Quieting the storm: Meditation and headspace in writing

After three interesting months, I'm back to the blog. 

I'd like to announce some changes. The first is we'll be moving over to Sunday for the blog publication date. The Patreon-only posts will come on Mondays. The song lyric references will also go away in order to make the content of the posts easier to search for. One of my planned projects for this site will be to come up with a proper indexing for the last year's worth of posts, much like the index I have for the reference section

Over the next few weeks I will also be revisiting some old topics so that new readers don't have to play a guessing game as to what the hell I'm talking about in a particular post.

I'll be keeping the music, though, because I love music and I think every post should have that musical element to it.

So let's begin with the idea of quieting the raging storm.

I've been quite open about my struggles with ADD and how I've managed to still be successful while having it. I also recently came across a fantastic TEDx talk on the subject that I'll reflect more on in a later post. 

The reason why I bring up ADD is to segue into something I've started doing recently: meditation.

Now, if you're like I was about the subject, you'd be inclined to laugh or roll your eyes. I never saw the value in it; and while I could sit in one place for a long period of time, the idea that I would be able to quiet all these racing thoughts in my head appeared preposterous. Then I had a few conversations with a friend of mine. About a month or so ago he told our group of friends that he had started meditating. I kind of looked at the screen with the chat message weird because my friend's the furthest thing from a meditation type kind of guy. A few weeks later, he brought it up again and I thought, alright, let's look into it. I mean, what do I lose? A few minutes of not staring at a computer screen?

So I looked up some guided meditations, and you know what? They've helped!

I think the key thing for me was coming to the realization that I didn't have to clear my mind entirely. I could let thoughts kick in and then just let them float away. One of the guided meditations brought up that particular point and it's helped me along.

It's given me, weirdly, more energy. I say weirdly because I didn't expect it. I mean, I'm 98.5% positive there's a whole host of studies available that can back this up, but just experiencing it was the good kind of baffling. I've since started incorporating non-guided meditations in addition to the guided ones just for whenever I have some quiet time, like when I'm showering. 

Has it helped my writing? It hasn't, yet, but it's because I've been using that newfound energy to face other things I need to take care of first. I highly recommend it. I'm using an app called 'Insight Timer' and it's been the best. All the other ones you have to pay for.

So, back to the headspace.

I saw a really important comic the other day:

Now, happiness is an interesting concept. Like, I would prefer contentedness. You have to be in a good headspace in order to write. If you're tired, frustrated, burnt out, you're not going to write as well. Just like there are physical limits, there are also mental limits and that you can't realistically write past. 

It's okay to have them. Just keep the idea in the head and work it out in your mind.

There's never a perfect time to write, especially as adults. There's always something to do. But you can find a "good enough" time to just write, some time, an hour, that you can be like, alright, I'm going to write.  But it's not research. It's not brainstorming. It's writing. Ideally, you've done the brainstorming beforehand so when you actually sit down and write you're just writing. It's common sense, really, you're setting yourself up for success. 

In college, whenever I had a story assigned, the first thing I would do was bring up my template, file save as, slugname publication date, and in the event of a "this is going to be going on" story, I could draft a nut graph (32-50 words explaining the relevance of the story) and have that ready to go. So by the time I conducted my interviews and did my research, I didn't waste any time getting started. 

I try to do that with my writing. If I want to say, add a good transition or an ending in a story. My writing time will elapse and I won't get a chance to write until the day after. So I turn over the idea in my mind and expose its weaknesses, shore them up, address flaws, all that so when I write I'm just writing and not kicking myself over something I didn't see.

Song of the week: