Wednesday, 11 January 2012

On Trying to Write Mindfully

Since starting the January writing challenge –  River of Stones – I’ve been thinking about how to write ‘mindfully’. There’s plenty of advice out there for anyone who cares to do a quick search, but here are a few tips which have helped me.
First, I set the scene:
  • I sit quietly in my writing space and set aside a time when I will not be disturbed for about thirty minutes.
  • I have a pretty book my husband bought me to write in and a pen which writes smoothly in blue ink. I guess your book doesn’t have to be pretty, or your ink blue, but I do think that using things you find pleasing sets up a good mood for writing.
  • I like to play gentle music, with no lyrics. My favourite writing music is ‘Mnemosyne’ by the jazz saxophonist, Jan Gabarek, and the classical quartet, The Hilliard Ensemble. The pure, clean choral work and haunting melodies remind me of church music, and helps me relax into writing. Music doesn’t always work for me though, and sometimes nothing but silence will allow me to listen to my thoughts.
Second, I sit:
  • I spend some time free writing, almost brainstorming, making notes around whatever has come into my mind, with no concern about writing complete sentences or punctuation.
  • I try to think about all of my senses as I write, though having almost no sense of smell I am more or less forced to skip that area. Thinking about my other senses often brings up images and feelings to explore.

Third, I stop:
  • I try to stop after about thirty minutes and read back what I’ve written. I may then leave this as it is, or I may work it up into something more polished, which usually ends up being written on the computer with my ‘notes’ beside me.

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