It can take a long time to become a mindful writer. It is antithetical to our culture and especially the writing life as it is laid out now. We are encouraged to write online and to be online and to cruise the internet when we need to do research. But when we are on the internet without any controls put in place, we end up wasting a lot of time while we are writing. So, it is best to separate research from writing as much as this is possible.
Second, we should realize that we are all mindless writers at first. This is our natural default position. Part of it can be blamed on the internet and the ubiquity of information that is available at our fingertips. This can also be blamed on being plugged into the internet even while we are writing. Usually the beeps and flashes will encourage us to be distracted many times while we write.
But our own busy minds can also be blamed. Yes, the internet and being plugged-in won’t help to tame a busy mind. However, our mind is busy regardless of whether we are writing or just sitting and having a cup of tea in our study without any interruptions. This is because our minds are naturally active. There is nothing we can do about this. It is simply natural. However, just because its natural doesn’t mean that we have to acquiesce into mindlessness.
Yes, granted it is far easier to be mindless. But so, what? Just because something is hard doesn’t mean that we can’t achieve it, does it? Aren’t we rational enough to pursue hard things and work to be better versions of ourselves?
Well, the answer to that last question is unfortunately no. Even though we are rational enough to be more mindful, it doesn’t mean that we are. If it did, we would all be mindful writers. But guess what, we aren’t mindful!
So, what does this all mean? Well, I believe it means a few things.
For one thing, it means that we must try hard to be more mindful in our writing lives, and in our ordinary lives as well. In fact, the more mindful we are in our ordinary lives, the more mindful we will be in our writing life. There is a one-to-one relationship.
Secondly, mindfulness will help you be more organized and productive as a writer. The more you can slow things down and unplug so that you are not distracted, the better. So, I will show you how to do so in the next while.
Third, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t become a mindful writer right away. I am still working on being mindful, and every writer who tries to be more mindful struggles for a very long time. So, give yourself a lot of time and patience. You can do it!
Until next time!
Irene S. Roth