I love my creative time. Yet when I sit down, I often open the New York Times and then my email and maybe even Instagram (and then back to the New York Times).
When I asked myself, why don’t I just sit down and start the work I love? I found that I have some thoughts and feelings in need of recognition. Sometimes I feel tired. Sometimes I feel scared. Sometimes I want a hit of validation.
What I really want is an intentional beginning to my creative time, which for me means becoming aware of these feelings, allowing them, and then refocusing on my intention.
Meditation came to mind as a possible solution. I have meditated for years, but I never thought to combine my mindful and creative worlds…until now.
In meditation, we practice noticing thoughts. We accept them and then redirect the mind, rather than allowing it to be dragged away by distractions. It isn’t about denying our desires and thoughts, instead the practice allows us to choose where we focus our attention.
I searched for a guided meditation for writers. I really wanted something simple without music or sound effects. Since nothing answered my needs, I paired up with my soul sister, Leah Pearlman, and we created our own meditation to help begin creative time.
It’s short and sweet (four minutes), so it doesn’t take much time away from our work, but helps us start in a centered place. The mediation begins, asking us for awareness and allowance of our body, our feelings, and our thoughts in the moment. Then it addresses the big challenges that often make starting hard for us– handling distractions, feeling blocked, and questioning our own creative worth. Wrapping up, it reconnects us with our personal intentions—to create—from our core motivations.
I’ve been using this meditation for the past month and found some surprising outcomes. It didn’t magically focus me on the task at hand each and every day, but, more importantly, it helped me see and honor my emotional needs and creative energy.
During the month I used the meditation, I had set the goal of finishing a draft of my novel. So when I did my very first meditation, I was surprised by my inner response to the question: can you open to the universe of creativity? While my novel topped my to-do list, when I paid attention to my creative energy it was surging in a different direction. The meditation gave me the courage to follow it. A beautiful blog post flowed out in under an hour. I love it when that happens. It feels like magic, but maybe it’s just paying attention and aligning with my creative force.
For the first few weeks, I listened to the meditation everyday at the start of my writing time. Initially, I felt rushed by the brevity of the recording, but as a daily practice I came to really appreciate the swift check-in. Different parts of meditation spoke to me on different days, and it helped me identify what needed my attention. Soon the practice of touching in became a pattern without listening everyday. My mindfulness was primed as I sat down in my writing spot. I would listen to the meditation when I felt scattered as a way to reconnect rather than having a daily requirement.
On a few days, I found that my emotional needs for another activity spoke louder than my intention to create. I needed to rest or connect with a friend. Before this reflective practice, I might have taken these breaks, but not without a heaping dose of self-judgment. By really knowing and honoring my needs, I allowed and enjoyed being “off task” and returned naturally to my creative projects when I was ready. This meditation is not a productivity tool, but a support for self-awareness and connection with the creative force inside us.
Leah and I made our mediation available on YouTube, for those that might want to try it out. If starting your creative time on the internet doesn’t sound supportive, I am also happy to send you an mp3 file as a thank you for signing up to my newsletter. We hope you enjoy it.