If you are a writer then you know that writer’s block is real.
There is nothing like a blinking cursor on a computer screen to act as a humbling reminder of one’s limitations. Like many of us suffering from it, little bits of inspiration surround me, like bees hovering around flowers, but not actually close enough to pollinate my mind with anything palpable.
Unfortunately, there is no magic switch or a fairy whispering in my ear and inspiration magically appears. So here now are three yogic philosophies I am applying to beating writers block. These are techniques I have learned from a decade of asana practice and teaching. As a committed lifelong student of yoga I, myself, am still learning, but what knowledge I have accumulated thus far is of no value if I cannot share it with my fellow writers.
This post is dedicated to anyone who has hit the proverbial wall. I’ve been there too and everything here has helped me break through it.
Through the practice of yoga, I have learned that much of what I experience is not real and is only a projection of my mind. It’s like watching a movie and thinking it is real, but it’s only the projector’s images on a blank screen.
Writer’s block is like that!
It’s important to remember that when experiencing something good (producing an awesome blog post) or bad (said blinking cursor) it is whatever I choose to make of it. I have found that keeping an honest perspective to what is happening around me (and not viewing it as happening to me) allows me to see situations as is and nothing more. Yes, I cannot write on command, but no, this is not the devastation my mind wants me to see it as.
Our minds are excellent at filling in blank spaces but what we’re actually really doing is making shit up. If you don’t believe that, take it from a great writer, William Shakespeare, wrote in Hamlet, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
Learning the art non attachment was a game changer as it enabled me to see how much stuff took up space in my life. A temporarily hip injury two years ago revealed my attachment to my yoga practice as once easy poses eluded me. At that time I was forced to evaluate what was truly important in my yoga practice and through non attachment I learned that a full expression of a pose wasn’t the ultimate goal in yoga; having my practice, albeit at reduced capacity, was.
Writing is like this as well.
I have found that practicing non attachment to my process and even the initial idea has opened my mind to new sources of creativity. When I sat down to write this article I was intending to write about beating the afternoon slump yogi style (i.e. without caffeine). That didn’t happen but this did. Instead of being attached to a concept and forcing it, I let my unattached mind shape this article.
As writers, we all have something unique and special to say and our words are designed to inspire. Let that be the guide and the rest will fall into place.
After resisting meditation for some time, I recently accepted it and now embrace it. Meditation has the power to take something mundane, such as sitting in rush hour traffic and transforms it into a special time of reflection. No longer are my thoughts from the day collected and relegated to haunting me at night as I attempt to fall asleep. Instead, as I drive home, I turn the radio off and turn my mind on. Meditating promotes my thoughts to a position of primary importance so that I can address whatever I am thinking about, and move on.
Similarly, writers block is the ultimate meditation because it is an involuntary quieting of the mind.
So, I accept it. In this meditation there is no keyboard clicking to fill the void as I settle into the quietness. I explore what I can learn from my writers block. I ask myself:
1) Why can I not write now?
2) Is this reaction to something external?
3) Is this resistance to the topic at hand?
These are just examples of my internal detective skills and I encourage you to ask yourself questions that will help you understand why your creative process is at a standstill. Once you identify the cause (which may take a few minutes, hours, or days) you can successful move past it. Insight is always revealed in meditation and answers are more abundant and plentiful than even Google can provide.
And if you start to feel “frustrated” by the length of time you’re waiting for enlightenment, refer to “whatever happens, inside I feel the same,” above.
Like onions, we are multi-layered.
As yogis we have multiple tools to help us peel back the layers and reveal our true self. Understanding how we filter the world around us is the first step to peeling back the most external layer to our being. Practicing non attachment enables us to be unencumbered on our path of internal exploration and ultimately it is meditation that reveals our core.
So use these tools to peel away the layer of writers block and reveal the words you mean to say!
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Assistant Editor: Gabriela Magana/Editor: Bryonie Wise