How’s that for a bold title. And now we only have 120 words left!
Quickly: meditation for writers involves following the breath. You follow the breath, you settle into concentration, you release the ego, you open up to your inner prompter spooling out the words into your mind just as you become conscious of them.
Good? So the secret to meditation is your posture, specifically one thing: opening your bottom belly. Find the place two inches below your navel which is the lowest your breath goes. Below your chest where you hyperventilate or fight on Facebook, below your upper belly where you wax poetic but are still somewhat on the defensive.
Find the bottom belly. Stay with it. And now write what comes to you in the order in which it comes to you.
That’s my new motto, my new favorite mantra. That’s the goal on any given day. Not transforming the entire world in one fell swoop, or getting on the cover of Time Magazine, just shining a little light in my corner of the world. If I do that, I am done for the day.
It has long been my belief that earth is kind of like middle school. We have some evolved souls floating around, the 8th graders (at least that’s how they do it in our town). We have some newbie 5th graders who will believe just about anything. But taken as a whole, this planet is kind of a juvenile mess (myself included, of course.)
If I can reach for a thousand words that come from a real/er place, that help me pass some of my studies, and maybe also inspire others, I’m happy. For today.
There are always five reasons to write a book. And to help the world may be on the list. But chances are it isn’t number one.
I know one author for whom helping the world really is number one on his list. For the rest of us mixed-up mortals, I think contemplating our five reasons is a healthy exercise.
Here are my five reasons for writing the book I just released, Finish Your Book in Three Drafts: How to Write a Book, Revise a Book, and Complete a Book While You Still Love It. Forgive me if any of these sound immodest or crazy. I feel comfortable opening myself up to you for some reason:
Because there are writers out there who really care about what I have to say. (They told me. They capitalized WE CARE.)
Marketing my business. (Need some help?)
Exercising my genius. (With a little ‘g’ – don’t get excited. We all have one, substitute ‘higher self’ or ‘voice’ here.)
To have fun. (Finally.)
Because it belongs to the grand unfolding plan of my life. (Now how do you know that?)
What are your five reasons for writing the book you are writing now? Not what are the five reasons you’re not writing your book right now, that’s a different blog. And not five bad ones either. “So my parents will finally understand,” and “as a way of escaping my present life” are two that I had to grow out of, for example.
I asked my friend Windy about her five and she gave some great ones: it gave her an excuse to travel, she wanted to see if she could do it, and my favorite one: “I want to follow the idea that was sparked that day at the museum.”
Write them down and keep them close for the times when you lose your momentum. You don’t need all five for every writing session – one will do. I just think it’s important to have some idea why you’re doing what you’re doing. I guess that goes for life in general. It can be useful in case you encounter obstacles, rejection, or misunderstanding. Why am I doing this again?
Five good ones total so you’ll know for sure – in this very subjective, relative endeavor – whether what you’ve done is as good as it gets.