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Tea and Mindful Observation

Day one of the Writing and Mindfulness Challenge

Writing and Mindfulness

The benefits of mindfulness are multiple, from stress reduction to greater levels of happiness, but I want to talk about how mindfulness can work for writing specifically. How does combining writing and mindfulness enhance your writing? I believe this applies to any kind of writing, by the way. Personally it helps me with blogging and writing feature articles as well as with poetry and creating fictional characters and worlds.

Observing the world around us

Combining writing and mindfulness comes down to observing the world around us with writer’s eyes. Observation is a writer’s super-power. In my writing courses I call this ‘noticing things’, which makes it sound less powerful than it is, because I think it’s pretty special. By the way, I know ‘observation’ seems like it has a visual bias but I don’t intend it that way. I mean the kind of observation that involves all of the senses. Over the next few days I am going to set you an observation challenge, which will take you five minutes each day – although I’ll also let you know how to extend the practice if you want to.

What’s the point?

What’s the point? This challenge will enable you to see the world with ‘writer’s eyes’ (again forgive the visual bias) and to create what Viktor Shklovsky called ‘defamiliarisation’ – that is you can ‘make the world new’ for your reader. All seven days of the challenge involve mindfulness activities or writing games that you can play in five minutes or develop into something longer.

Ready for the first one?

Here’s what you need:

  • At least five minutes to simply observe the world around you.
  • Something to write with – a notebook and pen or the digital equivalent.
  • Somewhere to store your observations so you can look at them all later.
  • Willingness to give it a go.

A quick note: when I say ‘observe the world around you’ this works best when it’s done locally. You could be observing your home or the space immediately outside it, whether that’s a garden, front step, backyard or balcony, or you could be observing your locality by going out for a walk, sitting on a bench in the local park or graveyard or watching the world through your window.

Here’s the first exercise

Take a break. Make a cup of tea or your drink of choice and spend at least five minutes doing nothing but drinking your tea and watching the world around you. If you want to extend this exercise, repeat it three times during the day, observing from the same spot and noticing how things have changed. You’re honing your powers of observation.

What’s next?

I’ll be back tomorrow with the next in this series of writing challenges.

Until then, happy writing,




  1. Liz Webb says:

    Just what I need. Thanks for doing this. X

    1. Mrs Brown says:

      Hope you enjoy it! xx Lou

  2. Sally German says:

    Enjoyed doing that. Felt really calm and all my senses were involved! Thanks. Sally

    1. Mrs Brown says:

      I’m really glad you enjoyed it!

      All the best,

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