Conquering NaNoWriMo: Did you meditate before writing today?

Wracking up high wordcounts on a daily basis requires an influx of energy and focus, two things meditation bolsters in your brain. In fact, meditation is fantastic for firing up your writing brain because it bridges the gap between observations—what we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch—and what we can dream, imagine, or create while “in the creativity zone.” Meditation:

  • Creates a receptive state for insights, revelations, and intuition, all of which will add depth to your creativity and writing.
  • Calms an agitated mind and reduces anxiety in general.
  • Boosts access to your innermost self, what makes you unique in the world—and helps you feel more confident creating or writing from that place.
  • Helps you move smoothly between three levels of awareness: intellectual/ego, emotional/intuitive, and imaginative/inspirational.
  • Quiets brain chatter, soothes rattled feelings, and improves ability to live “in the moment.”
  • Helps you enjoy the writing process as it happens, by focusing thoughts on the present rather than dwelling on past or worrying about the future.
  • Improves attention and concentration; the more you meditate, the better you’ll become at focusing and concentrating.
  • Induces the desirable state of flow, when ideas and words seem to magically appear.

In addition to helping you transition from paying attention to something (or everything) else to paying attention to writing, meditation has amazing long-term benefits for your brain, which we’ll discuss another time.

Meanwhile to fire up your writing brain—or bolster any form of creativity—meditate before you begin, and you’ll likely feel more relaxed, more open, and more focused. In addition, your top (thinking cortex) brain will be communicating more efficiently with your bottom (limbic system) brain, bringing all the intellect you have to bear to the task at hand.

Tip: All you need to do to meditate is to spend 10-15 minutes seated, breathing slowly in and out, clearing your mind of thoughts as they arise and bringing your focus back to your breathing. No thinking encouraged, just being, in the moment, with your body, connecting body and brain through breath. Each time your mind “chatters,” imagine those thoughts floating away in “thought balloons.” When ready, do a few “cleansing breaths” and then ease back into consciousness—a consciousness focused like a laser on writing.

Happy Writing!

Susan Reynolds is the author of Fire Up Your Writing Brain: How to Use Proven Neuroscience to Become a More Creative, Productive, and Successful Writer. She also coauthored Train Your Brain to Get Happy, and Train Your Brain to Get Rich.


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