ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

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Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Insecure Writers Support Group Post for June--Mindfulness

Hello everyone!

Here we are again for IWSG, thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh and the team for the month.

A buzz word at the moment appears to be 'mindfulness' and it got me thinking about how it relates to writing.


Speaking of writing, our lovely Hilary Melton-Butcher (who is taking a blog break) dubbed me the 'cafe writer' and I decided to run with it on my new blog header. Why? Well, I do most of my most productive writing in a cafe in West End here in Brisbane. It is an ancient (for Australia) building with 6 areas where you can ramble. I have a favourite table in the back amongst the palm trees and can write my heart out for hours.

Now...mindfulness. It resonates with me as I've always been a 'stop and smell the roses' type of gal. You never know, next time you pass by they may have drooped or been dead-headed or ripped out to make way for a road.

Mindfulness is about living in the moment, not letting your brain run ahead to the next thing and the next instead of enjoying what you're doing at the time. For example:

When you're taking a shower or bath, instead of planning your day, or running over the events of the day, take time to relish the feel of the gorgeous soft water flowing over your body and being thankful you live in a country that has water, and hot water at that. Inhale the scents of the shampoo, conditioner, bath gel etc. Enjoy the experience. Let your mind declutter and rejuvenate.

Now what does mindfulness have to do with writing? Well, instead of furiously tapping that keyboard or scratching that pen across the page, thinking 'when will I ever get this done?', 'I hate this story!', 'Will my editor approve these changes?', 'Will the public want to buy my book?', relish the time to write. Be thankful that you have the time, the motivation, the creativity. Allow your brain to create without being short circuited by superfluous thoughts.


Maybe if we let our creativity flow unhindered, maybe if we practise mindfulness, our writing will shine even brighter and all those other questions that demonstrate our insecurity will be banished (for a moment, anyway).


  • What do you think? Do you practise mindfulness in your life? In your writing? Tell us about it.
  • Thanks for coming by. Click here to go to other posts for IWSG.
  • May your month be sweetened by the fragrance of roses. 




53 comments:

  1. Hi, Denise, mindfulness is so important, isn't it. I was immediately drawn in by your post title. It's a great word and something we each need to strive for. So many people go through their lives without experiencing the now moment. For writers, it's vital, or we miss all those juicy tidbits, right? :-)

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  2. Mindfulness in writing would certainly help.
    Although when I take a shower in the morning, absolutely nothing is going through my head.
    Cafe Writer - that suits you well.

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  3. Lovely post! I definitely need to be more mindful in the things I do and not always stress or overthink things. I need to live in the moment and enjoy what I'm doing now. Thanks for the reminder!

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  4. I like to enjoy the moments too. I just got back from a local garden where I sat and watched a bee go from flower to flower. It's so relaxing and revitalizing.

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  5. Mindfulness is an Eastern concept, I first came across it through learning T'ai Chi. I try to practice it all the time, but the concept of washing dishes and being in the moment with washing dishes, tends to elude me.

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  6. You're such a better person than I am! People really ought to take more time to "smell the roses." I'll have to try harder to find those roses. As for not multi-tasking when in the shower ... what's a shower? lol

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  7. I definitely need to smell the roses a little more than I do. My brain races ahead all the time. I like the sound of your writing space.

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  8. I am working on this in my life, especially with eating

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  9. I remind myself to enjoy the moment all the time. It's so easy to always be thinking ahead. And most of the stress I put on myself.

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  10. While my mind is always in overdrive, being near water instantly calms and renews me. It’s more instinctual than conscious. When I’m stressed, I walk the few feet to the harbor to sit, chill, and suddenly I’m at peace, grateful for everything around me. I need to be more mindful, to bring some of the feeling I get while I’m near water into my daily routine. I may not always be fortunate enough to live where I live now.

    Love the new header, Denise!

    VR Barkowski

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    1. Sounds like you have the right idea

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  11. This reminds me of an assignment from my first writing class. The teacher had us keep journals of stuff like this--sounds, smells, sights, tastes, etc. It was to help us bring that stuff into our writing.
    I think that mindfulness is what makes you pay more attention to those details that make your writing come alive.

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    1. I'm sure mindfulness makes our writing more sensory.

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  12. Hemingway urged all writers to practice mindfulness ... to use the time in the doctor's office or the movie line or eating at a restaurant to study all the people around you ... to study how a woman gets out of a car, how a child walks with her toy, how the beautiful woman at the next table holds her head, laughs, and gazes back at you. (He wrote a great segment about this very thing in A MOVEABLE FEAST ... Also about the hawkish way Zelda treated her husband as he mused "hawks do not share.")

    Great piece of advice, Denise. Thanks for visiting my own post. :-)

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  13. Do I practice mindfulness in life or writing - I hope I do, in both. Some of my ideas come to me in the shower, or as you know, while I am making coffee :-D Writing poetry does make me live more fully in the moment, though applying the same lesson to chopping veggies can be a bit of a challenge.

    I like the description of your writing space - sounds laid-back and lovely, and I like Hilary's description - suits you. And I like the ongoing evolution of the blog headers too.

    Thanks for reading about the half-latte this morning :)

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    1. Thanks Nila. I'm sure it's hard to write poetry without mindfulness.

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  14. The Cafe Writer; I like it.

