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10 Steps to Writing Mindfully for Your Blog

This guest post is by Sean Madden of Mindful Living Guide.

These past few months—in my summer and early autumn creative writing classes—I’ve not focused so much on the mindfulness aspect of my teachings. Perhaps this had to do with the energetic pace of summer, which only recently faded here in the South East of England. Just last week autumn seemed finally to arrive and with it the cozy, heartwarming smells of wood and coal smoke rising from the chimneys of local cottages. The end of our unseasonably warm Indian summer ushered in that back-to-school feeling of my childhood days growing up on the South Shore of Massachusetts.

And so it was just last week that I made explicit the intended theme of the six-week course which got underway in mid-September. That theme’s perhaps best conveyed by the course title, Write Your Way into Autumn. I had everyone spend about ten minutes in class writing a list of autumnal-inspired words, phrases and snippets of language. We then read aloud the words we each gathered.

Mindfulness

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This brief exercise promoted a feeling of turning within, of slowing down, of simply witnessing the world around and within us. And this brought that sense of presence, that magical spark, back into our shared time together.

This week, in both my Monday evening and Wednesday morning classes, we read from Deng Ming-Dao’s Everyday Tao, specifically the “Source” and “Return” entries of this book, which is chockablock with wisdom.  Here’s how Deng (last name) closes the former entry:

“If you want to know Tao at its most fundamental, go back to the source. If you do go back to the source of Tao, you will also find the source of all your questions.”

To help my writing students better understand what Deng means by source, we then read the “Return” entry which closes thus:

“Our essential nature, our innocent self, is always in us. Everyone has one, and we need only return to it in order to understand it. Just as the spiral eddies toward the center, we proceed from outer to inner to find the ultimate source.”

I then asked my students to write for ten to fifteen minutes on the following question: “What is our essence, our original nature, our innocent self?”  As with last week’s autumnal word hoard, this brought mindfulness back to center stage, and, again, the results were magical.

Here’s what one of my students, writer-animator Carl Sullivan, said about yesterday’s class:

“The last session for me had the most depth. To breathe into the now and find a moment of stillness before the pen starts moving gives you a chance to bypass the person who wants to be a writer, and to just write. Much as when I draw—I really don’t have an idea of what’s going to appear. To approach writing from a no-mind ‘now’ point lets the words be as free as a doodle. To doodle words in playful creativity with just a gentle expectancy, no pressure, just wondering what’s going to be revealed is as fun and free as drawing.”

What else is there to say, really?

Well, here’s what Carl wrote in response to the aforementioned question about our essence, our original nature, our innocent self, this final piece marking the end of our six weeks together:

inner smile purity
the Adventure of the Heart in child felt wonder,
joy springs dancing inside,
still as Now
mind at rest—being at peace,
real eyes to see
releasing tears of
remembering
cleansing the wounds
to be
held whole and happy
grateful and true
home again

10 Steps writing mindfully for your blog

  1. Find a still, quiet place within which to write.
  2. Before you begin writing, take a few minutes to ground yourself in the present moment by bringing a simple, uncomplicated awareness to the whole of your physical body.
  3. Simply observe what it feels like to inhabit your body, without mental comments or judgments.
  4. If you notice your mind wanders, that’s fine. Gently return your awareness to your body.
  5. When you feel centered, relaxed, and reconnected with your essence, slowly begin to move your fingers, toes, and limbs, and with a feather-light touch begin—with all your senses—to observe your surroundings while positioning yourself comfortably to begin writing.
  6. As you start writing, promote a sense of doing so with the whole of your being, with the whole of your physical body, rather than purely with the intellectual, wholly rational mind.
  7. Allow for writing to flow in imaginative, playful ways. Be curious, childlike.
  8. Try to maintain a general, global awareness of your body throughout the time you’re writing.
  9. Reawaken your mind, body and spirit by taking frequent breaks to stand, stretch and bring movement back into your body.
  10. When you’ve finished writing, gently take this mindful approach into the rest of your day.

As a Creative Writing & Mindful Living Guide, Sean M. Madden offers Writing, Literature & Mindful Living courses and workshops in the UK, and one-to-one guidance & mentoring worldwide. Sean invites readers to follow him on Twitter @SeanMMadden.

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Comments

  1. Veehcirra says:

    I just love how you are incorporating the heart/mind into the writing process…as I read this felt like I was drinking from a well of pure energizing water very inspirational. It’s hard to be so centered in everyday life, but when writing this can turn into a magical experience.

    Carl is so in touch with his inner self, he does write very beautifully.

    • Thank you, Veehcirra. I’ve just forwarded the article link to Carl so that he could read your comment for himself.

      And what a lovely note you’ve written. Love, too, that you bring ‘heart/mind’ together as you’ve done. It’s interesting to me that heart/mind was the same word in various ancient cultures which long ago knew something that many of us have never learned or have long ago forgotten.

      With warm regards,

      Sean

  2. Faizan says:

    I think finding a quiet place for writing is really necessary if you want to be done with your post as soon as possible.

  3. tushar says:

    nice precise article. Good intelligent writing is a must for a good blogging career. it is important you blog without distractions. that will get you good blog posts

  4. Muhammad says:

    It is very difficult for me to find quite place to write but of course this matters a lot when writing quality content. Other steps are also much difficult to follow practically but worth a lot.

  5. Well thought and nicely written article… The ten point guideline has summarily made the article much more useful. It is indeed necessary to be in a very mindful state to be able to write blog posts that have some substance.

    Meditation is one way that can be of some help without having to divert the mind and stretching etc. for keeping the flow of fresh ideas continued. Mediation gives the power to concentrate for longer periods on the task at hand. I recently wrote an article about how The Law of Attraction can be helpful for Blogging.

  6. Thank you, Faizan, Tushar and Muhammad, for taking the time to leave your thoughtful comments. I appreciate that. And, yes, a quiet place is helpful. Most importantly, however, we must find silence within.

    Earlier today, I wrote and published another article to my Mindful Living Guide website which you might like to have a look at as well. Please feel free to leave comments there as well, if you’re moved to do so.

    With warm regards,

    Sean

  7. Fantastic advice. I don’t always find it easy to find a quiet place, but I could definitely put more effort into quieting my mind and centering.

  8. TV Rockstars says:

    “Find a still, quiet place within which to write.” The first step is most important by far. Too much commotion makes it difficult to concentrate.

  9. It is important for all of us to learn to quiet the mind and become balanced and still. It is in the stillness that all is made known to us.

  10. Bougie Girl says:

    Great article. Mindfulness coupled with action makes a blogger virtually unstoppable.

  11. Rachel says:

    I participated in a Mindfulness Retreat this past summer and through practice I have profoundly changed my writing habits. Brainstorming and drafts I can focus pretty good with music and get in the flow, but for fine tuning my posts I usually clear my mind with a quick meditation before writing. I also light a candle which keeps me “mindful” of my intention focus and write during this time if I start wandering online… It has actually become a really nice time of expression.

  12. Our life improves immeasurably when mindful. Being here, Now, helps us tap into the Infinite. No blocks, no tension, just ease. Super tips Sean!

    RB

  13. Thank you, folks, for leaving your comments. Living, and thus writing, mindfully is no easy thing. It’s a moment-to-moment challenge — the greatest of challenges? — to own up to the conflicts we, in our blindness, create and then which come back to us in the form of negative, unhealthy energy.

    It’s not about faking a ’60s-like, peace-and-groovy bliss, but more about meeting those charged places within us which cause conflict inside ourselves and the ways in which we then go public with this internal stuff and, thereby, create conflict in our relationships, in our day-to-day goings-on, etc.

    It’s a wonderful, quite miraculous thing that bringing simple, uncomplicated awareness to our inner landscape, and to our physical body, can do so much to help us unravel the knots within and live moment-to-moment more peacefully, engaging in a gentle way with the world around us.

    But, first, we must be gentle, and forgiving, with ourselves when we go awry, as we no doubt will.

    With warm regards to all,

    Sean

  14. Ardorm says:

    Man, I had no idea there was a “philosophy of writing”. The first step of silence is essential, the others; well, if it takes you that long to realize what you want to write, maybe this is not for you? Instead of wasting the time, why not to do other tasks? Later you’ll realize what you want to write anyway…

    • Ardorm,

      Thank you for leaving your comment, above. Please note, however, that this article speaks to the writing process itself, not simply to choosing a topic to write about.

      Also, what you refer to as a “philosophy of writing” turns out, as well, to be a philosophy of life, the two intertwined.

      With warm regards,

      Sean

  15. dojo says:

    I could surely use these tricks to aid my writing and work in general. With a peaceful relaxed mind everything works better and faster, that’s for sure.

  16. Joey says:

    writing outside in nature can hep a lot :)

    • Agreed. Or walking, or simply being, in nature, and then returning to the task of writing afresh, having re-grounded, re-centered and in a large sense, re-found, ourselves.

      Be well, Joey.

      Sean

  17. Josh Sarz says:

    Nice post. I really try to find time to sit back in silence before I try writing for my blog. It helps clear out any unwanted distractions.

  18. Bsil Rehill says:

    I think having the right mindset is everything. I also agree that taking a break is vital when you are writing. When I look around me and then come back my mind is clear and I can see what I was struggling with and get over it. Thanks for the blog

  19. Guy Hogan says:

    I think there is a lot of truth in what you say. The world is always pulling at us. We as bloggers have to stay engaged with this world, but in doing so we can lose ourselves. Staying engaged with ourselves is also part of the equation. You put this nicely.

  20. Willis Allen says:

    Wonderful article. Some of my best work has come from the times I just sit and wait for clarity and as mentioned in the ten steps. I am much more successful when I let my minds distractions run their course and then circle back to the task versus trying to block out the wandering thoughts.

  21. I try to be mindful. Thanks for reminding me to be mindful when I blog :)

    • You’re welcome, Darren. Thank you for writing your comment, and for reading the article. There’s another one you may enjoy, presently the top (most recent) post on my Mindful Living Guide website.

      With warm regards,

      Sean

  22. Tina says:

    Sean, excellent post, the above 10 points are exactly what I need so I can write for my website much more efficiently and easily without any distractions.

    • Thank you, Tina. I’m really pleased to hear that you found the article helpful. I wish you well with your writing for your website.

      With warm regards,

      Sean

  23. Jay Schwartz says:

    Nice, Sean! Learning to let go and allow yourself to just breath in the moment will certainly help when the mind trips over itself. I can’t tell you how many times I started a piece that ended up as something completely different from what I had originally intended … precisely because I let my mind go and started with something stemming from the ‘randomness of being’, rather than with a tangible concrete ‘something’. In a twisted way that’s sort of what I like about the creative process; I’m always up for a pleasant surprise!

  24. BT Stream says:

    Great ideas! I’m going to follow your ideas to be a great blogger. i just got my PR to 3.
    So it’s a happy week to me. Thanks for your tips. !

  25. Thank you, Jay & ‘BT Stream’,

    I appreciate both your taking time out of your day to write your above comments. And yes, Jay, I’m with you in all that you say about letting go, the creative process, etc. It’s a wonderful thing, to be treasured.

    With warm regards to you both,

    Sean