Founder of Damascus Way Recovery, Tim assists individuals with developing a deep spiritual sense of meaning & purpose to enrich and empower.
What Is Mindful Writing?
Mindful writing is a critical tool—it allows us to externalize our emotions and experiences and use them to craft impactful words that evoke an emotional response from others. If you are disciplined and practice writing daily, you can become capable of engaging in successful and meaningful communication with others.
Mindful writing goes beyond the normal day-to-day writing styles we all utilize (i.e., Facebook, text messages, or emails). This writing style requires you to externalize and formulate thoughts to develop and support your ideas and opinions. It also requires you to be aware of your own thoughts and biases on the subject and to express a clear and definitive objective viewpoint.
Are you ready to develop a disciplined writing style using mindfulness to improve your voice, style, and message? The key strategies for effective mindful writing outlined in this article will allow you to develop and learn new, valuable writing skills. These are practical strategies that will help you make the most of your voice and style to ensure your message is impacting and influencing your audience.
This article will introduce you to the tools of orienting, organizing, and prioritizing your time for an effective and meaningful writing experience using meditation, space organization, and to-do lists.
Practice Meditation for Effective Mindful Writing
The most fundamental strategy for effective mindful writing is to orient oneself to the concept of mindfulness and incorporate meditation into your daily routine. Practicing meditation daily helps us prepare for the writing session. It is a way for us to clear our minds and open ourselves up to developing specific topics, stories, and content.
Shamash Alidina shares five key strategies to orient oneself toward mindful writing; in her article on mindful writing, she provides the following guidelines:
- Set a timer for 30 minutes—use the initial part of your writing to detox. Alidina posits that when we use writing to detox our superfluous thoughts, we are opening ourselves up to explore those thoughts with curiosity.
- Utilizing your typewriter (if you happen to own one) or computer keyboard, close your eyes and let your fingers type out those superfluous thoughts as they traverse the landscape of your mind. What imagery do you see? If you don't have a computer or feel more comfortable using a notepad and pen or pencil, keep your eyes open and allow your thoughts room to breathe, then write them down.
- When you come to a stop at a complete sentence, take a moment to breathe deeply in, then exhale out (simple breathing exercises are the basic form of meditation). Recall warm emotions (like seeing a happy puppy), and don't necessarily focus on positivity.
- There is no set agenda to focus on and no specific message to share. Simply permit yourself to allow your writing to emerge. Use this strategy as a guideline for finding your own way to experience mindful and meditative writing.
- Have you ever watched those movies where the actor is learning a new form of martial art discipline? It always comes down to breathing. It's the same with meditative and mindful writing. Practicing deep breathing while writing as it helps us stay relaxed and focused.
These are good strategies to help you engage in the discipline of mindful writing. Mindful writing helps you to:
- feel relaxed and happy,
- experience a calm and peaceful mind,
- gently move into a meditative state,
- and explore and have fun.
The goal is to become acquainted with the discipline of daily mindfulness and meditative writing; this keeps us sharp and focused on our craft.
Organize Your Writing Space and Eliminate Any Distractions
Freelance journalist Lesley Vos wrote an article exploring the importance of establishing a space that helps writers achieve higher productivity rates.
Since productivity is a holy grail for writers, we want to respect our craft enough to establish an environment where we are motivated and inspired to write. Vos shares her own personal freelance writing journey and how she has only written 5,000 words while sitting on her bed with a cup of coffee. Our environment impacts our ability to share our message, develop and craft a solid plot and characters, and explore emotions and thoughts.
Vos shares her insights on how setting up two different zones increased the effectiveness of her writing time. One zone is designated for resting and relaxation, while the other is for her writing. Vos also recommends establishing healthy boundaries to help us maintain organization and structure—as much as we refuse to admit it to ourselves, our writing is not the only priority in our lives.
How to Organize Your Writing Station
Here are the strategies Vos shares for organizing and improving our writing space for greater productivity:
- Keep your desk and writing area free from clutter.
- Post inspiring pictures in your work area.
- Ensure you have everything you need within reach.
- Ensure your environment is comfortable.
- Listen to instrumental music (because you don't want to get distracted by vocals).
- Establish and maintain boundaries for your writing time and space.
- Stay off social media and all other messaging services.
- Leave the television off.
How to Eliminate Distractions
One of the most challenging aspects of getting organized is eliminating distractions. Author Mariana Ashley provides these 10 strategies to avoid distractions while writing:
- Write by hand.
- Use an internet freezing app.
- Turn off your smartphone.
