 or noon, depending how long my writing schedule is that day. If there's still too many nagging thoughts breaking my concentration, I'll go back to meditating or do some yoga. It's all just mental noise anyway, and breathing and stretching quiets things down. The key is training your brain to be a habitual writer, so that when it's time to sit down and write you can focus and get into the zone. If someone can't focus at all, then I would recommend getting coaching from a personal coach trained in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). I'd have them guide me through some closed-eye exercises that help your mind create more resources around being focused and more relaxed when the time comes for you to sit down and write. Productivity is all about getting yourself into a zen state.


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