The No-Judgment Writing Technique That’s Become a Popular Obsession

Welcome to Day Three of your Resolution Reset Program. We’ve been talking this week about how to re-capture the excitement that comes with making new goals at the beginning of each year …

 … but, we’re also covering how to actually see those goals through.

Yesterday, I showed you how to embrace change by rewiring your brain patterns to become aware of what you want to do. Or, as some would put it, being mindful.

Speaking of mindful – have you noticed what a catchphrase that’s become? You see it everywhere these days. Whole Foods publishes its own Mindful magazine. Less than a year ago, TIME magazine reported on the “Mindful Revolution.” Luxury resorts from Arizona to Bali promote the concepts of relaxation, meditation, and mindfulness.

Doubters call mindfulness a “popular obsession.” But there’s actually a lot of science behind it – not to mention health benefits. Mindfulness can lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, and decrease anxiety. As a form of meditation, mindfulness actually gives your brain a workout.

Except … what exactly is mindfulness? What does it mean to be mindful?

The simplest explanation is this: Mindfulness is the ability to focus your attention on the thing you’re doing while you’re doing it.

Sounds pretty basic … but in our chronically stressed, digitally dependent, multi-tasking culture, that’s really hard to do.

Have you ever sat down at your computer, intending to start on a project, yet Facebook magically appears in front of your face?

Or, before you can blink, your email inbox is staring back at you?

I’ve had days where I sit down at my desk with a plan … only to be derailed by my unconsciously automatic actions.

Maybe you do it, too. Could be you open all your social media profiles without realizing it, or read emails when you should be writing. Or snack when you’re not hungry (guilty on this end).

A lot of us – and I’m no different – confuse multi-tasking with fragmented action. But, if you’re keen to having a well-paid writing career, you shouldn’t confuse motion with achievement.

There are a lot of things we freelancers can do to stay occupied so it feels like we’re moving toward our goals. But really, it’s just busywork. Like spending most of your time on email, or social media, or studying writing programs. All those things can help you become a better writer and research your craft …

But, if you’re not actually doing the writing and putting yourself out there, you won’t get anywhere. You won’t meet your goals. You’ll never make any progress.

So, here’s where mindfulness can help. Not only does mindfulness include being aware of your thoughts and your actions … it also means you do it without judgment. Being mindful is all about living in the moment. No rehashing of the past. No judgment.

I know what you’re thinking … HOW is that possible?

Because the standard dialogue in my head includes taunts like, “You still haven’t tackled that? You’re submitting that? You failed at that and you’ll fail at this, too. You stink at getting organized. You …”

I could go on and on and on.

But, here’s where mindfulness – and moving forward in your goals, and toward positive change – ties back into recapturing that beginning-of-the-year excitement.

At the beginning of the year, you have no failures on your shoulders. You’ve turned a page. You have a free pass to move forward, unblemished. With an eye toward the fresh, new year, you set goals without judgment.

It’s mindfulness in action – being aware of what you want and doing so without judgment.

Of course, mindfulness does not include imagining the future. So, how do you reconcile that with moving toward a goal?

Think of it as your pre-goal prep work. Mindfulness quiets the worrier inside of you. It strengthens your resolve.

In a profound way, mindfulness makes you better equipped to handle the unknown.

Here are some ways to make mindfulness part of your daily writing career:

  1. Breathe. Sit down, back straight, shoulders dropped. Take a deep breath. Focus on the sensation of air moving in and out of your body. When random thoughts waft into your mind, acknowledge them, dismiss them, and remain focused on your breathing.
  2. Journal. Journaling helps discard the flotsam and jetsam of daily living. It brings peace and balance and wipes the slate of your mind clean.
  3. Meditate. This is the most profound source of mindful balance. Daily practice makes you aware of the rhythm of life, and comfortable with your sense of self. (If you’re new to meditation, I highly recommend Dr. Annette Annechild’s meditation program for writers, Accessing the Writer Within.)

Pick one of these exercises to do for five minutes each day, and always before starting a writing project. (Have you tried one? Tell me about it here.)

If you approach each day with mindfulness, you’ll find it easier to pay attention to what’s really going on around you instead of drowning in the noise. You’ll trust yourself more. And, with trust comes confidence. With confidence, action.

There’s one other way to develop mindfulness that translates to action … and I’m a HUGE fan of this stuff. I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.

Meditations for Writers

Accessing the Writer Within: A 21-Day Journey to Unlocking and Unleashing Your True Writing Potential

With these twice-daily meditations for writers, you’ll immediately start to enjoy better creativity, greater productivity, bigger success, and more happiness. Learn More »

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Published: February 18, 2015

4 Responses to “The No-Judgment Writing Technique That’s Become a Popular Obsession”

  1. I can attest to the value of "mindfulness" and meditation. I've been practicing it for most of my adult life.
    The first activity on my agenda each day is 30 to 45 minutes of Bible reading, prayer and meditation.
    You're right when you say, "with trust comes confidence, and with confidence, action." For me, the trust that grows is in the Creator, which builds trust in myself by knowing each day is founded on Someone who knows me best.

    Guest (Steve Pearson DVM)

  2. A powerful tool that will proactively get you in a 'mindful' habit and combat procrastination is The Artist's Way.

    Lee Nourse

  3. @ Steve Pearson @ Lee Nourse: Yes, the Master Artist's Way...

    With contentment comes great gain...

    Be content, think on true wealth, be at Peace and Good will come to you...
    Lay aside petty thoughts and arguments, be pleased to store up in your hearts the Pure Words of This Life...

    Quotes taken from an ancient book of wisdom, documented to be well over 4000 years old.

    It is all about perspective, and intellectual honesty. :)

    David B Justiss

  4. What helps me the most for mindfulness and clearing mental clutter is journaling. One thing I do is called a "brain dump". I free-write every distraction that comes to mind. It can be what has to be done today, what's irking me,what I need to work on personally,appointments etc. I'll spend about 5 to 10 minutes on this. Read the clutter,then close the book. Now I know it's somewhere I can reference to take care of later. I have found this very liberating in being able to focus on my copywriting.

    Mike S

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