I have to make my cupcakes…

…but I decided to write a little bit first. I am really no good at keeping up with my blog, but I do try.  I have been semi-retired for a week now and my days still go by so fast I hardly know what I’ve done. But, when I stop long enough to think about it, I have accomplished some things.

While I am not currently writing pages in my novel, I am thinking while I do other things.  I am happy to say I have completed an initial draft of my latest article. Now I am letting it sit, so I can go back and edit. I have also gotten my husband onto some social media and am working to create a blog for him.  Then there’s catching up with friends and family.  Been a long time since I sat down and had a cup of tea with my neighbor or lunch with my good friend who lives in Kapahi.

So, while it’s Valentine’s Day and I am not writing about love and flowers, we are going to a party tonight.  So I just thought I’d exercise my writing muscle and do a quick blog post before I go into the kitchen and make my cupcakes!

By the way… HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!

-AH

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Thoughts on Web Presence

I read a lot during the holidays — mostly catching up on my WD (Writer’s Digest) magazines.  Lo & behold, WD has an entire issue devoted to web presence! Wow, who knew authors were not only expected to write stories, poems, novels, articles, etc., but also blogs and tweets and Facebook status updates. Oh my!  Well, needless to say, I am always inspired by the articles I read in WD, so I took them to heart the next morning and made a plan for both my writing and real estate blogs, as well as my Twitter and Facebook accounts. 

So I am now working…or so I think.  As most of us know, we writers can certainly spend a lot of time procrastinating.  In fact, I have discovered there are several new ways to procrastinate now:  by tweeting, updating, and blogging incessantly;  catching up on other people’s tweets, status updates, and blogs; and commenting on said tweets, status updates, and blogs.  Oh my!  I probably have always known this, but when I was online yesterday, preparing to update my real estate blog (http://kauaiparadisehomes.wordpress.com) I realized that much of my time was actually spent finding and reading other blogs and tweets and status updates…OH MY!!!  I suddenly realized that I was, in fact, procrastinating by doing all this “catching up.”  Of course, there is the obligatory reading and commenting if you want to be read and commented upon, but really, several hours? I don’t think so!

So, my thoughts about all this blogging, tweeting, and status updating are a little mottled.  While I think blogging is a great way to exercise your writing skills and speak to others, I have mixed feelings about tweeting and status updating.  So many people tweet and update continuously about nothing all day.  I recommend setting your blog to update Twitter and Facebook every time you blog.  Then you can visit Twitter and Facebook at the end of your day when you have completed your pages or whatever your daily discipline for writing is.  Unless you can read and respond mindlessly all day as you write your own works.  I am not one to multitask in that way — of course, that topic will be saved for another blog.

Blog on, people…and remember to reserve some time for the business of writing! Happy New Year!!

Using Writing as Meditation

The word “meditation” often conjures up a person in robes sitting in a cross-legged position, eyes closed, their hands resting on their knees, and chanting, “Oooooommmmm.”  This may be true for many “traditional” forms of meditation; however, there are also many different ways to meditate.  

Generally, meditation is a means to reach your inner realm and create a sense of peace.  A meditation practice allows you to experience aspects of your life without attaching your emotions to them.  In this way, you heal yourself in order to create peace and connect with your Higher Self or the Divine.  

Because meditation requires calm and intent focus, writing most certainly serves this purpose.  The act of writing helps the mind focus on a singular thread, much like a chant or mantra.   Even in those moments when you think you have nothing to say, putting the pen on the paper generates a thought, which leads to another, then another; and before you know it, you have a paragraph.  Just the simple activity of writing and watching the pen leave ink on the page is satisfying.

Joseph Camosy of  http://www.zenpens.com writes that meditative writing is slower and more deliberate than regular writing, “with awareness of the act.”  Concentration is on the words, letters, and the strokes of the pen.  With this in mind, Shunyata (http://creationmeditation.com/) tells me that she started writing because she wanted to be a professional writer.  After a while, she began to appreciate…

…the simple act of writing out my thoughts and feelings as I experienced them in the moment. Over time, writing became a way to explore and be curious about my inner world. Rarely was my daily writing an attempt to produce something. I simply enjoyed giving the notebook the wide, open space of myself. Like meditation, writing became an experience of tending to the present moment. I experienced connection and deep inward appreciation for following the energy inside, whether it was fear, love, shame, pride, anger, frustration, or joy.  So, writing became an experience of bringing my attention inward and eventually, a practice of writing meditation developed – the simple exercise of observing and writing out the inner experience moment by moment.

