Meditations for Every Stage in the Writing Process

Meditations for Every Stage in the Writing Process

Have I told you about my first internal editor? His name was Ronny. Ronny was an asshole. Every time I sat at my desk, he whispered in my ear. 
 
“This sucks, Lisa.” 
“Don’t quit your day job, Lisa.” 
“No one loves you.”  
 
I fired Ronny a few years ago. 
 
My new internal editor is Sophia. Her voice reminds me of spring. Instead of pounding me into a pit of shame, Sophia cheers me on. When I worry that my writing sucks and move to throw it out, she tells me to get over myself.

“Of course, the work sucks right now,” she says. “You’re working on a first draft!” 
 
As I edit, Sophia is my copilot. She pokes my ribs when something’s not working and encourages me to go for walks when I’m stuck.
 
How did I go from a Ronny to a Sophia? 

Meditation. 
 
But not just any meditation. 

A year of loving-kindness meditation kicked Ronny to the curb. Sometimes called Metta meditation, loving-kindness helps you develop greater compassion for yourself and others.
 
Metta is great for writer’s block, working through career-related decisions, and keeping calm once your work has been published. 
 
Metta is just one of many meditation practices you can use to enhance your writing life. The list below contains the ones I use at different stages in the writing process. When possible, I’ve provided links. To learn about others, like the centering meditation, send me an email
 
Meditations for Drafting 

 Why they work: The first four meditations ground you in the present moment. During walking meditations, you swing your arms across your midline, which improves communication between the left brain (logic) and the right brain (creativity). Visualization-based meditations that focus on your project can help you get in touch with your characters and their motivations. 

Meditations for Revision 

Why they work: These meditations train you to pay attention to fine details, which is revision job number one. We often think of revision as a mental exercise, but your gut is actually your wisdom center. Body scans can dial you into that body wisdom. As you revise, you might even feel a poke in your ribs or a tug in your gut when you encounter work that needs extra attention. 

 
Meditations for Writer’s Block and Motivation 

  • Metta meditation
  • Soften, Soothe, Allow by Kristin Neff 
  • Centering Meditation 
  • Mantra meditation where you repeat “My creativity matters.”

Why they work: Writer’s block and flagging motivation often have the same causes: doubt and/or perfectionism. These meditations increase your sense of self-compassion and soothe away the fears and doubts stymieing your creativity. 

Have a favorite meditation? Add it to the comments. 

Heart Speak, The Writing Advice Column #6: When You’re a Writer Who’s Also Being Written About

Heart Speak, The Writing Advice Column #6: When You’re a Writer Who’s Also Being Written About

 

This post was originally published on the Moving Forwards Memoir Collective Blog 

 

 

 

Dear Lisa,

I am writing a memoir about growing up feeling unloved and unwanted by my mother. My oldest son is a writer too. Originally, his MFA thesis was a fictional piece about a group of churches we encountered. Recently, he changed genres and presented his work as a memoir of “his bad childhood.” Three agents want it. 

I know my husband and I did our very best. As I write my book, I am thinking about my own mother and how she will feel.

My son doesn’t want me to read his book, though he intends to verify things with me as he gets his proposal ready. As a writer, I am excited for him and I wish him every success. But now I find myself in the middle and not sure how to process this. I wonder if he’s exaggerating or being influenced in what he remembers. Then I wonder about my own memory and the recollections I have about my own childhood. As a writer who’s also being written about, how do I process this in a healthy way? 

Sincerely,

Never saw this coming…

…..

Dear Never Saw This Coming, 

In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott says, “If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they shouldve behaved better.” How easy it is to be cavalier with this statement when we hold the pen. Yet, when others hold the pen, we shudder. 

You cannot control what your son writes. Nor should you. The process of writing a memoir is the process of voicing our subjective truths. We do this to integrate the experiences that don’t make sense to us. In the process of writing and revising, we discover our wholeness. To apply your version of the truth to his story would stifle his growth. I can see from your letter that you already know this. 

But how do you hold onto your own truth as a writer? And how do you find ways to be okay no matter what he writes? Those are the real questions I need to answer. 

Pin It on Pinterest