1. Keep your mind focused on one thing at a time
It can be difficult for writers to focus on one thing at a time. We are multi-taskers from way back. It is a cultural virus that has infected all of our thoughts and actions. Multi-tasking is not something that writers should do during their allotted writing time.
Instead, writers should sit down undistracted and work on what is right in front of them. If other thoughts come racing into your mind, either write them down for future reference after you have finished your writing time or discard the thoughts. Come back to the present moment and the project that is in front of you. Don’t let monkey mind steal your productivity and creativity. Monkey mind will creep in during your allotted writing time, if you allow it.
2. Eliminate all distractions, and just decide to write.
If your mind focuses on what you will be having for dinner or what you will tell your spouse when (s)he gets home, let go of that thought. Just think of what you’re doing right now—but nothing else.
One way that you could successfully do this is by practising a centering exercise before you start your writing session. Your centering exercise doesn’t need to be complex at all. It could be as simple as sitting down quietly, setting an egg timer for 8 to 10 minutes, and closing your eyes. Take a few deep diaphragmatic breaths. Then focus on your breath. If thoughts pierce through, just let them go. Just keep focusing on your breath and that peaceful, still place inside you. Breathe deeply! Then return to the here and now and start writing.
3. Don’t check email while writing either. Do nothing but write.
One of the surest ways of experiencing monkey mind is by continuously checking email, opening snail mail, or answering the telephone while you’re trying to get your writing done. Unplug from all technologies when you’re trying to write. Some of you will use monkey mind as an excuse to not get your writing done. But this need not be the case. You must try to focus the best that you can on your writing, and reserve answering email AFTER you have done your writing for the day. This is a sure recipe to being productive and getting a lot of work done.
By taking these steps you will be avoiding monkey mind when you write.
Irene S. Roth
Author and Editor