Writers: Use meditation to build focus

What is it people say? That we all have a book inside of us waiting to be written? If that’s true, why aren’t you writing it?

The answer probably won’t be much of a surprise – it’s you! Sorry. But how often have you caught yourself thinking:

‘If only I could apply myself…’,
‘If only I had time…’
‘If only I could just concentrate…’

‘…then I could really get some stuff done!’

For many, the obstacle to writing is our inability to concentrate and apply ourselves to the moment, anytime, anywhere. Not only do we find it hard to focus, but half the time our attention is elsewhere, away from what we’re doing.

Research shows that we’re spending nearly 50 per cent of our time not living in the present. Sure, your body may appear to be present, but your mind is elsewhere and not connected or directed to what you are doing. Sound familiar? Combine this with our short attention span and it’s a wonder that we get anything done at all!

Meditation is for Writers

If you recognise yourself in the above, drowning in a sea of ‘if only…’ and a lack of focus, meditation could help.

Meditation is not about emptying your mind or stopping your thoughts. Even if you wanted to, the brain wouldn’t allow it – thinking is what it’s built to do. Rather, meditation is simply about changing your relationship with your everyday thinking processes.

By meditating, you can experience a cognitive shift that opens your mind up to new perspectives. These can not only change how you see the world, but how you respond to it.

For writers, meditation could be the key to getting that book finished. Meditating allows you to open a gap, to make space in your mind. Within that space, you can find new ideas and a greater sense of focus. And the more you focus, the more easily the words will begin to flow.

The Ability to be Present

One of the great benefits of meditation (and there are many!) is that the more you do it, the more your concentration and focus will improve. We’re not talking so much about the concentration required for a driving test, for example, but more the ability to be present and attend directly to what you’re doing in the moment. This type of concentration feels effortless and when applied to your day-to-day work, it’s attention without tension.

Improved concentration and focus is a vital capacity to nurture and grow because we all live inside a bubble of distraction and noise, now more than ever. A lot of that distraction and noise is inside your head, so being able to apply your attention with purpose and concentration through meditation means that you can cut through those distractions.

Changing the Brain

Once you begin to live more in the present, you increase your ability to produce good work – whatever that may mean to you. The comparatively new science of neuroplasticity shows that repeated and managed mental activities, such as meditation, actually builds new neural activity and structure. Watch this short video to learn more:

This explains why one’s ability to focus is enhanced. When we learn to change how the mind works, the brain changes accordingly. And you thought meditation was just a bit of deep breathing!

We can use the mind to change the brain. This allows us to get on with writing that novel, developing that screenplay or finishing off those poems. But you have to work at it; learn to concentrate and it will all fall into place.

To improve your concentration and focus, find out more about our modern meditation programmes.

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