Tag Archives: writing and meditation

Being Happy as a Writer

6941440367_53fbc30754_zHappy Leap Day! Hope everyone is enjoying their extra day of the year. (My grandma and great aunt get to have a birthday this year.)

Writing is challenging. It’s time consuming and frustrating. It’s also amazing. The feeling of accomplishment you get when you’re finally satisfied with your work can seem miraculous. That feeling can safeguard you against all the ups and downs that are inevitably tied to the writing process.

If you enjoy writing as much as I hope you do, then it can make you happy, whether you’re published or not. However, in order to truly experience happiness and satisfaction from your writing, your work must have some significance to you.

I recently read an article titled How To Be Happy: 5 Secrets Backed By Research. This article isn’t writing specific, but I found it informative and intriguing. Plus, it’s filled with links to other science-based articles, books, lectures, etc. that back the information Eric, the author of the blog, states.14209441301_c2a017cf72_z

The articles delves into five ways to be happy. I’ll briefly include them here, but check out the article for more detailed information.

Five ways to be happy:

  1. Pursuing pleasure in life is not enough to be happy. Your life needs meaning. It’s only when you combine pleasure and meaning that you find happiness.
  2. Write down what you do in a day. It’s easy to lose track of time. You hop on the computer for a quick Facebook check and end up spending an hour scrolling through your feed. Did that hour make you happy? Fulfilled? Evaluate how you spent your time by looking at how it made you feel. You’ll discover which activities generate happiness and which ones don’t. Increase the time spent on activities that make you happy.
  3. Happiness is more than just doing things that make us feel good. We must enjoy the process of doing those things. When we enjoy what we’re doing we create a “flow.” In other words, we’re able to focus on the present, and though we may end up working very hard, the work doesn’t feel painful.
  4. Answer this question: If no one could see what you were doing, and therefore couldn’t judge you, what would you do? By answering this question, you’ll discover which activities you truly enjoy doing and which activities matter most to you, instead of which ones are more impressive or acceptable by your peers.
  5. Similar to saying versus doing, or showing versus telling, it’s one thing to know what makes us happy; it’s another thing to do what really matters to us. Therefore, we must make a habit out of doing what makes us happy.

Here are some habits to help increase happiness:

  1. Physical exercise. It improves both physical and mental wellbeing.
  2. Hang out with friends. Those intimate relationships make all the difference.
  3. Be grateful. Show gratitude to others and yourself.
  4. Meditate. This helps you to focus. No more monkey mind.

One of the most important realizations about being happy is to know that you’re human, and by being human you won’t experience happiness all the time. Without the dark times in our lives, we can’t recognize happiness, gratitude, compassion, love, and all the other wonderful emotions we, as humans, come to understand and appreciate.

What do you think? What makes you happy?

(Photos courtesy of Bob B. Brown and Vladimir Pustovit.)

Writing and Meditation: Opening Yourself Up to Inspiration

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Recently, I returned from a trip to Oregon, where I had my first real experience with meditation. It was intriguing, especially because the individuals around me seemed so much better at meditating than me.

Meditation is not easy. But what it does do is something most other writing advice cannot. Meditation allows for inner exploration.

So much influence bombards us from the outside world that our minds can become clogged. Sitting down and focusing on writing becomes that much harder. Meditation gives your brain a chance to push away all that outer noise and focus inward.

When you’re able to focus on your internal influences, your creativity will increase.

How?

While outer information is vital to writing, (wide spread reading is a huge component to writing well) if you can’t process the information effectively, then your ability to interpret and discover new and fascinating ideas decreases.

Meditation provides the path to untainted creativity. When you’re aware of your thoughts, and are able to have an honest conversation with yourself, ideas will flow much easier.

However, to be successful, meditation needs to become a habit.

How does that happen?

  1. Time.

Make time to meditate, whether that’s going to meditation classes, retreats, listening to an instructive meditation disc, or spending ten minutes, or half an hour, three days a week on your own.

  1. Patience and forgiveness.

It takes time to learn how to meditate, and each person is different. What meditation means to one individual may be very different than what it means to another.

Forgive yourself if you’re unsuccessful when you start meditating. Forgive yourself if you miss a day or two of meditation, or if you hit a rough patch and find you’re unable to internally explore.

By forgiving yourself for your slip-ups, you’re allowing yourself to begin anew the next day. This stops you from stifling your creativity.

You’ll discover that after meditating, you’ll have a calmness in your mind. This is a fantastic time to write. You can focus on your current story or you can free write. Just get the ideas down before the outside world begins to clutter up your brain.

Over time, you’ll find that you carry that internal calmness with you. You’ll process information faster and more efficiently. You’ll be able to interpret both outer and inner stimuli. More ideas, as well as more connections to other discoveries, will come to you.

What do you think about writing and meditation?

(Photo courtesy of Angela Marie Henriette.)