- Go to your writing place.
- Prep your mind and body (mindfulness and meditation).
- Take care of the necessities first.
- Write every morning.
- Leave an unfinished sentence at the end of your writing session.
- Listen to music or white noise (I typically have Pandora going on my Roku with either deep-forest instrumental music or smooth jazz).
- Avoid comparing yourself to others (especially if you belong to a writing community through social media or online).
In looking at these ten strategies, it is clear that establishing a daily writing routine provides the additional support you need to reach your writing goals while engaging in the mindfulness and meditative practices associated with writing. Establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries helps you to have a productive writing session. Don't forget to get adequate rest and take breaks when needed.
A To-Do List Will Help You Focus, Prioritize, and Meet Writing Goals
Balancing life, work, family, and your passion for writing takes artfulness and creativity. Creating a to-do list doesn't just establish a way to prioritize your writing—it is a means of developing a method to balance your obligations with your writing endeavors.
How to Craft a To-Do List
Sarah Rhea Werner hosted a podcast episode on how to prioritize your writing. There, she discusses the same strategies this article explores when it comes to the effectiveness of managing time. Here is a brief preview of what she observes and advises:
- Make a list of all your priorities (work responsibilities, family obligations, free time, and writing).
- Reflect on your list, and rank each item based on how meaningful and valuable it is to you.
- Be real about your time—it is a precious commodity.
- Give your bigger tasks and responsibilities the attention and respect they deserve.
- Plan to take time off for self-care.
- Be accountable for how you are managing your time.
- Be patient and compassionate toward yourself.
Creating a simple to-do list is not complicated; there are many different techniques. Utilizing schedulers, calendars, or day planners may help you focus your attention on maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle that incorporates daily writing. While we do not want to neglect our writing, we also do not want to neglect our other responsibilities.
How to Prioritize Your Time and Overcome Barriers to Accomplishing Your Writing Goals
In an American Psychological Association article on how making writing a priority influences our goals and habits, the first aspect is defined as understanding one’s barriers to writing.
"To have time to write, we need to explicitly make time to write, and other things need to take a back seat."
One of the most significant barriers is our own misgiving that we need to be in the right mood to write. Unfortunately, we may never be in the right mood to sit down and dedicate time to writing. Instead, we need to overcome this mental barrier and carve out time in our busy schedules to write.
This dedicated time is valuable and helps us focus on practicing mindful writing daily. Yet, we do not want to fall into the trap of making writing our main priority while other responsibilities are neglected. Finding a balance is key.
Overcoming our barriers to writing aids our ability to engage in realistic time-management and schedule dedicated time for writing mindfully. Prioritizing also means we establish SMART goals and milestones. And finally, prioritizing the dedicated time to meditate and write mindfully allows us some time to detox our thoughts and process them on paper.
Why Should You Choose to Practice Mindful Writing?
There is a multitude of reasons to study and practice mindful writing; here are a few.
Mindful Writing Helps You Improve Your Writing Skills and Develop Your Voice
Successful content development, writing, and publishing focus on your ability to share a message that evokes an emotional response that makes your readers engaged and ready to take action.
Mindful Writing Opens Your Mind
In day-to-day writing, we share our thoughts and opinions without any judgment or explanation. However, when we write more mindfully and practically, we need to disengage judgment and criticism because we may not fully know what our audience understands. Mindful writing also helps us embrace our way of thinking as it relates to the message, how it evokes our own emotions, and ways we have (or are willing to) respond to the message being shared.
5 Steps You Can Take Today to Begin Implementing Mindful Writing Strategies
Set aside some time to reflect on this article (and hopefully, you’ve taken some notes); when you are ready, follow these steps to orient, organize, and prioritize your time to incorporate mindful writing into your daily routine.
- Establish a daily routine and practice of mindful meditative practice—the best way is to start with simple breathing techniques.
- Decide on a specific area you want to dedicate as your writing space and begin organizing what you need to be productive.
- Set up healthy boundaries when establishing some dedicated time for writing, and respect those boundaries. Create a to-do list to set priorities and carve out time in your schedule to reflect and write.
- Focus on simple writing exercises (if you follow weekly writing challenges, this is a good way to establish daily writing disciplines).
- Follow through with your commitment to establishing a healthy writing discipline by being patient.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 26, 2020:
I will try to get back to finish. The approach is not mine, so I want to learn.
Anupam Mitu from MUMBAI on September 26, 2020:
Couldn't read the whole article now. But it's definitely in my reading list.