Writing is hard. It requires a unique balance of mind, heart, soul, time, resources, and bravery to write a book and work to get it published. That means not only do you have to write the dang book, but to be able to get your butt in the seat to write it. You have to nourish those different parts of yourself that you’re drawing on to extract the story within you and get it onto the page. If your emotions are in the driver’s seat, your head probably won’t be in the right place to polish your novel. If your head is full of to-dos and should-have-dones, you won’t have the focus you need to do the work. And if your body is exhausted from sleepless nights, you won’t have the energy to dig deep into that creative well from which stories spring. Meditation is a great tool for nourishing your mind, heart, and soul! And with those three essential writing ingredients looked after, you’ll find it easier to create time, find the resources, and be brave. Here are five meditations that you can tap into when the writing train has gone off the tracks.
1. For When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed by Life
Sometimes the problem isn’t your writing; it’s everything else going on in your life. The mind can be a crowded place even on the best of days! But when you’re stressed, the swirl of thoughts and feelings can be a tidal wave reaching up to drown you. Your writing goals (like mine) might be a victim of this overwhelm because, unless you’re a full-time writer, it’s a “you” thing that can be cut without impacting anybody else.
And yes, sometimes simplifying your to-do list is needed. But other times, you need to declutter your mind (not your schedule) to help you see the time and space you do have for writing. That’s why meditation can be a great pre-writing ritual! Even a 13-minute meditation like this one can help clear the way for a productive, easeful writing session.
2. For When You Want to Keep Your Writing Sprints Interesting
Writing sprints are a great tool you can use to get over a resistance toward writing. For me personally, after a long day on my computer, often the last thing I want to do is get back on the computer and restart my angry typing. But if I can tell myself, “just do twenty minutes and then you can go read,” I’m much more likely to get to it. And then once I start, I might find my groove. And when I find my groove, I’ll keep going!
There are tons of musical meditations you can use that are in increments of ten minutes. Simply hit play and write until the music stops. Here’s one of my favorites! It’s upbeat and has no words, so it is fun without being distracting.
3. For When You Need a Power Nap Before You Write
Rest is a key ingredient to creativity! But if you’re like me and wake up actually grumpier and more tired after a nap, you probably avoid siestas altogether and just accept tiredness as a part of life or skip writing and go to bed early.
An alternative you could try is Yoga Nidra. Don’t worry, this won’t require you to bend into a pretzel or stand in tree pose. Yoga Nidra is actually “yogic sleep”. It resets your nervous system through a set of body scans and other techniques that put your body into a state of rest and digest…without you actually needing to go to sleep. It’s not meditation, but has similar benefits.
So if you have time (most Yoga Nidra sessions, like this one I love, are 20+ minutes), give it a try! You’ll feel both invigorated and at peace. That’s a great state from which to write. Bonus tip: there are tons of Yoga Nidra’s you can do before bed to help you fall asleep faster, too! That might set you up for more energy to write the next day.
4. For When You’re Stuck in A Plot Hole or Other Writing Mishap
Sometimes you write yourself into a hole that you just don’t know how to dig yourself out of. It might be that you’re bored by your own book, changed your mind about a subplot or character too many times and don’t know what to do next, or don’t know how to get your character from point A to point B.
Visualization exercises can be a great way to get your mind processing ideas and information in a different way. Here’s a “treasure hunting” visualization that I enjoy. It really stimulates all your different senses as you move through a magical cave and into a room with thousands of little treasure chests, each containing a message for you! Perhaps one of them holds the key to your present writing conundrum?
5. For When Rejection Stops You In Your Tracks
Rejection is one of those more unfortunate ingredients in the writing process. But if you’re bravely putting yourself out there, sooner or later, you’re gonna get rejected. It may be from a beta reader who thinks your most beloved character is two-dimensional, it may be from a your dream agent, it may be from a publishing house, or it might be that first 1-star Goodreads review you read even though you know you shouldn’t have.
Rejection is a reality of the process. But knowing that intellectually and dealing with it emotionally are two different things! Meditation can be one tool in your toolkit for sorting through the sadness (or anger) and finding the motivation to carry on despite it. Here is one meditation that might help you press pause on your emotions instead of letting them swallow you whole.
Ashley Christiano is a fantasy writer, experienced tarot reader, and professional astrologer based on Los Angeles, CA. As The Novel Mystic, she combines the power of astrology, tarot, and creative writing to empower women, educate the astro-curious, and inspire her own storytelling. You can find her on her website or follow her on Twitter to learn more or get your own reading.