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The Way of the Writer: Finding Your Zen

As a writer, I know all too well experiencing the stress and worries along the path of the writer's journey. There are times that I wish I could find a shortcut or fast forward to the bits of life where I really want to be in my writing career. Yet, there is a deep knowing that, it is during the process -  in the moment of this journey that I also enjoy and end up reminding myself to just slow down and take it day by day. It is not a race. There is no deadline that I need to beat. What I really need to beat are all the invading thoughts that are not worth my time during this journey.

I step back and question my motives for writing. Why do I write? Why do I put so much of my time and effort with hardly there being much reward or much to show. I have spent nearly five years of just studying the craft of writing. Taking numerous of courses, workshops, seminars, and collected many writing references along the way, I mean, it has pretty much been my personal obsession of obtaining all there is to know to ripen my writer's skills. I have taken the time and effort to realize where are my strengths and weaknesses and do everything I can to strengthen those areas that need it.

Now days, I am in the writing zone, if you will. I can't stop writing. I find myself wanting to write every single day. I'm even surprised because while I was in the phase of studying, I had found it hard to write as often, even though I have always had this passion, I didn't feel I was yet ready to write. At the same time, it felt as though I was holding much of my thoughts back. Now, I have this obsession to write all the time and if I don't, it irks me like a writer's itch that needs to be scratched.

I have been able to tap into what I feel is the writer's zone, but this post is not entirely about tapping into that zone. That is for another post. I really wanted to focus on, first, how a writer should harness their ability to find the writer's zen. When you find your writer's zen, you can find yourself in the zone more often. I think of the writer's zen similar to what you find in martial arts, you don't just jump into black belt from white. Everyone goes at different paces. You practice and learn to meditate. Learn the basics technique of stances and finding balance. In a lot of ways, the writer's zen can be harnessed similarly.

Finding the writer's zen is crucial. With all the chaos that we face each day. Busy life. Whether it be work, family life, personal road blocks - everyday has its own challenges and tasks. When you want to write or find the time writing, a lot of us encounter thoughts that can create detours and blocks in the road during our journey of being a writer. A lot of them can cause setbacks.

First of all, as writers we should know that writing is an action. But at the same time, writing cannot be forced. Lets pretend you are jogging down the writer's path. Picture yourself actually jogging. Now, picture yourself walking and then come to a pause. Imagine you are on a hiking trail on a sunny day. The cool breeze brushing up against your skin and the smell of wildflowers and birds chirping...relax.

Find the time to relax. The writer's path isn't about the speed but about the pace and timing and finding moments in life to give yourself opportunities to engage in the very things that relax you. And take the time to address all the thoughts that may consume your mind in how you feel as a writer.

Imagine the mind as a garden. If you are going to plant seeds that will produce the best quality, you don't want any weeds around or pests. Negative thoughts are those very things and are not helpful. You know the ones. The thoughts that tell you all the reasons why this is so hard or the what-ifs. Stop listening to those thoughts and refocus your mind on the passion that is there.

I get a lot of joy from writing. It feels so good. And like many other areas in life, whether it be learning to draw or learning to play a musical instrument, we all start from somewhere to begin. We go through all the stages before we master a skill. It takes time. Be patient with yourself and be realistic. Do not set high expectations on yourself that are so unrealistic that no one could even achieve. Approaching a writing goals, you must have patience and determination. 

Any time you encounter any negative thoughts, no matter where it is coming from, even ones that may be coming from people you know or even people you don't know - do not put your energy and focus on such thoughts. Know when to let go and what thoughts to hold on to. Does it serve any purpose towards your writing goals? No? Bye-bye. It is as easy as that as long as you can have enough awareness and recognize that you have control over which thoughts you will allow to produce, maintain and grow.

One of my favorite quotes is:

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”--Gandhi

This is so true. So soon as any negative thoughts surfaces or enters your mind, learn to quiet those thoughts by turning them off and replace them with positive thoughts. Learning this a skill its self. Ignore those thoughts. They do nothing except aid in becoming part of the writer's block.

So finding your writer's zen is learning to quiet the mind. Find a quiet place that relaxes you. Find time during each day to have gratitude for life and for this moment. Find the time to listen to your heart and silent those negative thoughts. Concentrate on breathing in and out. Deep breathes. Be forgiving to yourself when you make writer mistakes. We all do them. But don't beat yourself up over them. Recognize them and learn from it and move on.

Finding the writer's zen is about slowing down, silencing negative thoughts that serve you no purpose in your writing goals and career, quiet your mind and zoning into your own inner self and peace. Who you are and listen to life around you. Remind yourself the joy you feel when you write and replace every negative thought with its exact opposite. 

Negative thought - "I'm not good at this."
Positive thought - "I am good at this."

Believe in yourself. If it takes some convincing, just know that everyone is at different stages. Do not compare yourself with others. You are where you are at and it is a process. We are our own barrier to how far we allow ourselves to go. Don't hold yourself back because of thoughts.

Thoughts can be either weeds or fruitful trees that we plant in the soil of our mind. What you choose to believe starts out as a tiny seed and what you put focus and energy on, like watering a plant, only aids in its growth. Pay attention to what you allow to seed in your mind. Regardless of how far along you are on the path of writing. Remember, the journey its self is important. It isn't about racing to the finish line. It is having presence each day, finding time to write, finding time to relax and clear the mind of any debilitating thoughts.

You can choose to go down the writer's path holding yourself back or you can choose to take it day by day and focus on positive thoughts that lead to actions that lead to results. Whack those negative thoughts before they start growing fully into becoming trees that bare no fruit of the which your dreams are not made of.

Stay the course and listen to your heart. Don't hold yourself back. Set realistic goals and enjoy the journey. Giver yourself permission to relax and write.


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