How I Experience Writing

How do I actually experience writing? I sit down in front of my computer and stare down at the keyboard or the screen. My mind is blank — exactly how it should be. I am present for the writing of the book, but there are no distracting thoughts that exist. When I write, I either just see the words start to appear on the screen, or I experience some auditory version in advance, and a feeling that accepts it or rejects it. This is how simple writing can be. In a sense, the books that I have written are writing themselves. I have gotten out of the way and permitted the process to flow.

But this wasn’t always the case. I do recall, when I first started writing, having this nagging internal dialogue go on. It could be about anything. Reminders that I had to do laundry. Thoughts about where to eat lunch. Doubts and fears about my writing. There were times when I would just sit at my desk, and, instead of being productive, my mind would be going on some endless loop of self-doubts or considerations of possible scenarios about someone not liking what I have written. I completely clogged the path for my creativity to emerge. If anything came out, it was sabotaged and skewed by my unnecessary thoughts.

Most thoughts that we have are not necessary. That don’t benefit us. They block our creativity and they stress us out. So, stop thinking! As crazy as that sounds, it is both possible and simple to do. As detailed in my book, Unclog Your Happiness: A Practical Guide to Living Blissfully, this can be done by self-inquiry, a process where we look back at where our thoughts are coming from. For example, if I thought, “I shouldn’t link my book here. That is too spammy,” then I would reply with the thought, “Who is commenting?” This continual process of looking back at the source of our thoughts — and finding out that there is no real source — shuts down these pejorative thoughts. Creativity, productivity, and peacefulness are enhanced.

There are also other things that I do to help facilitate the process of writing. I generally find myself writing more after I have had a (sugarless) cup of coffee or tea. Sitting down in an area that minimizes distractions. This often means taking my netbook — which has been stripped down of all functionality beyond what is necessary to write — and going to a quite coffee shop. I generally will begin by writing a few sentences (a condensed version) about what I will be writing about. If nothing comes out, I will jot down any objectives I have on a notebook. When creativity falters, I don’t get upset. I just enjoy my coffee.

For this article there were no notes. No prewriting. I had the vague sense of what the article would be about, but there was no elaborate outline of what to write about. Line by line, I experienced the words flow out.

In this way, writing is simple, stress free, and enjoyable.