Writing Is Meditation


Today I had an epiphany. Not the religious kind, more like a Joycean one. You see, I like to meditate. When I do, I don’t see lights or saints. I merely observe my breath as it goes in and out. Sounds simple, right? Well, many people think writing is simple. Sometimes, maybe. Most of the time though, it’s hard. This morning I was writing after a meditation session, when I remembered something a fellow meditator once shared:

A student went to his meditation teacher and said, “My meditation is horrible! I feel so distracted, or my legs ache, or I’m constantly falling asleep. It’s just horrible!”

“It will pass,” the teacher said.

A week later, the student came back to his teacher. “My meditation is wonderful! I feel so aware, so peaceful, so alive! It’s just wonderful!”

“It will pass,” the teacher said.

This is an example of anicca, which basically means: Nothing lasts forever. I believe it applies to writing as much as to anything else.

Sometimes words just flow naturally, endlessly, effortlessly. Some would probably call this a “good” writing session. It will pass.

Sometimes words get trapped inside the void between your brain and your fingers. Sometimes you sit there staring at the white for infinity. Sometimes you get distracted, your body aches, or Facebook keeps tempting you to click on the other tab. Some might call this a “bad” writing session, or the dreaded “writer’s block”. Fortunately, according to the principle of anicca, this will pass too.

So, friends and fellow (aspiring) writers, just accept reality as it is. Of course it’s goddamn difficult. But I try to. Nobody I know thinks writing is easy. Stephen King and William Zinsser certainly don’t – and their books on writing belong to the best out there.

Writing isn’t easy and isn’t fun. It is hard and lonely, and the words seldom just flow.

– William Zinsser, On Writing Well

As much as I like Zinsser’s book, I tend to think that writing is fun. To some degree. Otherwise most of us probably wouldn’t write. But I digress. When writing comes to you naturally, don’t get cocky and overjoyed. Just write. When it doesn’t, don’t get discouraged. Accept it. Embrace the writer’s block. And just write.

What about you, do you think writing is easy, or hard?


One thought on “Writing Is Meditation

  1. Pingback: Have You Been Using ‘Epiphany’ Wrong? | sairyou.me

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