05 Oct Writing as a Meditation
Writing as a meditation was one of the ideas I mentioned in the video post I created last week. The video suggested a number of ways of collecting creative ideas, including finding photos and writing a response to them. As I curated new images for my own next book last week, an idea came to me! Instead of printing out dozens of pictures, cutting them out, sticking each one into a notebook, and then, finally, writing about my response to them, why not just create a book of beautiful images with spaces to write alongside?
I noticed as I looked for photos they fell into several distinct categories, nature, people doing things with their hands, and art supplies. Any that didn’t fit into these categories went into the pile I labelled as ‘abstract’, that is, images that made me stop and think. Looking through stock photo sites these categories seemed to be included in top searches for many people, so thought they would make a good starting place. Keeping ‘Writing as a Meditation’ in my mind, I went through and selected a large number of images I felt would help the viewer start to write.
As a former classroom teacher, I didn’t want the process to feel remotely like homework – anything that would ultimately be judged or graded. I wanted the images I chose to evoke happy times, beloved people, favourite places – maybe even fondly recalled objects. I selected almost twice as many as I ultimately used, and spent a long time deciding between two similar images to choose the one most likely to inspire. As I laid the book out I deliberately only left a small area for writing. As I mentioned, my goal wasn’t to turn this into an exercise or project, so this decision leaves the writer free to add extra pages but doesn’t set a daunting goal that will only prove to be frustrating.
Perhaps you know you need to make a decision, start or stop an activity, change jobs or homes, but it all seems soooo difficult. Our minds provide helpful clues about what it feels would be the best option – and at the very least provides food for thought. The book is uploaded and currently in review, but I will let you know when it becomes available. ‘Writing as a Meditation’ may be a dull, if self-explanatory title, but the benefits of doing so are surprisingly affirming and enjoyable!