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The Creative Power of NOT Writing


In a previous post, I promised to explain why you should “keep your butt on the meditation cushion or your back on the yoga mat” in the early stages of writing. There is power is resisting the urge to write. I learned the value of delayed drafting at a writer’s conference decades ago. One of […]

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“Meditating” Your Way into Writing


In the previous post, I said that drafting and revising rely on divergent thinking and editing relies on convergent thinking. It’s a weeny bit more complex. In Off the Page (2008 edited by Carole Burns), Richard Bausch says this about beginning a book: “I start writing with an image or a voice, but I don’t […]

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What Kind of Meditation Does Your Writing Need? Depends on What Stage It’s In


In my previous post, I suggested that writers need to alternate between focused-attention meditation and open-monitoring meditation. In some stages of the creative process, we need divergent thinking, which open-monitoring meditation increases. In other stages, we need  convergent thinking, which focused-attention meditation increases. (More about stages of the creative process in Chapter 4 of AWB) […]

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What Kind of Meditation Do Writers Need?


Based on the secondary research I’ve done and personal experience, I know meditation is good, in a whole slew of ways, for our brains including enhancing creativity. Clearly, it matters that writers meditate. It didn’t occur to me that how we meditate might also matter. Research by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato’s demonstrates that different kinds […]

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Do Writers Need to Keep Our Butts in the Chair?


In 1937, Sinclair Lewis shared his version of an often repeated and often reworded bit of writerly wisdom: And as the recipe for writing, all writing, I remember no high-flown counsel but always and only Mary Heaton Vorse’s jibe, delivered to a bunch of young and mostly incompetent hopefuls back in 1911: ‘The art of […]

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Only Writing Is Writing, Right? Wrong!


When E. L. Doctorow observed that planning to write, outlining, researching or talking about you’re going to write is NOT writing, I think he meant we can’t just hope to write or dream about writing, we have to take action. Unfortunately, many of my students and clients have interpreted that mindset (wherever they know the […]

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Don’t Let Logic Eclipse Your Creative Writing


You know, of course, that stars don’t “come out” at night. They are always there emitting the same amount of light all day, all night. We just can’t see the stars until the sun “sets,” or more correctly, until the part of the planet you’re standing on rotates away from the sun enough to escape […]

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Writers’ Brains Require Random Input


“Where did that come from?” Usually I’m so enthralled by fresh ideas, images, insights and plot points, I immediately focus on weaving them into the story. I’m so busy figuring out where to go with those ideas and images, I don’t notice where they came from. For example, I couldn’t tell you why the leaves […]

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Do Writers Have to Polish the Occasional Turd?


“I’ve been polishing turds,” I confessed to my co-coach Laura. “I spent weeks revising and tweaking and polishing the last five chapters. Then I realized I don’t even need two of them.” “Could you have gotten here without polishing those chapters?” Laura asked. I didn’t answer right away. I grudgingly admitted that I probably could […]

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If It Works for Stephen King, Shouldn’t It Work for Me?


Writers often look to famous authors for role models. We assume that whatever routine works (or worked) for a famous writer should work for every writer. If Stephen King writes 2,000 words a day, 365 days a year, every writer should write 2,000 words a day, 365 days a year. The problem is that what […]

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