Mindfulness and Creativity: writing on schedule

Apologies for being away for so long. It’s been a busy week in work and everything got on top of me. Unfortunately I’ve also been neglecting my meditations and most of my writing exercises. The one I have kept up with is the one I’m going to speak about now.

Brande calls “writing on schedule” and it begins with taking a moment to yourself in the morning and going over the day ahead of you. You’ll more than likely know what’s going to happen, such as work, college, food shopping, etc. The point of this is to map out the times of the day you will have to yourself, preferably fifteen minutes at least. These fifteen minutes are to spent writing. The only rule of this is that you MUST write in the time timeframe you have allocated to yourself. A “debt of honor”, according to Brande. You can’t make any excuses as to why you didn’t write in the time you decided upon, even if you have to ditch your friends to do so. You can write anything, whether it makes sense or not. It can be babble, it doesn’t matter as long as you give yourself time to do it.

I’ve become quite good at sticking with this exercise. Each day I allocate the fifteen minutes and so far I have stuck to it. Brande suggests not writing at the same time every day, but this is a bit tricky for me. Lately I have always written at 1.00pm because it is the beginning of my lunch hour. Weekends are a little more flexible. I try not to write babble because I’m so desperate to write stories even if there is absolutely nothing in my head. Up until yesterday I wrote excerpts of a story I’ve been working on for years. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve rewritten it. I have a folder dedicated to First Drafts and it is overflowing! Yesterday, however, I decided to try something new and wrote an entirely different story, none of which I had any first drafts of.

What is the purpose of this exercise, you may ask? According to Brande, there is a “deep inner resistance to writing”, the unconscious doesn’t like to be told when to write, rather it prefers to choose its own timings. Essentially, you are forcing the unconscious out of its laziness and to stop it offering you loopholes, which will cause you to skip your set time or to go a few minutes over. Confused? I’ll admit I was a little but the more I do it the better I feel. I actually look forward to these fifteen minutes. At work it’s not usually possible to keep writing for longer, but on weekends I have found myself writing a little bit more.

Brande ends this chapter with a harsh statement that caught me quite off-guard and put fear into me, which I’m not sure was her intention or not.

“If you fail repeatedly at this exercise, give up writing. Your resistance is actually greater than your desire to write, and you may as well find some other outlet for your energy early as late.”

Looking at it now, it makes complete sense. What scared me was the idea that my resistance would have such power as to overcome my motivation to write that I would in fact have to give up writing. Maybe this is her way of scaring you into writing. Who knows? What I do know is that I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet.

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