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?
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
- Body Scan
- Centering meditation
- Soles of the Feet by Kristin Neff
- Walking meditation
- Visualization-based meditation
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.