What I love about deep writing is it requires you to be still. It requires you to cultivate stillness in your life, so you have access to your stories, even the ones you’ve forgotten long ago.
We all have stories to tell, and they are there, within us, stored in our bodies waiting to be expressed.
My best writing comes when I am in “flow.” For me, flow comes from practicing stillness.
Deep writing comes easily for me when my phone is firmly parked in another room, my desk is clear of clutter, no one is home, and the only noise is ambient — like the humming of the dishwasher or the distant sound of birds chirping.
I’m at my best as a writer when I am confident, and my confidence comes more readily when I’m grounded in stillness.
Mindfulness is the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
As writers, mindfulness may be our most substantial gift to call on.
When we are mindful, we carefully observe our thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad.
The very act of being aware — observant of our surroundings, aware of what is going on with a present mind — allows for us to later call upon these observations to deepen our work and to express our stories more fully.
For the last couple of weeks, I have been writing a lot and publishing here on Medium. To keep myself accountable, I made a public declaration to do so. It was a personal challenge to see if I could write and publish every day for 30 consecutive days.
The other day when I received an email from Grammarly with the subject line, “Someone’s been a busy bee!” it was a small victory and a positive nudge to keep going.
It gave me the confidence to keep writing as much as I have been, or more, after these 30 days are complete.
Keep writing. Keep getting better. Keep challenging myself to grow.
In a very short time, I have learned more about myself as a writer than I thought I would.
It takes vulnerability and courage and confidence to write and share your work. Vulnerability requires great courage, and you can’t do anything brave without it.
I learned my writing flows when I’m quiet, and my ego is calm, when I’m not holding on but letting go, and when I’m able to manage my mind with stillness and leave worry and fear behind. This presence of mind allows me to access the part of me where my stories reside and gives me the confidence to tell them.
I’m so emotional all the time.
After the first week of publishing on Medium, I was emotional and raw.
I assumed the roller-coaster of emotion was due to dropping my daughter off at camp, located in another state.
Yes, I missed her.
Then it occurred to me; the real reason was far less apparent, my emotional tenderness was because I had been writing regularly and accessing memories I had long suppressed, diving into them while remaining present and solid in places that normally would scare me.
But I stayed with them anyway and wrote on.
We all have stories to tell, and they will remain with us until we choose to express them onto the page.
Through writing, we discover our thoughts and our values.
Our bodies hold all of our experiences until we release them.
Expressing them through writing is the best way to understand our experiences and let them go. Telling my story was the reason for my recent emotional tenderness; emotionally triggered and exhausted from the expression of my stored experiences.
“Part of what can be frightening about deep writing is that it forces us to dive into those areas of our beings that we have consciously or unconsciously shut ourselves off from. It demands of us to move deeper inside and face what we have not wanted to look at.” — Laraine Herring
This level of conscious awareness that is required to be still and process your thoughts onto a page is the very definition of mindfulness.
When we have those days when our writing pours out of us, those days when you can’t stop the process, and an hour of writing flies by which felt like ten minutes, that’s when you are practicing in a state of flow: you and your writing merge. You are in a deeply present state, where all your good stuff resides with the ability to access it.
An hour of deep writing gives you the same feeling a meditation class will, a sense of calm, and peace of mind.
Every writer has a specific toolbox that works for them, but whether you realize it or not, if you are a writer, you are practicing mindfulness.