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Habit of Mindfulness 1: Eliminate Distractions

It’s easy to become distracted when you start your writing career. Anything can distract you, if you allow it to. It is can take a long time to learn how to focus on your writing in such a way that distractions will be minimized, if not avoided altogether.

Distractions can take many different forms. We could be distracted by our children, spouses, family members or phone and email. Limiting these distractions can be easy, if you take a few steps and follow-through on them. Here are a few to consider.

1. Set an egg-timer

I find that setting a timer helps a lot. I set it for, say, one or two hours, and during that time, I don’t do anything but think about what I am doing. The timer gives me the structure I need to keep my eyes and mind on the manuscript that I am working on.

2. Do nothing but write during your allotted time

Nothing, except an emergency, should move you to do anything else than write during my allotted time. If you are serious about writing, make sure that you actually write during your devoted time.

3. Shut-off all outside distractions before sitting down to write

It is important for writers to shut off the ringer on the phone and don’t answer the door if the doorbell rings during your allotted writing session. Do nothing but write.

4. Tell Family about your Writing Time

It is important for you to tell your family ahead of time what your writing schedule will be for the week. Then when you’re writing time comes, honour it so that your family can honor it too. Don’t be persuaded to do anything but write during those times.

5. Work on one project at a time

Seasoned writers usually finish up all their writing projects. They work diligently through discouragement and rejection. They also find a way to work consistently on a project until it is complete.

Writers will usually hit a lot of distractions when they set out to write. This is to be expected and is very much a part of writing practise. Amateur writers, on the other hand, tend to quit when the going gets tough. Many amateur writers may end up with having one or two filing cabinets of incomplete manuscripts if they are not careful.

And many of them don’t have any inclination to work on them again. Try taking one of these manuscripts out and work on it until it is completed. Then take out the next one and do the same. This practise could be a confidence booster. But more than that, it will definitely help you be much more successful.

So, try and take some time and practice this habit today!

Irene S. Roth

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Our Greatest Resources are Inside of Us

Many writers don’t realize that their greatest resources for writing, creativity and motivation lie within them already. We are always searching for something outside. But when we search outside, we only get increasingly disorganized.

By practicing mindfulness, we can inspire our inner artist into action without doing much conscious work at all. We just must let our minds be and let our ideas flow out of the center of our being.

In our world, we are often told to think things through. And in the proper context, we must still think things through. However, when we are writing, we don’t need to think at all. All we have to do is write. The more we can write in flow, the better.

Therefore, since our default position is thinking it can take a lot of conscious effort to not think and to just write. I’ve found that simply still and present in the present moment can result in some of the greatest inspirations for writing.

I realize that this is paradoxical, but please hear me out. When we are mindful, we awaken our inner resources to be creative and authentic. And this is what we need not only to be a mindful writer but to enjoy writing and treat writing as one of these wonderful exercises that will bring us back to who we genuinely are.

Until next time!

Irene S. Roth

The Mindful Writer

When we think of what it means to be a mindful writer, many different images come to mind. Some of us think that we must be life time yogis to be a mindful writer. But this is not the case at all.

Other writers believe that the mindful writer is just a prayer in a sea of loud beeping sounds. How can you possibly be mindful when there are so many distractions and uncertainties for the writer?

Still other writers believe that to be a mindful anything they must be a practising Zen Buddhist. Again, this is not true in the least. Most mindful writers only mediate occasionally. Others try to meditate once a day for 5 to 10 minutes. Now that is hardly being a Zen Buddhist, is it now?

For the next while, I will be exploring what it means to be a mindful writer.  I think it is definitely something that we should all try to practice to be our best.

So, look for most posts about Mindfulness on Wednesday.

In the meantime, think of what it means for YOU to be a mindful writer.  You may want to journal a bit about this.

Until next time!

Irene S. Roth