Mystic Writer

On finding writing inspiration in a snowy wood

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I think we may have all heard it said that the eyes are the window to the soul. And it may be true. 

Snowy woods (Flickr: b0jangles)

Snowy woods (Flickr: b0jangles)

And it may also be true that it would take just a quick, but careful look at my tired, shifty eyes, drooping lids, and you would have a frightening look into my frantic mind.

It is filled with thoughts about the day’s chores, tomorrow’s tasks and every triumph, challenge and slight my children endure.

Read: When the universe speaks, maybe you should listen

Oh, you’ll see me fretting over such things as the disarming of chemical weapons in Syria, bullies on the playground, the economy, my bank account.

Meanwhile, I am mulling what to make for dinner, striving to commit a grocery list to memory.

It’s jumbled and downright scary in there sometimes.

So scary that when it comes time to write, I will find myself too wound up to put the words down.

For me, a quiet mind is essential to a successful writing session. Achieving that quiet mind has been difficult and I have recently turned to meditation to get me there.

Read: 8 great ways to achieve peace of mind as you write

I begin by locking myself away in some private spot and then make myself comfortable. I close my eyes and count backward from 20.

As I count, I strive to think of nothing but the number. If I slip up – did I remember to put the ATM receipt in my purse? – then, I return to 20 and begin again.

As I reach zero, my goal is to arrive at a quiet spot of my choosing that I picture in my mind – the cat needs to be fed. Damn, back to 20.

For me, this place is a snowy wood that I remember fondly from my childhood. Black spindly tree branches jut into a gray sky and it is so quiet that I swear I can hear the soft plink and hiss of the snowflakes as they land around me.

My breath floats away from me in icy vapors and my face tingles with the prickly cold.

I am alone and it is growing dark. But, I am not afraid because my house is nearby, alight and warm and awaiting my return.

It’s there that I stand transported and alone with my thoughts. It is there that I peer into a heavy sky and think about my story. I pose questions and listen for answers.

When I am successful in this meditation, I am able to not just bring myself to peace, but I am able to find some new ideas for my narrative or pathways for a character. I settle on a a point of view, a name or a new direction.

How do you transport yourself to that writing state of mind? Have you tried meditation?

Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor of EducatedWriter.com. You can learn more about her at kerrismabee.com.

Kerri S. Mabee

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