Some of the different ways to meditate through writing are:

  • Journaling – keeping a record of your feelings and responses to events that occur in your daily life.
  • Automatic (Stream of Consciousness) – just putting words to the page and letting your thoughts flow without editing or focusing on the thoughts themselves.  This can be a very powerful way to get to your true feelings about any number of incidents in your life.
  • Creative – writing a story can help you put perspective to your experiences and find out how you as a person can respond to those experiences.  It can also help you define your overall views and your spirituality.
  • Poetry – often a simple haiku or quatrain can express your feelings or thoughts about a topic or event in your life.  Like creative writing, you can explore your spirituality and your personal development.

These forms of writing are often meditative because they help emotions and issues come to the surface.  Leaving the emotions on paper allows the writer to step back and look at them in a more objective manner, much like Shunyata’s experience. 

Another form of meditative writing is letter-writing.  I don’t mean letters you write to your friends or loved ones, but the ones you write to your Self, or to your Divine Power.  These letters are similar to written prayers about things you want to happen or to effect a change (such as personal or spiritual growth).    

Meditative writing can be a prelude to other creative meditation, such as art and dance, as it did for Sunyata.  She says, “…with creativity I feel completely alive and connected to life energy.”  As a truly personal form of meditation, it can open up a world of possibilities you had not considered before.  Because writing meditation is a different form of mental and physical engagement, you can be more in tune with your own creativity and your true Self.  Shunyata puts it in a particularly beautiful way.  She says for her, “Whatever is alive in you comes out and it’s a great experience in bypassing mental thinking and simply giving full expression to whatever passing through you in the moment.” 

Many people who practice writing as meditation also practice other forms, such as chanting, pranayama, etc.  However, not all meditators of traditional forms practice creative forms of meditation.  For those of us who do, writing (or painting, drawing, dancing, etc.) meditation becomes a more personal path leading to a truer sense of Self.

Interview Questions for an Article

Aloha,

I am writing an article about forms of meditation.  I have posted my interview questions below.  I am inviting anyone with a serious practice to respond. 

1)      Have you ever used writing as a form of meditation?

2)      If so, what type (e.g.: journaling, automatic, etc.)?

3)      Do you use any other creative activities as meditation (e.g., painting, drawing, etc.)?

4)      Briefly describe what you experience during your practice.

5)      Do you use any traditional forms of meditation (e.g. chanting or pranayama)?

6)      If you use more traditional forms of meditation as well, what differences do you notice in how you feel after practice?

Please place your responses in the comment section…

Accepting Guidance

When something is as personal to you as your writing, it is difficult to share with others.  Especially when you know they will offer their advice.  We writers walk a thin line between wanting to share our work with an audience and being willing to accept their thoughts and feelings about it. 

It is with this trepidation that I decided to attend a writers’ workshop.  In retrospect, it was very difficult to take this crucial step.  After all, you are bringing in your work and sharing it with strangers, something you weren’t sure you ever wanted to do, really.  I mean, sure, publication is always the hope, but often it is just that, a hope.  And we all say that is the goal.  To actually go through with submitting your manuscript to publishers, however, is a formidable task.  You have to be willing to suffer rejection.  If your work is accepted, you have to learn to work with an editor and heaven knows what else!  It’s all very tiring to think about.

I have been very fortunate in finding the workshop I am attending.   I am receiving some wonderful insights and recommendations.  It is interesting to find out how others interpret what you have written. I have re-learned that I cannot possibly know what others see in my work, I have to share it.  I have also realized that sharing invites validation.  You are a writer and you are talented.  Let those mental demons that say you have no business writing fall to the wayside and accept yourself as a writer!  

Yes, attending a writers’ workshop means you have to be willing to accept guidance.  However, the bottom line is that sharing with fellow writers can be a very rewarding experience and well worth the effort it takes to step into that first session.