    I also enjoy the time I spend writing. When I have an idea, I don't like interruptions. You're right though, need to appreciate all aspects of life. Its good to slow down sometimes.

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    1. With the pace of life I think it's good to slow down.

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  15. I plan my day when I'm getting ready. I've always been that way and probably won't change, but when I'm writing, it's different. I self-publish, so I set my own deadlines, which helps. The only thoughts I let creep into my writing time besides creative ones are just enough imagined chides to keep myself from writing stuff that will get crucified in the reviews. LOL

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  16. My husband says I am very good at noticing the small things and stopping to notice the world around us. I need to apply that mindfulness more to my writing.

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  17. I have been trying to practice mindfulness during my 10 minute walk to work (some days better than others!) and I want to branch out and apply it other places - a shower is a great idea! But writing, wow, I wonder why that never occurred to me before. Right now I'm mindfully happy to have visited a blog that really spoke to me, thank you!

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    1. I'm sure you'll notice the difference in your writing Margo.

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  18. I see all when I want to, so mindfulness I have, but can turn it off and on lol

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  19. I may be taking the mindfulness to the extreme right now, but I am loving each moment of each day. I have a vase of roses I that I cut from my own rose bushes and they smell heavenly. I am truly blessed. Thank you for reminding me to apply it to my writing.

    Cafe Writer fits.

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    1. Even roses with an actual scent are becoming a thing of the past. Hang on to them! Nothing like that fragrance.

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  20. That's good advice. I should definitely practice some of that mindfulness, because it's definitely not my strong point now ;-)

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    1. I hope it makes a difference Vanessa.

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  21. What a wonderful word mindfulness, in what it implies. Why is it so difficult to achieve? Seems like we humans would latch onto this state as the happiest and most peaceful, yet it's unattainable for many of us.

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    1. I think it's something that takes a lot of work Karen.

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  22. Hm, sometimes I think all my brain is is superfluous thoughts :). Living in the moment sure does make writing easier.

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    1. We all struggle with that in this world of digital overload!

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  23. I agree it's important. It's not always easy, but always worth the effort it sometimes takes to get there.

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    1. I think it's worth the effort Carol.

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  24. Interesting that you do much of your writing in a cafe. I know an author who always writes in a place called Panera (coffee, sandwiches, etc). I don't have a set place, though I often write on my lunch break at school.

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    1. For me it's the best way to escape into my writing. Loved your amazing poem BTW!

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  25. It's easy to get distracted from the things we want to do by the secondary problems associated with them, it's an excellent point that it's important to remain focused on the original motivation.

    Good luck with your writing!

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    1. Thank you! I'll be by to visit you again soon.

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  26. What a great reminder, Denise. It's wonderful that you've found a place where you can write uninterrupted. Best wishes.

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    1. Yes it's wonderful, and no one calls me except my muse.

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  27. Hi Denise .. gosh thanks for the 'lovely' comment! And how wonderful you thought "cafe writer" was a good descriptive phrase for you and your blog .. it sounds as though it perfectly describes the setting and you - the author - penning away, but I suspect it's more like typing away ...

    Thanks so much for the very welcome comment to my very belated post ... I sort of couldn't get my act into gear ... and I'd forgotten about my title of blog sandwich update .. anyway - it worked and everyone is picking up the idea .. I've gone off to my Downland perch ... to dust all things!

    I'm having lots of interesting thoughts re your questions and my return .. now I just need to get 'working' and dusting ... I will be around .. cheers and I'll join you in that cafe ... happy writing .. Hilary

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    1. I wish you the happiest of times Hilary!

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  28. I think that Cafe Writer is the perfect tagline for you. It's trendy and matches the image conjured by that 'favourite table in the back amongst the palm trees' where you do lots of writing. Hilary nailed it.
    A great message about mindfulness and living in the moment. It sounds therapeutic.
    Thanks Denise.
    I have to admit that my brain is hyperactive and could with moments of mindfulness.

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    1. Sorry about the missing word.
      "... and could do with moments of mindfulness."

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    2. Thanks Michelle. It's not easy being mindful.

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  29. What a fantastic way to look at the world. I love this post and hopefully will remember it next time I am editing while at the same time wondering if I will ever get through this thing.

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  30. Oh, no. I'm always letting my mind run to the next thing on my list...

    Great description...Cafe Writer...for you and I agree!

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  31. What a prescient post! On the other side of the world, I made sure not to get distracted this past weekend to reach that goal of being able to say house and yard are in harmony. After a year's work, what a wonderful feeling, the harmony of both being balanced. Still stuff to do but these are leisurely projects, thankfully, for when we return from our Europe trip. Getting lost in Nature had an unexpected reward: a children's story could possibly come out of the experience (with a different name, of course). An illustrator and I are talking about working together. She's a Fine Arts LSU grad from my LA area who has a publisher friend who wants stories. Fingers and toes crossed this works out!

    On another note, last year I ordered eucalyptus oil for my spritzer that is absolutely fabulous. Turns out, it's from Australia. Called Nature's Oil. Very pure oil with THE most delightful scent so very pleased. Have a great week, Mate.

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    1. Yes, I know that oil Kittie. Fabulous, and so many uses.

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  32. Oh yes, I can picture you in that cafe tapping on your laptop!

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  33. Just me again...checking if I am missing out on anything with Paris in it :) hope your week is going well..

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