Clearing The Mind
In order to get into the zone for writing, it is useful to clear our minds of ‘head-chatter’. This is mind activity made up of the remnants of whatever day to day activities we’ve been involved in prior to moving into our writing time.
Thoughts continually come and go, and vie for top position in our minds. Attached to these thoughts are emotions, which distract us from our task unless we still them. Willing them away is often not enough to dislodge them, so we need to clear them out – at least for the duration of our writing session.
There are various mind-clearing techniques, but for now the following simple exercise will give you a starting point to work with until my next post.
- Sit quietly and consider your day so far. What have you been doing? Has it been a pleasant morning/day? Have you had issues to deal with? Have you been feeling overloaded? Have you been relaxing?
- Move backwards to yesterday and ask yourself similar questions and any others that come to mind. Now, the day before yesterday, the last week… and so on, until you start to pass from what is close to the surface of your mind to what you have to dredge up. (At this point you’re going into memories and not thoughts or images currently bouncing around your mind.)
- Write a list of as many of the thoughts, feelings, images, conversations and issues that rush from you in light of your most recent experiences.
- When you think the list is exhaustive, close your eyes and allow more thoughts or feelings to surface. Add these to your list.
- Repeat this last step until your mind is clear of current/recent events. These have now been set aside for another time or have lost their immediate importance.
- At this point you’re ready to move into your writing zone. Connect with your computer or notebook and delve into your writing session.
This exercise is similar to one I use when I can’t sleep at night because all the tasks I have for the following day invade my mind and push to be remembered. In this case, I write a list of everything I can think of that needs to be done. Then I prioritise them and put the list where I’ll see it in the morning.
This process takes the thoughts/worry about the tasks out of my brain and onto the paper. It also underlines the fact that I can’t do anything more towards them until morning – thus freeing me to sleep.