The Zen of Writing

In a recent Hangout On Air, participants agreed there is a Zen-like meditative aspect to our writing process, though it appears to occur at different points for various people.

Many of us (like moi) don’t really regard ourselves as “writers”, but none-the-less must write for business.  Several years back, I got over my first hurdle when a close friend offered to review and edit my blog posts for six months.  Her feedback gave me a much greater understanding of writing for the benefit of the reader.
I have given some thought to my process for producing these Monday Mindset posts and share the seven steps here just in case you might find them helpful:
  1. Commit to producing on a specific day and announce it.  We all need deadlines and commitments to keep us accountable. (thanks to Martin Shervington’s WeDig ideas)
  2. Begin at least three days before the deadline and scout around for a topic.  I keep an Evernote list of ideas as they occur to me.  Choose the one that grabs you today.
  3. Let the idea simmer for a day and a night and know that what you want to say will come through.  Here is where the meditative aspect comes in.  Inspiration often comes to me in the shower, but for others, it will be in a space and time when they are totally relaxed and reflective.
  4. Start by just writing a stream of consciousness.  Let it flow without judgement or correction.
  5. Do a keyword search (I use Jaaxy) to discover a title and additional ideas that may be added to the article.
  6. Let it percolate for a day so that you came back to the article with fresh eyes.
  7. Just before the deadline, read, sharpen and edit the final version.
When singing this song recently at choir, it occurred to me that it describes and inspires my writing process very well.
Let things ripen and then fall
Force is not the way at all
Just let go and you will see
the way to do is to be
(This Lao Tzu quote was adapted for music by Laurence Cole)
How would you describe your writing process?  What inspires it?
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4 thoughts on “The Zen of Writing”

  1. Thoughtful article LA.

    Here are a couple of personal thoughts.

    I have enjoyed using a Visual Thesaurus: http://www.visuwords.com/fullscreen/

    Years ago, when I was doing a lot of writing, I used a specially designed audio track known as “Enhancer.” I would do my work and the sound put me in a light trance. The next thing I was “aware” of was 74 minutes later when the CD ended and I realized that I had produced a lot of material. I had lost or lent the CD and your article reminded me of it, so I just bought it as a download so I can use it once again.

    Stay well… Brian

    Reply
    • Greetings Brian – Thanks so much for sharing these links. Since I know how much writing you have done in the past, these recommendations take on even more weight.

      Reply
  2. I love this quote, so applicable for a Monday when looking forward to a busy week. Trying to cram it all in to the 5 days. It will happen one way or another. Worry less, breathe more.

    Reply
    • Hi Lynn – All I can say is – it sure felt great while singing the quote with about 100 people. Hope remembering it will help with the week.

      Reply

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