I was in Hawaii for 10 days, learning how to be a yoga teacher. The training was not what I expected. I'd been on yoga retreats before and so I had something in mind, but I was completely wrong. It took me three whole days to let go of my expectations and to truly enjoy myself and learn.
Writing is a lot like this for me too. I have these ideas in my head of what a character is like, how the plot will turn, where the ending will end. So when the characters start to make their own decisions, I tend to try to rein them in, make them listen to me, to comply with my expectations.
I fight my ideas because they came to me in a flash as one way, one thing and when they change I freeze, becoming rigid. But after going through yoga training, and letting go of how I thought it should be, I became a better person and a better teacher. I vow to do the same with my writing.
Many times writers have an awesome idea. They create a plan and execute it well, but the book flops or does not become the huge life-changing experience it could have been for the reader if the author would have only breathed and let go.
I believe with a few yoga poses, some meditation, and a leap of faith, you too can trust your inner you and your characters will soar.
Here's what you might want to do:
- before you start writing today: Sit at your computer. Close your eyes. Place your hands in your lap or in prayer position at your chest's center. Breathe, 5 longs breaths in, 5 long breaths out. Repeat 3 times. As your mind wonders, let it go, but pull it back after each thought. Concentrate on your breathing.
- Open your eyes slowly to adjust to the light around you. Breath. Rise and take a full bend toward your feet. Touch your feet if you can, even grabbing your big toes or tips of shoes. Pull gently to stretch out your back and legs. Breath 5 times out and 5 times in.
- Stretch your hands up high toward the sky or ceiling. Reach up, way up. Breath 5 times in and 5 times out.
Now sit back at your desk and write. Write away on a blank page. Let your fingers flow and your ideas leap from deep within you onto the screen. Go! Don't stop. Go for as long as you feel good about it. You might write about what you're working on. You might come up with a whole new idea. Just let the ideas fall from you like poop from a sea gull. Let it be messy! Do not worry about spelling, punctuation, capital letters.
When you are done start the project you were working on. Do not reread what you just wrote. Set it aside. Come back to it later, after you've hit your writing goals for the day.
This exercise is also great for breaks. It gets your blood flowing from top to bottom and stills your mind. It grounds you and lets the creativity flow.
An extra you can add is a small wish or prayer. Before you begin your meditative breathing, dedicate your stillness to something. You can say in your mind, "I dedicate this time to my writing." Or "I dedicate this time to my focus." Or whatever you want to concentrate on that day.
Yoga has helped me with body injuries, relaxation, and now creativity. I hope you'll give it a try. And if you like this simple exercise, you'll love taking a yoga class! I hope you go. Be a yes!!