Is the Voice of the Oppressor” Hindering Your Productivity?

I remember studying Camus’s The Plague in high school, and the discussion in class still lingers in my ear.

Joseph Grand, a clerk in the municipal government, confesses to Dr. Bernard Rieux, the narrator of the story, that he is writing a “book or something of the sort.” When Rieux asks Grand if he is “getting good results,” Grand answers, “Well, yes, I think I’m making headway.” Rieux then asks, “Have you much more to do?” to which Grand responds, “That’s not the point . . . I can assure you that’s not the point.”

What does Grand want? He wants his manuscript to be “flawless.”

Anne Lamott says in her wonderful book Bird by Bird about aspiring writers:

“They kind of want to write, but they really want to be published.” However, she notes, “Publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is.” Continue Reading…

How Mindfulness Makes You a Better Writer

Today’s guest post is by Susan Saurel.

Mindfulness. That word is everywhere, right? People who believe in it perceive it as the cure for all ills of wrongs we see in contemporary societies.

But what is mindfulness, exactly? One definition is “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.”

We know how important it is to live in the present moment. However, we also know how difficult it is to commit to that goal. The mind either processes memories or visualizes the future. It misses the now. We’re missing valuable moments that we’ll never live through again.

How is the concept of mindfulness related to writing, anyway?

I can speak from personal experience: practicing mindfulness makes me more productive.

I become more focused on the work I’m doing at the moment. I can process thoughts and emotions without getting attached to them. It helps me recognize and break the bad habits that are affecting my writing. Mindfulness makes me a better writer in many different ways. Continue Reading…

Are You Sabotaging Your Writing Because of Perfectionism?

You sit down to write. Finally, you found some time to work on your book. You feel prepared; you’ve thought through the scene or talking point you want to tackle today. You’ve cleared your plate—the kids are at school, the dishes are done, and you’ve dealt with your email.

But as you open your Word doc on your computer and your fingers hover over the keyboard, a sense of unease trickles in.

The eager anticipation starts to feel like dread, and the doubts form into excuses. “Maybe I need to think through this scene a bit more.” Or “I probably should do a bit more research before I start.” Or, even worse: “It’s going to suck.” Continue Reading…

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