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Practice is a gift

Advanced tips for writers

A Meditation Challenge

I’ve been doing the mindfulness and meditation New Year’s Challenge using the 10% Happier App. It’s the brainchild of ABC news anchor Dan Harris, and he’s also written a book of the same name. If you’ve been following my work, you’ll know that believe there’s an important link between writing and mindfulness. It’s not that all writers need to learn to meditate (although it’s certainly helped me) but rather mindfulness helps us to become observers of the world.

It doesn’t matter if you’re good

One thing in particular really struck me from Sunday’s challenge meditation. Susan Piver talked about practice. Practice is a word used by both meditators and writers: meditation practice and writing practice. Here’s what she said:

It does not matter if you are good at meditating or not, it’s the practice that is the gift” – meditation teacher, Susan Piver.

Practice as a gift

What Susan Piver says applies to writing practice too. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we need to apply both meanings of the word practice to the writing life. In British English the verb and the noun are spelt differently: we have a writing practice that requires turning up, a writing habit in other words, and we need to practise particular skills. Psychologist Anders Ericsson calls this ‘deliberate practice’, which means discovering what you need to practise and seeking help to hone your skills.

So the practice of writing and mindfulness reminds us:

  • To observe the world around us, because that will feed into our writing.
  • To practise a particular skill set.
  • To see writing as a practice, an art form, a habit, something we are always practising.
  • That it’s not about being perfect or ‘good’. It’s about turning up.

More soon. Until then, happy writing,

Louise xx

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